Mall Madness

I’m up in Minneapolis for meetings and was scheduled for a lunch at Crave, a restaurant in the Mall of America.

The restaurant was fine; the Mall of America was . . . too much.  Too much noise, too much colorful eye-catching signage, too much over-the-top indoor amusement park activity, too much of just about everything.  I sat at a sticky table in one of the food courts recharging my cell phone battery, listening to the shrieks of kids on roller coasters and smelling the sickly sweet odor of food court ice cream and soft drinks, and thought:  Here is America, under one huge skylight, in all its excess and glory.

I must admit that the giant Lego Transformer and Lego helicopter were pretty cool.

Vacation Time: The Western Swing (Part VI)

We left Fargo and drove across Minnesota to our next destination.  When we planned the trip, we asked Richard and Russell what they wanted to see out west.  Mount Rushmore?  Check.  The Crazy Horse Memorial?  Check.  Devil’s Tower?  Ditto.  To my surprise, however, they also expressed an interest in seeing the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota . . . and that was our next destination.

After a few hours driving we approached the Mall of America, took advantage of the ample parking spaces provided, and entered the mall.  I’m not sure what I expected, but when we got inside we found a really big mall,  and that was about it.  Sure, it had an amusement park in the middle, and lots of stores on multiple levels, but it looked and felt like any mall found anywhere in America, just bigger.  There really wasn’t anything to do but shop, which none of us felt like doing.  After looking around for a while we hit the road for Minneapolis.

We had stayed in a few sketchy places on our trip, so we decided to splurge and stay in a nice downtown hotel in Minneapolis.  It was well worth it.  Minneapolis has a vibrant downtown, and we enjoyed walking around for a bit of exploration of another thriving Midwestern city.  We had a good dinner and went to see a movie in a downtown theatre.  The only unusual thing I noticed was that everyone out on the streets seemed to be smoking, which gave the place a significantly different feel than Columbus, where a public smoker is as rare as as an honest Chicago politician.

The next day we drove to Evanston, Illinois, to explore the Northwestern campus where Richard would soon be attending college.  By that time, we were within range of Columbus, and the pull of home had become irresistible.  The next day we got up earlier than normal, drove the final eight hours of our Western Swing, and happily dropped our bags at the old homestead with another family vacation under our belts and some good memories to treasure.

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part V)

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part IV)

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part III)

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part II)

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part I)