Thursday, April 14, 2005

Detroit – Gateway to the Canadian Riviera

It has recently been brought to my attention that a certain Australian I know electronically will be gracing the shores of the US sometime in the near future. Apparently, she and her friend will have flexible travel plans and were wondering where they should go while they were here. Personally, when I travel I prefer to be as far away from the touristy parts of my leisure destination as humanly possible and try to find the types of places that are left out of the tour books. This allows you to leave behind the façade the nation is trying to project to foreign visitors and delve much deeper into the meat of the nation. By getting off of the beaten path, you learn far more about a country then what their old buildings looked like. You get to see its people the way they really are and find out, for good or bad, what they really think of you. You learn what it is they like to eat, what they like to drink and how they have fun. By traveling in this manner, you acquire a much more rewarding experience than you would by spending ten hours a day in a decrepit old tour bus full of fifty aging examples of your fellow countrymen reeking of Old Spice cologne, soiled adult diapers and the overpowering stench of Metamucil sweated out of geriatric pores.

So, with that in mind, I would recommend to anyone coming to visit the United States to take some time and travel to area that spawned the author of The JEP Report.

The tourist Mecca of Detroit is located on the southeastern extremity of the State of Michigan along a strait that conveniently separates it from the Canadian Riviera but keeps it well within the firing range of a cheap 9mm pistol, giving an uncontestable edge to the well armed Americans that have kept the unruly Canadian hordes on their side of the Ambassador Bridge since the War of 1812. Even though the savages have been kept at bay for nearly two hundred years, the barbarians have still managed to make their intimidating presence felt. The Cult of Hockey crept out from behind the Maple Curtain sometime during the 20th Century and was never successfully stamped out. Its American disciples have proven incredibly resilient and the cult displays a fervent zealotry second only to the Saudi Arabian sect of Wahhabbi Islam. The Canadians have also made their mark on the American beverage industry by pumping the market full of malted mind-altering mixes with cryptic monikers such as Labatt’s, Molsen, and my personal weakness, Moosehead. Tasty and highly addictive, these beers excel at keeping Detroiters reasonably sedated but significantly chip away at our defensive readiness. My guess is that the cretins will sneak over the border while we’re passed out in bed and kill us in our sleep after we’ve all downed a couple dozen bottles of the stuff. That is why, after my most truly awe-inspiring alcoholic antics, I do not retire for the evening unless I’ve armed myself to the teeth.

This close proximity to our hostile northern neighbor has nurtured a sort of “siege mentality” among the Motor City’s denizens that is evident in almost every aspect of life in southeastern Michigan. One place it is most obviously apparent is in Detroit’s architecture. Fifteen minutes of driving through West Side neighborhoods and you just can’t help but feel as if you were under siege. Sometimes referred to as “The Jewel of the Rust Belt”, any world traveler would be hard pressed to name a more pristine example of urban blight than what can be found in Detroit. Still, the city manages to maintain its Old World charm. In fact, if you close your eyes in some areas of the city and let your imagination wander a bit, you can almost believe that you’ve been magically transported to some exotic continental capital, such as Berlin. In 1945. On an all-expense paid tour sponsored by the 101st Airborne Division. Your hallucinogenic vision, exacerbated by the chemical content of Detroit’s air, will often come complete with accompanying sound effects reminiscent of the battle for Berlin but be warned, those are usually NOT figments of your imagination.

A southeastern Michigan vacation is not for the faint of heart. It is a lively area rife with illicit activity and casually recreational gun play in its more destitute areas. In fact, Detroit boasts a crime rate that would make an afternoon drive through Baghdad seem like a spring outing at Disney’s Epcot Center. With a tragic lack of live poultry roaming the city’s streets, Detroiters have come to reply upon the explosive reports of submachine gun fire from passing Chevrolets to greet the morning sun.

Accommodations in Detroit can be a bit pricey, but bargains can be had. In fact, if you are equipped with cheap booze and the moral fortitude of an alley cat in heat, you could probably score a corrugated cardboard condominium right on the waterfront with a breathtaking view of the Windsor skyline for little more than a bottle of ripple and a quick tryst in nearby dumpster.

It takes a special kind of person to vacation in Detroit and by “special” I do not mean in the extraordinarily talented or brave kind of way. I mean “special” in the short little school bus manner. Still, if you are in the market for a getaway full of high adventure and enjoy mingling with heavily armed people possessing the collective IQs and dispositions of retarded wombats on PCP, the Motor City may be one of your best bets outside of Sunni Triangle.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Aussie said...

My trip is more about people and their lives and cultures . I've done the touristy cr@p on the West Coast , Vegas , Grand Canyon etc. many years ago. I found Calif to be similar to Sydney in a very artificial way.
This time I'm planing on not planing. I'm booking my flight and car hire , taking it town by town , people to people . I hope not to spend a single night in a hotel - if that means sleeping by the side of the road in my swag - so be it.
Whilst Detroit sounds "charming" , as I've pointed out i'd like to meet people , let me add to that - i'd also like to leave the country with my body in tact , unmolested , and without being mugged.
But thanks anyway.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Adult Diapers said...

Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.

5:37 AM  

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