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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan

Detroit, (used to be one of the most populous city in US) is located in Michigan state, Midwestern United States. I spent three days here, visiting my cousin and old school friends who stayed in Ann Arbor, a small town that located just few kilometers away from the city. Is anyone familiar with Detroit? Yupp, its nickname is the Motor City. In a simpler meaning, Detroit is the city that accommodates US automotive industries. It is home for GM and Ford, the famous US brand car makers. It just like Coventry and Birmingham in UK which is home for British Jaguar. I flew to Detroit from Reno with Southwest Airlines, which is considered as one of the 'cheap flight' service within US. It took couples of transit where sometimes I even didn't get out from my plane. Uhh, I felt like I travel with bus in Malaysia. A new flying experience, it was so simple and systematic indeed. There's queue number on your boarding pass. You are required to queue according to this number and the attendance will call by lines. Owh, it seem weird but for me it's systematic. Nobody's rushing. Few minutes before landed, I flew over Chicago and one of the Great Lakes. Nice view at night. Once I arrived, I notice that this area is really different with the Southwestern part of US. Really, really different. I realize that the surrounding is more to British-French culture, compared to the Southwestern states such as California and Nevada which is more Spanish-like culture. It was heavy snow and that was the first time I learned the snowy winter storm in US. Honestly, I was a little bit scared at first but my friend told me it was nothing. Just take few precaution.

GM Renaissance Center
Generally Detroit is a big city, but during my visit, I believe that more than half of the city was abandoned (from my estimation and observation). There were lot of empty factories and residential area. This is the reality that happened when an industry made a massive shift for its operation for the costing reason. It reminiscent me at Coventry where a big Peugeot factory was shifted to another country. The only remaining legacy in this city is the Renaissance Center @ RenCen which is the headquarters for GM. It is located near the Detroit River, where the opposite river bank is Canada. I had the opportunity to visit the RenCen and the heart of Detroit at night. Walking along the riverfront during winter at night, this was really 'chill out'! How unfortunate I was, but that was the only time I had. We made an U turn at the Belle Island and end up our visit at the Shatila, an awesome dessert parlour. I was told that this shop belongs to Arabs who stayed in Detroit. The exact location is near the West Warren Avenue, Dearbon. Wow, I wonder so many Arabs here. I love their Baklava and few other sweeties which I cannot recalled its name. It's resistible.

 Shatila Bakery & Cafe, Dearbon, Michigan.

 The unforgettable Baklava

The next day I went to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearbon. It is located just near the Ford Motor Development Center, between Ann Arbor and Detroit. Opened to public, this museum accommodates a lot of American heritages, from machineries, cars, household appliances and planes from different era and situation. You can experience the dark age of discrimination in US, including the few informative documents and stuffs which belongs to the Klu Klax Klan (KKK). Actually this museum consists of few areas. However, during winter, those outdoor section was closed to visitors. For me, there are lot of things can be learned here. It is not only about product development and innovation across different era but also including human behaviour and character, and how they could change over time and according to certain situation. I left Detroit with abundant of nostalgic memories. The plane took me to Nashville and Vegas before I reached Reno that late evening. My friend rang me when I was sleeping that night. They'd already finished their breakfast but I was still on bed. Hmm, US huh! What a big country.

After JFK was shot dead in an 'cabrio-type' car during a parade, the latter president's car
was made with fully bulletproof hood.

Vegas at night. Can I come here again? Heheh.

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