Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Global Market

Last night after my "Woo is me" pity party, I took Silvi out for a couple of hours to one of my favorite places here in Minneapolis, The Global Market. Years ago when I used to work in downtown Seattle, I loved to walk to Pike Place Market and soak in it's weathered, worn-down atmosphere. I would sit with a hot chai latte and watch for hours as the ferries meandered lazily to and from Bainbridge Island.

The Global Market doesn't quite live up to the mystique of Pike Place, but it has its own charm. Minneapolis has a large international community, especially people from Somalia. In fact, I think that other than Somalia, we have the highest concentration of Somali's anywhere.

Imigrants from all over the world have booths in the market where they sell various trinkets, clothing and food that makes my mouth water as I sit here writing about it. I took my camera with me and snapped a bunch of photos as Silvi and I wandered aimlessly. I have a cheap digital camera from Walmart and long for the day when I can buy a professional digital SLR camera.

A few weeks ago I wish that I had any camera with me. Throughout the week, various events take place in the center of the market, and on that particular night it was belly dancing. The dancer was exquisite and had Silvi join her out on the floor after tying a scarf around her little blond head. How I wish I had my camera!

Last night they were teaching free Celtic dance lessons. No, I did not join them. I haven't watched Riverdance in a long time so felt no need to make a spectacle of myself in front of complete strangers. (I'll have to tell you sometime about my stint as a ballroom dance instructor at the Fred Astaire Dance Studios. I don't think I've danced formally since.)

I love living in big cities. I've been fortunate to have lived in many of them: Chicago, Seattle, Denver, West Palm Beach, and now Minneapolis. I like to take a bus or train to the heart of the city and wander, exploring second-hand bookstores, sneaking into expansive hotel lobbies, listening to musicians play on the sidewalk. And although I don't share Ayn Rand's take on life, I do share her infatuation with tall buildings and bustling streets and narrow alleyways that call for exploration.

I once read a book on the need for men to take to the wilderness from time-to-time in order to reclaim their place in the world. My wilderness is the city. After reading that book, I took a train - alone - along the Pacific coast to Vancouver where I spent three days wandering for miles through crowded streets full of music and shops and life. I'll never forget sitting on the beach as the sun set, watching the hordes of street performers and tourists and skateboarders and families meander along the boardwalk.

Minneapolis is a quiet city, if you compare it to Chicago or Seattle. But on a summer night, when the humidity breaks, you'll find the tables packed on many restaurant patio's or in front of the many pubs and bars on the city streets. If you look hard, you might just spot me walking with my daughter (and son and wife, when he grows a bit) wandering aimlessly, in search of nothing more than the thrill of being alive.


Steve said...

Tom, As I have said before I enjoy your blog. We met because our kids have DS but I enjoy the many others things you write about.

Leah said...

Ok, I'll admit it...I'm culterally challenged! Would you believe I've never been to the Farmers Market? I've never done any of the "city" things. Seriously, I have trouble venturing out of my suburban comfort zone. I would LOVE to do these things, but the thought of finding parking terrifies me. Going to Mnpls Children's is an adventure for me. LOL I promise to make an attempt to do something culturally week!

bella said...

I always loved this about you, that your wilderness is the city. I get it. I feel the same way. the colors and sounds, the grime and untamed nature of man on display, the way it pulses with life force, even if not that of hurricanes and forest fires and the tender soil sprouting new life.
And you made me miss Pike Place.

God is Great Beauty Salon said...

Loved this post. Your writing really is excellent. Felt like moving to Minneapolis straight away :)

I'm also a "city person" and especially love the multicultural thing about many big cities.

Unfortunately Stockholm (where I live now) is more like a village than a city... :)

Kim Ayres said...

I'm a rural town man. I've almost always lived in places where there are a few shops, but hills and fields within easy sight. I tend to find cities a slightly threatening place unless I'm with someone who's at home in them

RK said...

This sounds like a great night out to me. I miss the city.

Tom said...

Steve: Appreciate that, and I hope you are adjusting to life in another state.

Leah: Is this the same Leah who rode her motorcycle through a thunderstorm?

Isabel: Those are some of my fondest memories, working downtown Seattle. I could go for a nice leisurely ferry ride just about now.

GIGBS: Minneapolis is in some ways "more like a village." Not the same as Paris, which I see from your latest pictures is where you just were. Made me very jealous!

Kim: Next time you're in the US, I'll show you around. In the country I'm like Bob in What About Bob, "There's nobody here!" Burst into running...

RK: It was..