When I first moved to Michigan, I embarrassingly thought that Detroit was the state capital. I think most people from other parts of the world would think the same thing — and not without reason. Detroit, the biggest city in Michigan, is widely known for its nicknames: The D, Motor City, Motown. Our radios have played a lot of songs written about Detroit by famous musicians like Eminem, Kid Rock and Kiss. There’s also the Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers that even a sports novice like me has gotten wind of from the media. So it is easy for us foreigners to mistake Detroit as the capital instead of Lansing. Yes, the actual capital is Lansing.
Because of an appointment with immigration (don’t worry, I’m not being deported), Kyle and I had a chance to go around Downtown Detroit for two hours. On the way there, I squealed at my first sight of a tall building, which may actually be no more than forty floors. Coming from Williamston with buildings built horizontally, a city girl like me couldn’t help but get excited by a medium-sized tower.
We were blessed with a chilly but still beautiful weather with the sun out, so walking around and taking pictures like first-time tourists were pleasant activities. To sum it all up, I LOVE the city. Its landmarks and structures contain a mixture of the past and the present, the old and the new, the good and the bad. I’ve always been the type of traveler who sees things based on the story they tell, and Detroit with all its fragility and tumultuous condition, is teeming with art, music, theater, sports and nightlife.
In spite of Downtown Detroit being a sports and entertainment hub, there are still hard facts that cannot be ignored about this city. Just driving outside the city and into the suburbs will show how the distressed economy is still far from bouncing back from the way it was. Real estate is so miserable that you can buy a house for $2000. It sounds like a steal but you can’t actually live there due to the crime-infested neighborhoods. While we were on the highway, we saw miles and miles of dilapidated houses that once belonged to the middle class.
Detroit will charm you with all its iconic blasts-from-the-past landmarks, but at the same time, bombard you with eye sores and confusion as to what happened to it. It’s a shame to see what Detroit used to be and what it could have been today. Nonetheless, it is still a living legend and if you know where to look, you might find more than what it can offer.