Well, let me preface this by saying that prior to researching Minneapolis and St. Paul for my visit, I did have some preconceived notions of what I thought MPS would be like. But after digging and learning about the state, mainly the Twin Cities, I realized how naive and narrow the mind can be! So, I envisioned a post Dust Bowl wasteland where women give birth in caves and men are born with full beards and thick chest patches, and rather than including domesticated dogs in the nuclear family structure, wild wolves are sought and lured in for cave protection. All joking aside, my assumptions paralleled that of other non-Midwesterners’; the Midwest is outdated, isolated, and slow, and thus lacking culture, intellect, and manors. However, regarding Minnesota, the only Midwest state I have explored, my assumptions made an arse out of you and me, and by “you” I mean other non-Midwesterners who have got it all wrong about Minnesota.
Upon arriving in MPLS, was there any culture shock?
Yes, I was shocked to see people wearing shorts and t-shirts, basically minimal clothing, in an arctic climate. Coming from the sub-tropics of South Florida, where I romp around half naked in “winter”, I was cold, man!
Have you ever heard the term, “MN Nice?” Did you find that to be true?
I had experienced “MN Nice” before hearing the term. It’s pretty much true. Of course there will always be exceptions, but for the most part everyone I have met from Minnesota, either out-of-state or on their home turf, is extremely friendly and wholesome, and I like that about MN peoples.
What were your thoughts about the food in MN?
Yea, man, the food was great! Food is so important for me, for all of us! It’s the most important thing you can spend money on besides water. Hopefully air will always be free. So, yes, clean air, clean water, great food; Minnesota has it all. Food makes traveling hit or miss for me, so I was excited to eat well and have options in Minnesota. Here’s what I ate; Turkish/Middle Eastern, Baked Potato Pizza (interesting concept), shoyu ramen at an Asian market, which was killer, a few different Midwest deli style sandwiches, Cuban, and American/Scandinavian breakfasts. The produce markets were good too.
How do you think MPLS rates for street skating compared to other US cities?
Having skated most of the major American metropolises, I would say that MPS ranks pretty well. The Twin Cities were really fun to skate. MN’s spots are abundant, the locals are friendly, and the building materials like marble and granite are everywhere for you to interpret. The downtown areas are cool to push around and easy to navigate, and for the most part not populated on the weekends. But the ground, man, the ground! Snow and salt have decayed those asphalt and concrete streets and sidewalks. I heard someone refer to those rough surfaces as “cheese grader ground”; so true. I almost lost my right hand to the cheese grader but luckily I was wearing mittens AND gloves to stay warm, and my hand was salvageable. And I’m sure winter makes it very challenging to skate, let alone live and not freeze, so props to all you peoples who get’er done.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
The trip in its entirety was my favorite part. The thrift stores were awesome. I was surprised at the amount of thrift stores, and their size. Minnesota has proper seasons, so the thrifty selection was great, and the not that overpriced (no sales tax on clothing or shoes) or too picked over. We did a whole lot of thrifting. I also liked how the entire population came out from hibernation on the weekend we were there because the weather went from 20 to 60 degrees. Everyone seemed so vibrant and thankful to see and feel the sun. I also felt like I was living in an L.L. Bean catalog with the scenery and the locals. It was fun.
Any final comments?
Yes, Minneapolis and St. Paul seem like a perfect, inexpensive, dual destination for spring or fall, free of crowds and lifestyles, especially if you like outdoor activities that are conveniently located outside of two moving metropolises. In terms of skateboarding, the scene is alive and free of judgment, and there are spots to be thrashed other than those you may have seen on You-Tube. Minnesota is a state of “Do-Gooders”, wholesome folks who smile often, people you can trust and admire.
Video coming soon! Starring Adam Burgess!!!!!