Adventures in My Own Backyard

Admittedly, I have a flair for the grandiose. I sometimes feel that the only adventures worth pursuing are the big ones – the ones that require many hours of planning and no shortage of dollars to accomplish. I have been lucky enough to collect some amazing experiences that have skewed my epic scale a little too much.

But lately I have been working on modifying my attitude. Because this semester has been supremely challenging for me in many different ways (my first car accident, a death in the family, a difficult break-up, and a surgery that rendered me bedridden for longer than I’d care to admit), I have been forcing myself to find pleasure in and truly appreciate the little things in life. Because of this, I have been inspired to seek out and pursue mini-adventures near to my home in Ann Arbor.

The most recent occurred yesterday. My lovely friend Al and I took a day trip to Detroit – despite the cold we made the most of it!

10845910_10154937829630354_7128895653572401999_nThe day started off at a lovely DTown landmark – Detroit’s Eastern Market. I have a thing for Farmer’s Markets and this one didn’t fail to deliver. We bought asparagus for $1 and a G-free blondie for Al (it makes me so sad that little goodies like that are so few and far between for her).16402_10154937829700354_8465987191029541220_n After absorbing the entirety of the good vibes at the Eastern Market, we ventured back to the car (with not a few detours into shops) on the way to Michigan Central Station. I find old, abandoned buildings to be endlessly fascinating and the Michigan Central Station is rumored to be one of the best. A relic of the golden days of Motor City, Michigan Central Station serves as a harsh reminder of how far the city has fallen. It is one of the tallest, largest buildings in town and can be seen for miles.

Just the view from the ground was supremely impressive. But naturally, it wasn’t mischievous enough for me. Unfortunately, right as I was about to suggest trespassing, a police car pulled up, intent on imposing his presence.  10805563_10154937829490354_1096143017142893179_n

We promptly left. Because it was cold and because fuck da po-lice.

And ended up in Mexicantown, which I had no idea even existed. After a spontaneous stop into an authentic Mexican grocery store ($0.99 handmade tortillas!!!), we ended up at John. K. King bookstore, the largest used and rare bookstore in Michigan. It is four stories of pure bliss, containing several million volumes on every topic imaginable.

The best part of this mini-adventure is that it has inspired so many more! Driving through Mexicantown, I was inspired by the graffiti and drawn to all the authentic TamalerĂ­as and other restaurants. I will definitely be heading back someday soon to experience some authentic Mexican deliciosity.

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While the vibes in Detroit can be simply summarized by the word “gloomy,” I find many parts of it a generally enjoyable way to spend a day. The dark grittiness of it satisfies my occasional craving for the edgier things in life, and the many efforts by Detroit and the surrounding areas to resurrect its culture have been mostly successful. The resulting effect is a confusing palimpsest of previous major successes, many years of unkempt abandonment, succeeded by an effort of re-integration and resurrection  by the hipsters and contemporary artists of the world. The hidden gems in this previously prosperous city create a high-stakes scavenger hunt that doesn’t often disappoint.
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