Traveling off Season in Detroit, MI

We mostly spent the holidays with other transient people. Traveling off season is a great way to see a different side of  a place. Even if museums and things are closed. These are some of the best things about Detroit:

1. Everything about Baker’s. 

-Some dude was so into his mac and cheese that didn’t notice that he’d lit his table on fire. The bassist in the band called his attention to the fire without missing a beat.

– The women’s room at Baker’s has luxurious feeling soap, a basket of nicely smelling twigs, large, cushy chairs to relax, great lighting, a gorgeous and luxurious water faucet and spigot, large mirror. I was delighted! My boyfriend informed me that the men’s room was not a lovely place to hang out. They just threw a trash bag over one of the broken urinals.

Businesses that serve mostly white people have very egalitarian, utilitarian bathrooms- do your business and get out. The only difference between men’s and women’s bathrooms for white people is the presence or absence of urinals.

I have learned that for nice bathrooms, I will have to visit places with African American women as major clientele, as they do NOT put up with certain discomforts.

Oh, and the music- so wonderful we closed the place down. From a young man wearing a skinny suit and tie, to an older gentleman wearing an honest-to-god medallion over his understated turtleneck, to a guy wearing a pinky ring and ordering a round of Hennesy for him and his friends, it was a cross generational night. We heard New Orleans- style jazz, scatting, classic tunes and original songs, everyone there had ridiculous talent. Visitors from out of town had brought their instruments, and it seemed that on that night, everyone playing had recorded together or was family.

2. A random stranger gave us a ride home when we were foolish enough to expect our taxi to show up. If he comes into town, I will try to return the favor.

Tourist tip: don’t take a taxi. I thought: “Detroit is a big city, and all big cities have great public transportation and taxis.”

No. No, no, no. The one taxi we did take didn’t start his meter, drove us all around and tried to over charge. (Sorry asshole, not going to work.) The other one we called never showed up.

I decided the boyfriend and I would take a taxi to and from the restaurant so that we could both drink, and avoid killing anyone driving home.

The person who drove us home told us that the police are lenient with drunk driving, because of the lack of public transit and impossibility of taking a taxi. The valet at the hotel had  list of about thirty numbers; all taxi “companies” are one man operations.

3. The staff at the hotel bar hanging out with us, watching “It’s a Wonderful Life,” using us as an excuse to make delicious concoctions, whipping booze and foam into magic, and trusting us enough to lend us a wine key.

Hotel Yor

4. Finding random, lovely things, like this ancient looking drive-in theater, and the Hotel Yorba, which was in a White Stripes song.


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