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

Today we headed off to see a few more stores, stopping for lunch at a great Vietnamese place right near downtown. It reminded me a lot of a place that we visit in Winnipeg. Mike had been told about this place by someone who lives locally.

I was quite annoyed to find out just before I left on the train from Chicago that my main piece of luggage had it's zippers stop working so we took some time to go out and get a new one. I really did not want to spend my whole trip out at stores but it seems that is the case. I console myself because as we are travelling to and from these places we talk a lot and even when we arrive so it is really a social thing anyway. Ok, I am shopping which is not exactly the most exciting thing (I find) to do, but at least we can talk while we do it. The distances to get anywhere are quite something, anytime we want to go anywhere it seems to be at least 15 minutes away and we have to take the Expressway to get there. This reminds me a lot of when I was in Detroit where it was much the same way – highway to get to the corner store. Things are so far apart, it seems. Without the car I can see it would be quite difficult to get around and EVERYONE seems to drive.

For dinner, we all went to this rather good (authentic) Mexican restaurant just north of the downtown area. It was really quite good to have some good Mexican food again (though in England they do not seem to have any type never mind good) and, of course, the company was very entertaining.

When we got back we made a quick last trip out to pick up a bit of electronics that I had been mumbling about before finally settling down and chatting for a while. Tomorrow is going to be a long travel day for me.

I did have to worry about a hotel for tomorrow night as I had not been able to get a room early this week in Chicago because of a convention that is being held. I was very pleased to find something just outside of the airport – I was rather concerned that I would arrive in Chicago without anywhere to go for the night (Mike was very helpful, suggesting that I perhaps sleep in the park or the airport…hummmm….).

⇒ Continue to Saturday, September 9, 2000 - Somewhere between Minneapolis (Portage, WI) and Chicago - On Board Amtrak's Empire Builder Train