Shopping, Museums And The Most Infuriating Cinema Experience Ever

Between all the pictures I’ve uploaded and the moaning about not being a child any more, I’ve not really talked much about my busy week in the cities. And it has been busy. How busy? So busy I’ve barely been able to play Test Drive 5, that’s how. I’ve only managed a couple of hours every night. Ridiculously busy.  I don’t know how I’ve coped with it all. I feel like one of those high-flying city types. Getting up before ten, going to bed around midnight…shocking. I hear you gasping as you read this; ‘how does he do it? How can he cope?’ Well I do it because I have to. You could say a lot of things about me (but please, keep it pleasant) but one thing you couldn’t say is that I’m not dedicated. Because I am. This schedule proves it.

So what has made my time so precious? Well spending money is probably the primary faction. We’ve gone slightly crazy on that front.

When I came down to the cities I had one shopping objective. And that was to get some new shoes. My last pair was bought about four years ago so you could say a new purchase was long overdue.  It was needed. Desperately. Don’t get me wrong, I love my old trainers but the last time they were their original white color a plane was landing in the Hudson. It’s been a while.

And I promise that’s the only thing I really set out to get. Yeah I might pick up a few t-shirts but that was it. Hey, you don’t need anything else when you’ve got a t-shirt that says AMERICA on it. What else could I need?

Yeah…it didn’t quite work out like that. In my defense the shoes were discounted from $70 to $20 so I had some extra funds available that I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t even intend on getting them; I only pointed that they looked exactly like my old shoes but you know…nicer. Then it turns out the only size left happened to be perfect for me…and well, there we have it. New shoes!

So white you need sunglasses to look at them (no, I don’t mean my legs)

Feeling rather pleased with myself, I decided to have a wander around the rest of the shop (I should mention we were in Rosedale Mall, or more specifically Herberger’s at this point). And I saw some nice Silver jeans. Also on sale. May as well buy them too, right?

Then Vanna went to American Eagle. Her favorite store. So I had a look at some of the clothes there. Got myself some new t-shirts because they were on a good deal. Most of my t-shirts don’t fit me any more because the washing machine shrunk them all (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it) so 5 new t-shirts was a necessity. It’s amazing what you need when you give it some thought. Especially when you’re staring right at some attractive looking clothing.

Then we went to Kohls to see what they had there. And I started thinking. What about work shirts? I’ll need them for the inevitable return to actually doing something and what I’ve got now doesn’t fit (damn washing machine). So I may as well get some smart shirts too. Five of those added to my basket.

After that we went to Walmart. And I got thinking again. My shoes are great (see picture above) but what if I want to go swimming (bear with me here). I don’t want to get those shoes covered in iron ore do I? I need something I can slip off easily…like sandals. Yeah. While I’m at it I may as well get some more socks too. Sorted.

Well, not quite. I’ve always fancied having some thick plaid shirts. Something comfortable but I can wear for smartish occasions. Take off another $40 for three of those (thank God pound sterling is worth more than dollars).

As you can see, things escalated a little. It happened for Vanna too. We did get carried away. But I do have a better quality, better fitting and more impressive wardrobe than I’ve ever had before. And I’m going to get an Anchorman t-shirt for free on Thursday. That makes everything infinitely better.

So adorned in a new wardrobe, it was time to hit the towns! Yeah! Show off our merchandise! How should we do it? I know. Let’s go to the museum!

Wait, what?

In all seriousness we had a good time. I learned a lot about Minnesota, like how cruel and mean they were to the Native Americans during the Dakota war (a six-week war that happened just as the Civil War was breaking out). Oh yeah. Turns out “Minnesota Nice” wasn’t always that way. We’re talking flat-out murder, torture, forced starvation…the usual nasty things. I was appalled. So appalled I even wrote ‘appalled’ on a post it and put it on the ‘thought wall’. That’s how appalled I was. Shame on them.

We also went into the Greatest Generation exhibit (all about those born in the early 1900s), the Minnesota weather show (too late for our sympathies…I hope you like all that snow haha) and the open house, which followed the lives of several families who have occupied in this one house in St Paul. It was quite interesting learning about their stories; from the German family who built it to the Italian families to the multicultural groups that were here only a few years ago. It was something different from the usual and I enjoyed it.

Oh and we also saw an art exhibit which shared the room with the Dakota war story. It was all about how the boom created a new enthusiasm for art and there was plenty of great art on display. Some of them were even about Minnesota. It was slightly hampered, however, by the history lesson I’d just got about Minnesota. It’s hard to enjoy art to the fullest when you’re busy shaking your head at your American girlfriend in disgust. After all the British were noble and honorable fighters that respected everybody, so it’s a real shame when you see the Americans commit such atrocities.

Probably due to embarrassment and self-disgust, Vanna and her family decided it was time to leave. I suppose the fact they were closing in ten minutes may have had some impact on that decision, though I still feel it was the shame lingering in their subconscious that forced them to go home. They needed to go into their rooms, have some quiet contemplation and hope that the Gods don’t judge the actions of their descendants (well not exactly theirs…Vanna’s family are from Austria and Sweden but the point still stands) against them. I doubt they’ll find redemption though. Too late for that.

So, as well as finding out what a horrendous group of people Minnesotans are (were, same thing), what else did we get up to?

Well we went to the cinema.

On Tuesdays you can get in for a dollar because Tuesdays are when the theater shows the films that have already finished their cinema tour. All in all it’s a good deal and you can’t go far wrong when you’re paying such a little amount. Even the popcorn and drinks are relatively inexpensive, especially when you compare it to the prices back home. While a trip to the movies in the UK feels like it’s costing your whole wages for the month, here you can feed and water a hungry group of four for less than twenty bucks. Not too shabby at all.

Our film choice was Cabin In The Woods. I knew before I came here that it had good reviews and the ending was a lot cleverer than the typical horror movie. It certainly didn’t disappoint in that aspect. Unfortunately the good idea was somewhat lost in the cheesiness that dominated most of the film. I enjoyed it but we weren’t overly impressed by the execution. But hey, only a dollar.

The experience wasn’t helped by the imbeciles we were sharing a theater with. You had one tosspot sitting in a squeaky chair, who, instead of moving into a different seat (plenty available) like a normal, decent human being, decided to keep rocking back and forth, resulting in an obnoxious squeak that continued on throughout the entire damn film. I was hoping that somebody would say something; after all I am in America, but annoyingly everybody kept quiet. Except for the couple talking in front of me that is.

Then there was girl who was on her phone for long periods of time. She wasn’t talking but I could see the light illuminate the wall next to her throughout the film. Between her and the tosser (British insult for you) on the noisy chair I was getting very irritated. People are just lucky I have that British reserve that stops me from shouting out abuse. I was sorely considering that option. Either that or walking over to them and punching them in the back of the head.

Ah well. It’s still been a good time down in the cities. New clothes, new experiences and plenty of other goodies to take back home too. We’re hoping to go for a walk tomorrow so I should have some more pictures for you all as well.

I’m so glad St Paul doesn’t have  the mosquitoes or the heavy rain that has inflicted its wrath on Crosby for weeks. It makes things considerably more enjoyable when you aren’t getting bitten to death or rained upon. Yeah there is humidity but it’s much more endurable than the weather up north.

So I’ve got to be grateful for that. I don’t know what I’d do if St Paul was suddenly involved in heavy thunderstorms.

…I’d probably go mad…

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