Day 6: Bloomington, Minnesota
One word: IKEA. Forget that our main destination in Minnesota was the Mall of America, the IKEA right across the street drove everything else out of my mind, and I insisted on going there first. It was with a heavy heart that, three hours later, I abandoned the showrooms (and meatballs) of my favorite blue-and-yellow home décor powerhouse for the four floors and 520 shops of the Mall of America.
Having lived in the Capital District for nearly a decade, I’ve gotten pretty used to having large malls within a 15-minute drive. I still can’t imagine having to drive one or two hours to get to Crossgates, which I’ve come to think of as a standard-size mall.
We were therefore relatively unimpressed with the Mall of America. For all its tourist hype, the only significant difference between the MOA and Crossgates was the seven-acre amusement park in the center of the mall (not to mention the much easier navigation in the MOA!).
I’ve never seen a Microsoft store before. It happened to be right across from the Apple store.
Yes, there are 520 stores, but many of them repeat themselves (there were 3 Lids stores, and 2 American Eagles). The only stores I visited that Crossgates didn’t have were Urban Outfitters and Franklin Covey, and the latter was closed today—RIP Stephen Covey, who wrote 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
My mother was laboring under the delusion that Minneapolis would have a Chinatown, so we entered “Chinatown” into the GPS and drove according to its directions. It ultimately led us to a rundown little Chinese takeout place with “Chinatown” above its door in peeling red letters. We abandoned our search in favor of a Vietnamese restaurant named Quang, and drove through downtown Minneapolis after dinner.
The highlight of the evening took place at a stoplight in Minneapolis. As we were waiting for the pedestrians to cross, a very tall African-American gentleman walked by. Upon noticing him, my mother, ever the learned anthropologist, mused aloud, “Look at how tall that man is. Everyone here in Minnesota is so tall… it must be their Viking ancestors.”