Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Internship Extended! + Adventures In The Big Cit... Watch Out For That Crater In The Road! Ahhhh!!

It's been two weeks since I last spoke via the interweb, so I'll start with the most important stuff first.

I have had my internship extended here in Michigan until the end of August!

I am obviously thrilled about this turn of events! It means so many things. It means that I'll be getting four more months of experience in the field of ergonomics with the best ergo firm in North America, and arguably the world (Humantech). It means that the best firm in North America has cast a vote of confidence in my abilities as a young ergonomics professional. It means spending the summer in a city that I have grown to love, in spite of the greyness that Michigan winters can thrust upon the hardiest of folks. It means many things, and it's only beginning to sink in!

As for the smaller stuff, I ventured into the Detroit suburbs two weekends ago. I've been here long enough, and I hadn't ventured east of Ypsilanti at that point, so I figured it was time to get out and experience Greater Detroit, home to roughly 6 million people! So I headed east on I-96 towards Detroit on a sunny Sunday afternoon, planning to go as far as Livonia, a Detroit suburb recently ranked as the second best place to live in America.

I crossed into Wayne County from Washtenaw (my home county), and the roads instantly went to crap. Now, the roads in Michigan are in bad shape by default, but there were so many potholes on this freeway that it was like driving across a minefield! What was even crazier that there were people passing me on this freeway doing 90-100 miles an hour (150-160km/h) (the speed limit in Michigan is 70 miles an hour [120km/h]; I was doing about 75-80 miles per hour[125-130km/h]). Needless to say, police and highway funding by the government here is sorely lacking.

Now at this point, I had no idea where I was. The freeway had turned into an urban canyon (two concrete walls with fence on both sides), and all the exits only denoted the cross streets, but no city/suburb names. I figured that it would probably be a good idea to get off the freeway and soon, as I didn't want to stumble into a bad neighbourhood.

So I get off the highway, and find a Marathon gas station. I go into buy a map and to figure out where the heck I was. I enter the gas station, and I find out that the cash counter was barricaded from counter top to ceiling with an anti-theft plexiglass shield! I asked for a map, and directions to get to Livonia. Getting back to the car, I quickly figured out that I was in a suburb called Redford Township, and that the cross streets at which I was currently located was roughly 1/4 mile west of the city limits of Detroit proper!

Aside from being a little freaked out at first, I was also relieved that while this city has its bad spots, it's not as bad as people hype it up to be, as the neighbourhood where I had stopped was your average middle-class suburb. As long as common sense is exercised (lock your doors while you drive as well as when you leave your car, don't go into the city alone after dark, don't flash money or valuables about you), chances are you will be fine here.

Finally, I will be going to a concert at a club called the Heidelberg on Friday night, and on Saturday or Sunday I will be heading into the suburbs of D-etroit again, this time to Novi, Auburn Hills, Pontiac, etc.

Also, next week: I'll finally get my first film developed and then the pictures scanned, with the pics going up here shortly thereafter!


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