Thursday, September 7, 2000 - Burnsville, Minnesota (just south of Minneapolis/St. Paul)

I am finally here. It was a long trip but I think it really was worth it. Mike is just like I always remembered him (easy to get along with, very humorous) and his girlfriend (who is living with him in his rather spacious apartment) is really quite nice – they seem to make a great couple.

Last night they picked me up quite late from the train station, around about 11:30 which turned out to be about 3 hours later than Jolene normally stays up. We were able to quickly pick up my luggage from the baggage claim before taking the, seemingly, endless journey to their home in the South part of Minneapolis/ St. Paul. It turns out they live no where near the city and they have to use the car to get just about everywhere though I hear that the public transit system even in the city is not all that good (they are putting in a rapid transit system as I speak).

It was surprising to see that Mike still drives his car that he had when we knew each other in Winnipeg - a rather beaten up auto-mobile that looks like a golf ball (as I delight in reminding him) since it got hit multiple times in a large hail storm in Winnipeg. He actually got insurance money for it but used it for other things instead of a new car.

Jolene went to bed right when we got to the apartment though Mike and I talked until quite late, catching up on what has happened since we last saw each other. I got the sofa bed to sleep on and slept quite well, thank you.

After sleeping in until quite late (9) we visited a few electronics store (a consumer electronics store as well as a used electronic component store – my favourite kind, nothing like being able to dig through a bunch of rubbish to try to find what you are looking for).

Mike took me for lunch at a local “American Food” restaurant which was actually quite good and I was able to have a rack of ribs (which I had not yet had a chance to try since I got to the states).

We headed out after lunch to the Mall of America – the first time I have visited. Many people suggest it is the largest mall in the world but, evidently, this is still the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton (Alberta, Canada). We wandered around for quite some time while I picked up a few things. Just about when we were going to leave, after having walked around the circular- shaped complex a few times, Mike insisted (GRIN) that we visit the aquarium that they have in the mall and this turned out to be a great choice – it was not very big but very well laid out and the glass tunnel through a series of large tanks was really great (I love that). We were able to pet some tame rays they had in a shallow pool as well (I have seen this before but never bothered to touch them) – they are harmless and actually like to be touched with one of them hovering just to let me rub it's side (of the top of the body) – they felt quite unusual, sort of a soft warm skin.

We visited a big department store so I could go shopping for some clothing essentials (I really have problems with the price of such things in England so every time I am in Canada or the states I pick up some things). Besides, had to pick up some peanut butter…

After we got back to the apartment we sat down and watched a few movies (on DVD - which I had purchased while we were out), munching on chips and guzzling soda pop. Dinner? Nope.

⇒ Continue to Friday, September 8, 2000 - Burnsville, Minnesota (just south of Minneapolis/St. Paul)