Monday, September 22, 2008

Back in the USA

Today I drove under the Detroit River through a tunnel to Windsor, Ontario, bringing my provinces-I've-visited count to two. But it wasn't easy. I've driven back and forth across the Blaine border crossing several times without incident. Today, the Canadians asked me a whole battery of questions before having me get out of the car. They gave it a cursory search before letting me pass. I then spent about an hour in Windsor, going to a couple Tim Hortons and picking up a Quatchi T-shirt for Eliza at HBC (with the awesome display, above). The whole time in Ontario I was fairly disoriented, even with a GPS, 'cause this part of Canada is actually south of the US.

Anyway, crossing the Ambassador Bridge back into the Great White North of America, the US Customs folks not only made me get out of my car, but had me but sit in a waiting room for close to a half hour while they checked me out, and my car was sniffed down by a dog. Apparently an unshaven middle-aged video store manager, traveling alone, flying from Seattle to to D.C., renting a car, driving to Detroit, and sightseeing in Windsor for an hour is cause for concern, for both countries. The Canadians were the only ones to ask me about the footprints on the roof of my car -- it was because I climbed up there to snap pix of Tiger Stadium over a fence. They thought that was funny. I gotta say, the Canadians customs people were much cooler than the Americans.

After motoring through more urban blight (and snapping a picture of this Kowalski sign), I walked around downtown for a spell. I saw two cool sculptures: the Spirit of Detroit the Joe Louis fist, but my main destination was the wiener smackdown on Lafayette, with Lafayette Coney Island right next door to American Coney Island. Though I didn't set out with this in mind, this trip has been about hot dogs just as much as anything. I've probably eaten more of 'em in the past week than I ever have before, at least from unique places (I've gone on hot dog binges at home, when I've been too habitually lazy to prepare anything else). Today I ate one chili dog apiece from both venues, just minutes apart. Both were good. I declare a draw.

The Tigers followed me from Cleveland to Detroit, so I went to their game tonight against the Royals... Comerica Park's a decent newish stadium, though nothing breathtaking... It has a Ferris wheel (the gondolas are baseballs) and a merry-go-round (the horses are tigers), both of which are out-of-place (that's me in the mirror of the photo above )... I do like the stadium's navy/orange color scheme, mimicking the team's colors... And I like the dirt path from the pitcher's mound to the home plate cutout, itself shaped like home plate (as seen in the photo below)... After seeing the super hi-tech scoreboard in Washington, Comerica's is pretty shitty... I admittedly enjoy Little Caesars pizza, so I ate a little cheese pie at the game (its parent company also owns the Tigers)... The tiger theme is played up about as much as the pirate theme is in Pittsburgh; the massive tiger sculptures all over the stadium are total overkill, but I love the unintentionally funny tiger growl that blasts over the PA after every Tiger run...

Sadly, I only got to hear it twice. For the record, the Royals won, 6-2, ending my five-game streak of seeing the home team win.

Fortunately, there was no riot.

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