Friday/Shabbat – Day 120/121

Posted on 28th November 2012

I was intent on not letting any of today go to waste. Thus it was up as early as possible, despite the late night, in order to go into the city of Detroit and see all it had to offer.

First up was the ‘Black Friday’ sales at the local mall. Even arriving at 10AM people were still going a little mad and the place was packed. Every store was full of people queuing up for bargains that weren’t all the great and sometimes not even there. For me, this reflected one of my less favored sides of the US. The rampant and needless consumerism. Everything everywhere on the streets implies and impulse to ‘buy, buy, buy’ without bound.

However, despite all that, there was one product I couldn’t help but find mildly adorable: Lord of the Rings Lego!

Following that we drove to the Heidelberg project, an outdoor art installation designed to highlight the challenges that Detroit is facing, poverty and dilapidation amongst them. The project encompassed a number of houses, adorned tastefully in castaway items.

Someone’s house!

In between the houses, on the ‘sidewalk’ and on nature strips in the center, objects were nailed to trees and signs posted, with religious and eschatological themes.

We walked in the cold for a few minutes however the chill was soon too much for us and after finishing the length of the street we raced back to the car.

Next stop was the newly reopened Detroit History museum that chronicled the life and times of the city. As today was its grand reopening, entry was free and we spent a good few hours in the many exhibits! Grace and her boyfriend met us there after lunch and I was glad to see them both after having gotten along so well with them the night before.

A genuine Detroit car

Amongst the things I learnt in the museum was that Detroit was once the capital of stoves, with a large stove manufacturing industry through the mid to late eighteen-hundreds.

Who would’ve thought?

Amongst the things I already knew was that Detroit was famous for its auto industry with a number of the world largest manufactures calling the city home. In fact, I was later privileged enough to visit the Ford Rouge manufacturing plant that takes raw materials and processes them, eventually producing a car. All at a single plant.

Museum Exhibit – Lowering the body onto the chassis

The tour of the Rouge factory that we later went to was fascinating but at the same time scared me a little.

Frightening, fascinating and fantastic all the same time.
A tribute to human engineering but also a condemnation of they we can live
I felt so bad for the workers doing the same thing a thousand times a day
And scared by the rate at which the factory was consuming resources.
But the moving assembly lines and cars were marvels of creativity
And showed the power of the mind. Ingenuity and innovation.
Unfortunately at this point Grace and Mike had to leave but she made sure to tell me to add her on facebook so that we could stay in contact!
The final stop of the day was the Detroit Institute of Art. The fantastic gallery was home to a great many famous paintings and though my time inside was limited (it was getting dark fast), I was able to spend a good bit of time with works I had only seen in books and online.
The rest of the evening was a quiet night at home with Tammy and family.
Saturday was pretty peaceful again, with not much of an outing to write about. Tammy’s Dad was excited to meet me, someone knowledgeable in Judaism and had taken the liberty of putting a tanach (Jewish Bible Collection) on the side of my bed just so I felt comfortable in a more Christian home. It was lovely of him to think of it.
In the evening I worked for a while on my project while Tammy’s ex came round to visit. Following that Tammy and I settled down with some microwave popcorn and watched The Hunger Games, which though predictable was relatively fun. I’ll probably end up seeing the other two now. And then we stayed up till 3AM talking before finally collapsing and falling asleep.


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