Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Minneapolis: Cold in March. No, really.

Last week, I went to Minneapolis for work. I spent the entire day Thursday in meetings and on a hotel tour (not to be confused with a Hutong tour), but on Wednesday evening and Friday late morning and early afternoon I got a chance to go out walking around downtown. My hotel was on one end of the Nicolet Mall, on which one finds various shopping, hotels, and office buildings. The unusual thing about the Nicolet Mall is the number of aboveground walkways, glassed in to keep the cold out, some of which run right through Macy's and Target. It resembles a huge human habitrail, and at lunch time it's like walking through understreet tunnels in China - a sea of people all walking in one direction or the other, and it's tough to fight the crowd.

Speaking of Target, I experienced my first two-story one in downtown Minneapolis, though I'm told that their flagship store is in another part of town. It was still friggin' huge, and I managed to score some good stuff for not too much. Plus, there's no sales tax on clothing there, which just adds to the awesomeness. I also scored some deals at Marshalls and at the H&M in the dreaded MofA, but I'd packed lightly to leave room for shopping.

Anyhow, Nicolet Mall. I found quite a few things during my walk out to the river. Here, for your perusal, some of the sights to be seen in the bustling Minneapolis metropolis on a cold March day.

I liked this statue of naked people in front of the cool old church. There's no question as to the guy's religion.

The offer tempted me, but I've got no desire to get rid of my Thetans. They're my constant brain companions.
My first view ever of the Mighty Mississippi. Not especially impressive, though I did like the chunk of ice floating down.

The Stone Arch bridge is one of the most famous connecting the Twin Cities. I tried to get a good photo of it, but you can't walk on the bridges to either side, so I walked out a bit, held my arm out wide, and took a shot.

View upriver from the stone arch bridge. I don't know the name of this one, but it goes right over a dam.

Near the stone arch bridge was this below street level ruin - I'm not sure what it used to be, but the water drainage has left to some pretty cool winter stalagtites and stalagmites.

Heading back up the Nicolet mall.

The thing about the weather in Minneapolis in March is that you never know what you're going to get. It's the same in Colorado, but it had been in the seventies for a few days before I left, and we'd just come out of a really cold winter. I'd expected some bad weather and temps in the 40s when I was in mpls, which was what I got, only the morning (Friday) I went for the walk out to the river, it was really windy and overcast, and I think maybe only in the high 20s. I'd brought two sweaters but no gloves or scarf, and the hood of one of my sweaters didn't pull tight, so it didn't do me much good.

So when my hands got cold, I shoved them in my pockets. When they got colder, I slapped them together, hid them under my armpits, and kept walking. I had to pull out my camera to take pictures, and my hands went from numb to painful to purple to swollen and feeling like baloons of misery on the ends of my hands. I almost dropped my camera twice, and the few times that the sun came out from behind the clouds, I held my hands out into the sunlight, hoping that they'd warm up just a little. I had plans to walk farther, but my hands just hurt too much. I wasn't able to take all the pictures I wanted because I could hardly handle my camera. So I headed back up the mall and into the habitrail, stopping in Target to run my hands under hot water for a while. They hurt for hours, stayed swollen until I got home (I'm sure the plane ride contributed, since my hydration and circulation always get weird on airplanes), and for a while there I was a little worried because they just didn't feel like hands anymore. They're OK now, but that experience was one I don't want to repeat.

You already know I went to the Mall of America. Here is my favorite photo and then one I took on the light rail to the airport.

Because there's nothing more educational than a coin-operated dinosaur skeleton.

Bike racks. A most excellent idea.

So, that was my trip. I think it would be fun to go sometime in the summer or early fall, when the weather is warm and it stays light really late, to stroll along the river and explore more of the city.

1 comment:

Yank In Texas said...

Always, always carry gloves with you, no matter what the weather may be for the months of September through about April, sometimes May. I've learned the hard way on this one many, many times. Thin ones are good for the A/C blasts.

Cool pics and I am envious of the shopping.