Tuesday, July 3, 2007

the time has come, the walrus said...

...to talk of many things!

And while I may not have much to say about shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages, or kings, I do think I can figure out SOMETHING for this first-ever post.

Originally, I was thinking I'd wait to start posting until about a month or so before I'm set to leave for South Africa, since that trip is the main reason behind starting this blog. But I've been bouncing around Minneapolis for the past few days, and I thought, why not? Why not write, right now?

So that's what I'm doing.

I'm staying at Andy's place in Dinkytown, right next door to the U of M campus, and there's a lot to do within walking distance. Still, I find myself frequently wishing I had a bike to use -- there are lanes EVERYWHERE for cyclists and no shortage of people riding. Not that I'm complaining. Nice as a bike might be, I can be content with my own two feet. Mostly because I have to be.

Yesterday I walked to the Weisman Museum (gotta love Gehry -- the building really shines from any angle, no pun intended), followed by the Bell Museum of Natural History. As to which one I preferred, well. Intriguing art, including an exhibit exploring the role of light in the work of nine Minnesota-based artists, vs. stuffed birds and mammals in glass cases. C'mon, people -- is there really any question? Plus, the Bell Museum cost five bucks and smelled weird, and the Weisman was free, both dollar- and scent-wise (did you catch that one? Haha!).

However, I will give the Bell some credit, as a lot of the birds on display were ones I'd seen "in action" on my birdwatching trip to Ohio (this bird, for example), so it was kind of cool to seem them up close and in a very "study-able" way. Oh, and there were also live turtles -- I liked them, too. Oh, and the Amazonian fig trees, those were cool. Oo, oo, and the mock-bog you could walk on! Ok, fine, so I guess it was better than I made it out to be. Even if it smelled funky. I suppose I'd call the scent "stale taxidermy" if I had to give it a (not-so-technical) name.

Apart from museums, much of my time has been spent in coffee shops (I've been to four different ones in Dinkytown alone), browsing used books, getting lost while taking the bus (I misjudged where I could walk from my stop -- whaddaya gonna do?), eating excellent food with Andy (here, and also here), and reading. Granted, it's not exactly Africa, but it IS a bit of an adventure. And I must say, I like it.

View of the Weisman as the sun sets (thanks, Andy!)