Monday, April 16, 2012

Mpls Misc

After arriving at at the MSP airport, I made a quick trip to the Mall of America (half hour!) and then started to head north through the city. My 200 mile drive would take me up I-35 through Duluth and then east for an hour or so to Washburn, Wisconsin. By the time I hit the road, rush hour was getting into full swing.
Boy, I had forgotten how icky rush hour is in the Twin Cities. I thought Seattle-Tacoma was bad, (and it is) but after being away for so many years, I had underestimated the Twin Cities’ “slow and go” freeway crawl. I was on the south end of town and had to head north across the entire metro. Because of rush hour, and since I had a rental car and was not at the mercy of anyone else’s transportation, I stayed off the freeways as much as possible. My route took some nostalgic turns through old neighborhoods where Frank and I lived.
Here are some miscellaneous pictures of my journey through town:
This is the first apartment that Frank and I rented together.
Our unit had French doors, wall sconces in the living room, a built in china cabinet, and the teeniest kitchen you have ever seen. We loved its charm, but it was pretty small. I really miss the location, just a few blocks from Uptown, where we could find groceries, foreign movies, and all kinds of shopping and dining. For the most part, we didn’t need a car, either. I would love to repeat that kind of living experience some day.
This is a disappointment, but it is to be expected after so many years. This intersection was 40 steps from the back door of our charming Uptown apartment. GVP used to be a Vietnamese restaurant that made the most addictive Mock Duck with noodles I have ever eaten. We dined there at least twice a month. Calhoun Pet Supply used to be Sam’s Market, where we did our convenience store shopping and rented movies. There is something comforting about being regulars at a few local establishments, whether they are restaurants or general stores. Times have changed, but just seeing this intersection brings back good memories.
At the corner of Bryant and Lake. You know, it’s funny; Minneapolis was settled by Scandinavians about 120 years ago, and there is still a strong northern European influence on the city. On the other hand, many of our favorite places to eat out happened to be Middle Eastern. Nearly every home we lived in was just a few blocks from a place serving fantastic Hummus, Gyros, Falafel, Kibbe, and Shawirma. Each of these restaurants featured a different country: Lebanon, Jerusalem, Turkey, Egypt, Syria… I don’t recall Falafel King in Uptown at the time we lived there, but it just seems to confirm our lasting love for this eclectic neighborhood.
Of course, I can’t take a trip through Uptown without looking up at the spire for the Uptown Theatre. It was undergoing remodel at the time, but I have great memories of losing my Rocky Horror Picture Show virginity here one winter midnight, (I did not understand the plot the first time, but now I holler Asshole! Slut! and dance the Time Warp with the best of them.) I also fondly remember sitting through a jaw-dropping short film fest where I got my first look at Bill Plimpton’s work, getting my fill of everything David Lynch, and looking for excuses to see whatever else was on the big screen.
Hennepin Avenue looks the same at 35mph. Don’t tell Avis that I did this with their car.
Ok so I misunderstood this sign. After getting on the freeway for just a little bit, this sign came up and I thought the bridge was still out. So I exited on the West Bank at Washington Avenue.
‘Tis all right, though. I got to drive past downtown, across the Hennepin Ave Bridge, was delighted to see that Kramarczyk’s Deli, Nye’s Polonaise Room, and Surdyk’s Liquor were still in business.
Man, how old is Nye’s? It was ancient when I moved there in 1989.
I had fallen out of touch with two very good friends on the north side of town, and swung by the house where they used to live. It was dark out by the time I walked up their sidewalk and knocked on the front door, unannounced. K answered the door, recognized me right away, and ushered me in. Then P saw me and knew who I was. It was a pretty warm and fuzzy feeling to realize that I’m not only remembered, but we were able to pick up on conversations as if we had just seen each other last week.
It was too short of a visit but I had to hit the road.
Now I’ve got to figure out a way for all 3 of us to get back to The Cities more regularly. One way or another, we need to visit more often.

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