The new part of my American journey.

Minneapolis Travel Blog

 › entry 16 of 20 › view all entries
Finally, after two days spent dozing aboard Greyhound buses, or smoking at several of the company's boring stations in such places as Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City (in Missouri), and Des Moines, I arrive, triumphally, to Minneapolis, MN on a warm, sunny, end-of-July day.

The journey wasn't actually that boring, nor particularly tiring, just extremely long - 41 hours in total. It also gave me the opportunity to meet some cool people, and many nut cases, as it's customary in the true Greyhound experience.

I leave New Orleans at 7pm on Sunday afternoon, all ready for, and excited about, the next part of my journey, as ii will be very different all that I have gone through so far in the since I am in the States; no more leisuring around the swimming pool, work every now and then, and maybe some more work...well, by the swimming pool.

No, this time is sort of a proper job, 10 to 5 or whatever it is, in an office environment (even if it's been stressed to me more than once that "We are very laid back..."), for a whole month. I will start today - in just a few hours really, as soon as I finish my espresso if you wanna know - and finish at the end of August. NEED is the name, Minneapolis is the location.

But let's not rush ahead. We were saying how I got here from the deep South. And I mentioned it was quite a journey.

While I was in the queue at the Greyhound/Amtrak station in New Orleans, this South Korean guy who studies in Canada approaches me and asks if he can sit next to me on the bus. It's been travelling on his own for about a month and feels a little lonely he says. His name is Andy. I say ok.

He is kind of geek-looking but he turns out to be an interesting chap, and we do some small talk on the first leg of my trip until Houston, Texas. I even try his Nintendo DS, quite an intriguing little gizmo I have to admit. Our paths soon separate though, as he's heading toward Austin, also in Texas.

The next section of my trip is mainly dedicated to sleep, and eat some 'incredibly zesty' Pot Noodles (just kidding, y'all know they taste like shit, but I bought them to sustain my organism while on the road), until I meet Steve on the Northbound bus from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He's going back to Minnesota after spending five days in St. Diego at a comics convention. Initial small talk helped by various cigarette breaks at random gas stations to break the ice, but then some meaningful conversation kicks in, and we end up sitting next to each other and talking about all sort of things: sport, art, his soon-to-be-born baby, his past in the Army that took him to some nice spots around the world, and my future as a journalist that, perhaps, will take me to some nice spots around the world.

When we are almost arrived to our final destination, we stop at Minneapolis International Airport, where some of the passengers get off, and somebody else get on; local Police in plain clothes - and with a dog - that start checking IDs and asking questions about where are we from, where we are going, etc, know, the usual lot of bullshit to show they are doing their job, but knot really if you think about it.

Eventually they take away a black guy that was sitting at the back, for reasons that are still obscure to me, and we can restart our journey. But we are first redirected to St. Paul's station - St Paul being the other hals of Minneapolis, an independent identity, but that almost merges with it. The two are in fact called Twin Cities. We drop somebody else down and finally we get to downtown Minneapolis just before 12 noon. Not too late than, and it takes only about 20 minutes to get to Maribel's apartment in the so-called Dinky Town, near the University of Minnesota's main campus.

Maribel is a Mexican girl of roughly my age, who is doing a 5-year-long PhD in Theoretical Physics and is also a member of Hospitality Club. That's how I found her, and thanks to her I will live in town for cheap. And pretty close to NEED's HQ, only about a mile and a half away. Sweet! I am considering walking to work in the morning, and it is definitely what I'll do today to test the route.

But I might also buy a cheap bike or find a free one on Craig's list, which would be tops for after-work hours and week-ends. Minneapolis really seems so pretty and people friendly, there are a few free museums, parks, two rivers, a whole University campus (one of the biggest in the US) to explore, music venues and's be a pity not to wander around as much as I can. It'll be like my first London experience, two months in Summer 2001, a younger Dani, different challenges, but, hopefully, the same enthusiasm and drive.

Other saucy details that could be of interest to the casual readers as well as the aficionados include:

a cool Irish artist called Herby (once again, I hope the spelling is right..I'm really bad with names and that's what it sounded like when we introduced each other during of one the umpteenth cigarette brake;

the plethora of funny events and photo ops encountered at every single Greyhound station, including, and not limited to, violent gun video games, a cowboy hat half-flushed down a toilet, and the colourful characters that populate the above-mentioned stations.

Unfortunately there is not much space nor time to fill you in on so many other events of the past few days, such as the Cajun Seafood Fiesta to which my friend John brought me along last Saturday, courtesy of members of his family that live in the Louisiana countryside. The food was good and abundant, the company interesting and fun, the beer ice-cold and the trip across the swamp pleasant.

I plan to put up a photo album together for that shortly, you all Stay Tuned for more.

I will be back soon, just give me the time to settle in.
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