Thursday, May 19, 2016

5/18/16 Day 1 Detroit

Faith found a spot so she could go with me.

I'm always amused by the installations at the airport. This just doesn't inspire travelling confidence.

coming up on the coast of  . .  Lake Michigan? or Lake Erie, I guess, depending on the flight path. 

Reminder: someone needs to come up with an app to tell you exactly what you're flying over, while in "airplane mode"

other side of whatever coast that was. So this literally could have been a water emergency landing, which I really can't say for any other place I fly.

Next up: pick up the car rental!

After the first time I spent an hour behind a woman who had wrecked like, her third rental, standing there desperate just to pick up my care, I learned that you are a fool not to sign up for their Express Member Service. This time, it really paid off. We got to skip the line (which was LONG), and got in and out and over to the "pick your car" options ahead of everyone. 

So, amid all the boring white and silver, was one crazy bright blue, with Florida plates. 

so I attach my heads-up display to hold my phone, get my phone situated, plug in my car charger to the lighter and into my phone so it doesn't drain my battery, I plug in my iPod and get it going, we cool off the car, get ready to roll, pull around to the check out . . . only to have the girl scan the barcode and say, "Oh, there's a hold on this car. You have to switch to another one."

And she'd watched all our preparations -- her little hut is right behind Khila and the blue car above.

She took one look at my face and said, "But pick one from the mid-size aisle." (We'd only paid for the cheap compact option.)

Let's try that again! Nothing blue, so we went with the only red one.

can we really take this one? Really??


First stop on our little tour, St. Anne's Cathedral in "Mexicotown" which is, literally, the signage on the exit. 

It is right in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Canada. See all those trucks lined all the way across? (Hard to see with the blue suspension) It's nearly 70% of the commercial truck traffic in the region. and a quarter of all trade between Canada and the U.S. that rides on trucks comes across this one bridge.

So St. Anne, which is spelled the CORRECT way, of course, was founded July 26, 1701 but this building wasn't erected until 1886.

would have loved to have poked around inside and seen the stained glass with the afternoon light, but it was all locked up tight. And no, I wasn't going over to the parsonage and ringing the bell.

Our next stop was the Michigan Central Station in nearby Corktown.

it's fenced off with razor wire at the top, so no getting into this one, either.

It served as Detroit's rail travel center from 1913 to 1988. 
And like so many places in Detroit, it sits vacant and in limbo.

From there, we drove into downtown proper and scored a great parking spot directly across from the Penobscot Building on Griswold, just one block down from the Guardian Building, which was the crown jewel on our touring list.

(from our parking spot!)

Just check out this 1928 Art Deco beauty

the edge of the Penobscot, and the full height of the Guardian down the block (coming up next)

Khila getting a picture of the entry flooring

loved the little guys still in place among the big boys

The Guardian

The H architecture style allows for the most sunlight into the building as possible.

But the interior is absolutely overwhelming.

From there, we tried to stop in at Hart Plaza, which has a lovely walkway along the river between Detroit and Canada, but there was literally nowhere to park. I pulled into this spot (not a spot, getting glares from the bike police going by) to plug in the next stop so we could keep going. As an example of how infuriating the Wayz app was being, from this point, completely stopped, it tells me:

Proceed 700 feet forward and turn left.


So I set off in generally a DRIVEABLE direction and eventually it catches up. 

a cathedral we spotted in traffic that wasn't on our list

so we get over to near the Motown Museum to try and get up close to the last one on our list, the Fisher Building but again, no parking, and also not open. So we don't get to do more than snap from the car window after circling several times. The lobby is supposed to be spectacular. 

Oh well, next time. (In two years, we don't have to come every year any more.)

So our last stop was DINNER.

We hadn't had lunch thanks to a flight that left at 10:30, and the dire warnings to get to the airport three hours early thanks to TSA corporate incompetence in not having enough trained staff in place. We'd had a bit of breakfast, but with the time difference, landed at 3:00 and just got going.

We hit up Baker's Keyboard Lounge, supposedly the world's oldest (or second oldest) continuously operating jazz club since May 1934.

The list of jazz greats that have played here is a who's who. 

And Anita Baker's "Same Ole Love" video was partially filmed here, although I'd have never spotted it if you hadn't told me otherwise! You can also spot our skyscrapers and bridges and Hitsville in the homage to Detroit.

We ended up in the best space, far corner, so we could people watch. It was Karaoke and most everyone who took the mike could really sing. We may have been the only white folks in the place for most of the time. Don't be in a rush, but the food was amazing. Just the cornbread muffin was rave-worthy. Fried catfish was perfect. And yes, they had collard greens.  

the artwork on the walls was other famous jazz clubs

a lot of the greats had their signed photographs on the far wall

It was the highlight of the sightseeing, even after having swooned at the Guardian. 

The club was so dark, we looked like vampires emerging and realizing it was still daylight outside. 

From there, we headed for Auburn Hills and the suburbs.

Khila had booked us at the Sonesta, which, as it turns out, is just REALLY cool.

I want this for my house.

And for a third of the price of a single room at the Hilton (next door) we ended up in a two bedroom, two-king suite with kitchenette.

My room. Look at all those fluffy pillows!

Good day.


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