When I got back home from Asia this summer, I was looking forward to just catching back up with life. However, it just wasn’t it the cards just yet, at least for another few weeks. After I completed my last doctoral course (just have to write a dissertation now), I was off to Michigan for a long weekend.
The target destination in Michigan was Marine City, just across the River from Ontario. After the worst flight experience I have ever had (shoutout to Spirit Airlines), I arrived In Michigan a day and a layover longer than anticipated.
The first day of the weekend in Michigan was spent in Marine City. The old maritime vibe of Marine City is still present as it never moved away from the river or its roots with many historical sites, houses, and museums to check out. Not to mention you can sit in the grass anywhere along the coastline against the river and watch the boats crawl by.
On the main drag of Water Street, there are plenty of antique stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and parks to spend your time. Looking for a reprieve from my busy summer, I spent most of the first day just taking in the small town atmosphere, drinking the local coffee, and doing some light exploring around town.
Day two was a bit more exciting as I headed into Detroit for the day. First, I headed to a camera store in Dearborn, just west of Detroit. Being a huge Eminem fan growing up, I was excited to visit the filming locations of 8 Mile and checking out other iconic spots from the movie. I also meandered around downtown and hung out in Hart Plaza after seeing the Joe before they tear it down in favor of the Red Wings moving into Little Caesar’s Arena this upcoming hockey season.
Walking a few blocks west from Hart Plaza, I ran into an event celebrating the birthday of the city. Children and adults alike lined up for free ice cream, played basketball, and took photos with Paws, the mascot of the Detroit Tigers. I even decided to take part and take a few shots with the kids on the court.
As run down and abandoned some parts of Detroit were, there was an strong, intangible feeling of brotherhood in the air every where you went. If you could put, “yeah life sort of sucks sometimes, but we’ll get through it together” into a city’s atmosphere , then that’s exactly what it felt like.
There was also something about the city that just exhaled some sort of historical pride that has been carried and passed on through the decades. It could have been and probably was the echoing of the bustling automative and manufacturing industries of years past. But there was something about the decay in the city that was also beautiful. Something like a flower that grows through broken concrete.
The last full day in Michigan included checking out the massive amount of local antique shops in Marine City for cameras and a drive up to and through Port Huron and taking in the sites of the Blue Water Bridge, just across the water from Sarnia, Ontario. I managed to pick up two new cameras, a Rollei 35 LED and a Minox 35 EL, both of which I have yet to test out.
There’s just something about Michigan that just felt so…American, but in the best way possible. In the few places I got to see in the limited amount of time I got to see them, I got to see both ends of a few different spectrums. Each one of those still aligning somewhere within stereotypical American ideals.
Overall, the trip was rather relaxed and provided a little bit of a break since I did basically no planning whatsoever. In that regard, it was a nice way to end my marathon summer.