Detroit Journal – Day I

Day 1 – Thursday, 29.01.

Getting up at 5am (Central European Time) and driving to the airport when it is freezing cold outside, isn’t a very pleasent experience. The 1st flight was a bit delayed, because the aircrafts wing froze or something and they had to heat them up and spray something on them to prevent that from happening again. The pilot told us the machine can prevent that itself while in the air, but not on the ground. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue.

After an hour we arrived in Frankfurt where we had to wait 4 hours for our next flight (to Detroit). The time flew by, because we were walking around the airport and wasting time somehow. It is by far the biggest airport I’ve ever seen. Planes go to everywhere in the world from here.

2

The in-flight entertainment wasn’t bad. We had ‘Ghosttown’, ‘Shamwari’ (a documentary from Discovery Channel) and ‘Wall-E’ (which I hadn’t seen til now – not bad, nice, lovely movie for kids) and my favorite: The air marshal (we are sure he was an air marshal, he had that tough guy Texas look) who started his own dance and aerobic class in the middle of the plane. There is nothing more hilarious than a 40 year-old guy dancing through an airplane to stay loose.

More after the jump (including pics).

Alaska

Greenland (thanks David) 😉

After flying and waiting for about 15-16 hours, we arrived at 6pm at the Detroit airport. We had to go through the whole security process – filling out forms, letting them take our fingerprints and make a picture of us and make us go through the custom borders because we had chocolate with us. Everything took a bit more than 30 minutes which is pretty fast, I guess. I expected to stay there for at least an hour, so this was a pleasant surprise.

The first officer already came to us while we where standing in line. Say hello to ‘Officer Jenkins’, by far the toughest-looking officer we’ve seen at the whole airport. He asked us why we are coming to Detroit, how we could pay for the trip and if there is something fishy going on. We got a bit more attention than most visitors – it’s probably a bit unusual when two young guys travel together with hardly any cabbage. Everything was fine, tho.

The officer who took my fingerprints asked ‘Why are you coming to Detroit?’ – ‘Holidays and because I wanna see some Detroit Pistons games.’ – ‘What are you doing for a living?’ – ‘”I’m a student, sir.’ – ‘How can you pay for this trip?’ – ‘I’m working part-time.’ And that was about it. They were really looking for details here as you can see. But I can assure you one thing: It isn’t easy at all to cross the border to your country. You can feel very secure here (unless you live downtown).

Afterwards we went down to the main hall and tried to figure out how to withdraw cash from the ATM’s. It was a bit strange, because you only had to swipe your card and than you could choose from lots of options – a bit different than in Austria, but we figured it out in another 30 minutes. Yeah, we aren’t the fastest.

The airport was pretty empty except for the gates which was pretty packed, probably a few outgoing flights. There also were really many security guards walking around. We aren’t used to that. We weren’t sure if this is a good or a bad sign.

We got a taxi very easy and our driver told us that this was his 2nd trip today (he started 6 hours ago). People don’t like the snowy weather here and it is bad for business, he said. He also told us that the city as a whole is suffering right now, because of the economic crisis and that it is really bad. People are depressed and you could actually see it when we arrived in Downtown. Nobody on the streets, everything was kinda empty and we didn’t feel too comfortable at first. The cab driver was really nice, tho, and told us everything we asked him about like where to eat and where to go to have some fun. Plus he showed us around a bit (Wayne University, the Medical Center and so on – it’s good to have somebody around who knows a thing or two about the city).

The hotel was different than we expected it to be. Kinda older, smaller and stranger than we thought. The lady at the hotel first didn’t find our reservation, but we got that figured out and paid with our credit card. The security guy showed us our room so we could decide if we want it and we took it. Very nice guy (he got the Steelers in the Superbowl btw). At first we weren’t really comfortable there, but that was also part due to not sleeping for nearly 24 hours (yeah, couldn’t sleep in the plane). We decided to take a trip around town to get some fresh air.

After walking around for about an hour we actually saw a few people out on the streets and I have to say we really like the city. Our first impression was pretty wrong. We even like our hotel now that we found out that we got digital cable and high-speed internet.

Greektown looks fun and there were by far the most people around. We will check out Woodward Ave and the Renaissance Center tomorrow. Plus, the Celtics – Pistons game is also tomorrow and we have pretty nice tickets for that one – more after the game.

After exploring the city we felt pretty hungry and went to a restaurant near out hotel. Not many people there, but it wasn’t even 8pm yet – just felt like midnight to us, because it was about 2am where we came from. A bit of a jetlag, I guess. Anyway, it was fantastic. Several big screens showing college basketball and a really nice waitress who even told us a few things about the city. According to her, it was pretty empty because of the weather. Has hardly anything to do with the Redwings game in Detroit that night (that was our first idea – we thought everybody went to the game). We got us some Crispy and some Grilled Chicken and asked if we could watch the NBA game on TNT. No problem, of course. I love this country.  🙂 This isn’t even remotely possible in our country…or even on our continent. Getting something to eat and watching the game – awesome. See, we are pretty easy to please.

At half-time we left, because we were pretty tired and we decided it was easier to watch the 2nd half at the hotel – which we did. Congrats, Orlando. We were too tired for the Suns and Spus, which was an awesome game, I guess.

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4 Responses to “Detroit Journal – Day I”

  1. You guys are awsome. I found your site via Need4Sheed. I’m a Pistons fan living in Chicago, but I grew up in the west part of Michigan, about 3 hours from Detroit. I’m pretty impressed that you’re so open minded about Detroit. The reality is that it isn’t a very attractive city and things just keep getting worse. It sounds like you’d live any where as long as you could watch the NBA on a regular basis, though! I hope you guys have a good time, and stay safe! Beat the Cavs!

  2. Also from N4S here… great recap of your travel to the US! Security here probably seems high but once you fly through our airports enough you realize it’s more for show than anything. Not that it doesn’t keep things safe but having been to Israel let me tell you we don’t even begin to compare!

    Great to see you got out and enjoyed much of the D right away, too. I’ve been down in Ohio for 1 1/2 years now but it’s always nice to get back downtown when I get back home. Off to read your other posts…

  3. Hi Pal!
    The Picture over the clouds is overwhelming.
    Did you take a picture of the air marshall?
    Would be great!
    lol

  4. […] Detroit Journal Links Day 1 […]

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