MAGIC MOMENTS IN MINNESOTA(Sorry for the bad alliteration!)( March 6, 2001)We didn’t make it to Jamaica in the Spring Break as it was too short of a notice to book quickly andcheaply, but this may yet happen! Anyway, Minnesota is a great place to spend our current vacation(sorry Australia, but yes I am on vacation even although Jessie and Raymond being in a differentschool district are not until the end of the month).Minnesota is a great place to live, and we have settled in comfortably. I thought that I might try in mylimited way to give everybody some insight in what it is like to live here from day to day.The biggest and best impression is that of the people here! We have made so many special, helpfulfriends in the neighbourhood and at the different schools. The ordinary folks who we meet from dayto day are generally just so friendly and welcoming. They are like Australians, if not friendlier!Americans may know little about Australia, but I think many seem to be in love with the idea of Australia and Australians, and are genuinely interested in us. They are very welcoming and one isgetting a little tired sometimes of repeating the same explanation of how we have come to be here!Living in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul is special.The Twin Cities claim to be 2.3 million people total, but this seems to be counting all the suburbs.The cities are a far cozier size than this.Minneapolis is a clean and well-organised city with a wonderful system of skyways or glassed inwalkways that join the entire central business district above the streets and out of the winter weather.There are nice walks along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis around Saint Anthony’s Falls wherethe city was founded. To drive around the suburbs of Minneapolis is so easy. The freeway system iswonderful, and so easy to navigate running generally north south or east west by numbers and blocks.The various suburbs are small, fairly self contained with interesting individual attributes such as greattheatres in Hopkins, restaurants in other areas and so on. Many of the areas are wonderful, such asHyland Park in Bloomington, with its gigantic mansions overlooking the most beautiful lakes.Saint Paul is the capital city of Minnesota and in some ways even more impressive than Minneapolis.Saint Paul is beautiful. You can walk it in an hour or so and it makes Canberra look like a largemetropolis! It is so accessible with its skyway system too, but also its well-laid out streets at groundlevel. It is a city of theatres, restaurants and wonderful public spaces. The Science Museum andMinnesota History Museum are both impressive. We joined the former with a reasonable familymembership, which enables us to see the most amazing exhibits. Films are also shown such as onecurrently all about wolves. Wonderful.Most impressive in St Paul, however are the two buildings that dominate the higher parts of the city:the Cathedral and the Capitol. We parked the car near the Cathedral, were we two weekends agoattended a Brass and Choir Concert performed by the University of Minnesota, who is celebratingtheir 150
anniversary and walked to the History Museum. Just our luck, the exhibits are closed onMondays and the people who gathered in the building, where Social workers preparing their march tothe Capitol to protest against the funding cuts.- Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?So we went ahead of them to visit the Capitol. Inside the building we met a few more small groups,one called, “moms, who walk for millions” and another wearing yellow buttons saying, “we care for education”, all delivering letters and hanging around Governor Jesse Ventura’s office in the hope tomeet him. Unfortunately he wasn’t in.