Sunday, May 11, 2008

Detroit Hoedown

This weekend, Husband and I were in Detroit. He was there for business during the week and on Friday I flew up to join him. I had not been to Michigan before, so why not?

How's this for a piece of public art? And that's the GM building in the background, with office buildings around it, and our hotel. The whole complex is called the Renaissance Center, which also has restaurants and shops. All for the convenience of the GM company, I'm guessing.
Inside the GM building are all these displays of cars. Here's a picture of Corvettes, Brother Two's favorite car.
I was surprised at how chilly it was. Friday, we went to a baseball game and I'm so glad Husband told me to bring my coat. It was 59 degrees F during the game, but the wind blowing made it feel much colder.

Before the game, we went to a Greek restaurant in Greektown. Here's a picture of part of the mural on the wall behind me.

Here's the view from our seats inside the baseball stadium with the football stadium to the left. Not pictured, the hockey arena that's within walking distance. It felt strange to have Pepsi products instead of Coke.
Husband and I both noticed that Detroit is not very diverse. For me, when I think Detroit, I think Motown, I think African Americans. I did not see very many. As we walked to the stadium, all the fans, except a handful, were white. The only black people I saw were parking garage staff, vendors, or panhandlers. I saw a few Asians and a few Latinos.

This is very, very different from metro Atlanta, which is about 30% black(in the city of Atlanta, it's 60% black), so it's normal to see black faces in every strata of society, as workers, pan handlers, fans, players. And there are a lot more Latinos in Atlanta too, again in every strata, except the panhandlers. They are definitely in the stands as fans. In Detroit, I think I saw a few Latinos in the stands, and of course, there were the players on the field. Strangely, I think I saw as many Asians as Latinos and blacks.

The people next to us in the stands must have been incredibly thirsty. They spent the entire game trying to wave down the beer vendors and then complaining when the vendors didn't climb up the stairs, lugging the heavy beer, to them. Eventually, they must have remembered that they was a row of beer stands right behind them. They also found the margarita stand.

After the game, Husband and I went back to the hotel and heard live music. Turns out that a band called Leighton was playing in the food court of the Renaissance Center. Notice the lead singer with hair like Robert Plant of Led Zepplin. And the sparse attendance.

After all, why go see Leighton, when you could go to the 28th Detroit Hoedown right next door?
We went to bed instead of either option. In our hotel room, we could hear the music from the Hoedown anyway.

Saturday, we slept in (blissful) and then went for a walk along the Detroit River. We could see Windor, Ontario, Canada right across the way. Next to the Ren Center is Asian Village.

It looks pretty from the outside, but we couldn't figure out how to get in. It looks mainly like restaurants and maybe they open during the week to serve the workers, and it's right on the riverfront. But why close on Saturdays? Just a ways down the river, at another little park, there were people enjoying the carousel.... Or maybe we just couldn't figure out how to get in.
So we walked along the riverfront to the Detroit Hoedown. Okay, again, being pretty ignorant of Detroit, I thought more Motown, and now hip hop (Eminem), than country music. But it was free and right next door, so we went.

It was great people watching. We sat in the center, near the food vendors, near the main stage (did not recognize most of the bands listed). Lots of cowboy hats and boots. Lots of black leather bikers. Lots of obnoxious t-shirts (as a woman, am I supposed to consider those messages flattering or make me attracted to the wearer? If so, it has the opposite effect on me.) Lots of too-short skirts and shorts. Lots of tattoos.

I saw this guy with his shirt unbuttoned halfway down, long wavy hair and cowboy hat, jeans, boots. And a big tattoo on his chest extending up to his chin. Didn't get a good look, but there was a skull on his throat. Ow!

Again, the vast majority were white. I saw about a dozen blacks (who were not workers) and Asians. I think I saw 3 Latinos. Interestingly, I saw a family of Middle Eastern Muslims (some of the women wore head scarves and long robes) and a family of black Muslims.

It was fun going someplace new with Husband. Detroit has a beautiful downtown area with some very interesting architecture and a lovely riverfront walk.

Too bad one of my last views of Detroit included a huge 8 (?) story factory building with all the windows busted, the paint gone, revealing the concrete underneath.

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