Twin Cities weekend
I finally made it up to the Twin Cities last weekend, my first visit in about four years. Cold and clammy weather gave way to sunshine as I came within view of downtown and I was greeted by excellent radio music via 89.3 The Current. My first stop was at IKEA, to buy two lamps for the living room, one to replace the floor lamp that fell over one too many times and broke earlier this year.
I spend the rest of Saturday touring St. Paul with BCF and his ladyfriend Ellen, who graciously let me stay the night in the guest bedroom of her house, located on a corner lot shaded with big old trees full of rich autumn colors, in a charming neighborhood north of the airport. After arriving at Ellen’s house we three jumped into her car and toured the town. I saw lots of people out running and bicycling along the city’s extensive network of pedestrian trails. We hit up a couple non-chain book stores, and I picked up a book & a recent issue of National Geographic, both about Easter Island.
Our late-lunch/early-dinner plans consisted of cheese-filled burgers and pint beers at Nook, a Pump Haus-style restaurant with considerably more character, featuring an eight-lane bowling alley in the basement (plus another bar/seating area to eat). Very interesting little place. Maybe on my next visit I’ll both eat & bowl there…
Our evening plans included a 7pm screening of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” at the Riverview Theater (evening tickets only $3!). The movie was, in short, wildly imaginative and fantastic. Afterwards we grabbed pints of locally brewed stout at a new-ish bar so crowded we had to sit at a picnic table outside. The breeze was a bit chilly but we persevered, thanks in part to the heft of our brews.
BCF was out when I arose Sunday morning so it was just me and Ellen at breakfast – grape nuts, hot tea and politics around the dining room table, with some political news show airing on the telly. My only order of business before driving back to Iowa was a stop at the Mall of America. I arrived shortly before the mall opened but failed to realize I could have parked in one of the uber-close exterior parking spots by the northern entrance. I ended up in the big open lot by IKEA. Meh.
I had nothing in particular to buy at the mall other than a replacement jacket for the one I had been wearing (out) for the past year and a half, and I did manage to find a new one for the exact same price as what I paid for the old one. I found a game store with a lot of fun board games and trivia-type items marketed towards geeks and ALPHA-types. I couldn’t resist picking up some early xmas gifts for Collin and the girls there.
Totally by happenstance I ran into my friend Thinh at the mall. He and I walked around each floor, chatted, wandered through dozens of stores neither of us had any intention of spending money at, and (naturally) a lot of people watching. We parted ways after 2pm, him off to lunch with his friends and me back on the road.
The Intrepid handled the drive surprisingly well, given its age. I think I can get some more highway miles out of it before I let it retire (knock on wood).