Monday, September 2, 2013

"Our Candianan Holiday - Part Six - The Little Things"

We spent ten days in Michiana.  There were “special events” that had taken place before our arrival – the annual “Ham and Corn Picnic” – and events that would occur after we left – “The 19th Annual Leprechaun Hunt” – but virtually nothing scheduled for the time period we were there.  Does that mean we had a bad time?  I had a great time!  Why? 

It’s the Little Things.
We saw eight deer.  Well actually, I saw three deer.  Dr. M alone saw the other five.  It was like,

DR. M:  “Look!  A deer!”

ME:  (TURNING TO LOOK)  “Where?”

DR M:  “It’s too late.  You missed him.”

That happened five times.

Final Tally:  I saw three deer, two of them while I was meditating, so it could have been an hallucination.  Guaranteed:  I saw one deer. 


I saw a deer!

And by the way, three wild turkeys.  Out of three. Turkeys don’t move as quickly as deer, so I did not miss any of them. 

You know how many deer and wild turkeys you see in Santa Monica.  Consider that a rhetorical question, and we’ll move on with more of “The Little Things.”
Every morning, I drove to Al’s Market in the nearby Karwick Plaza to pick up coffee and two newspapers – The Michigan City News Dispatch to check out local events, which on this particular visit there were none with the notable exception of “Taste of Michigan City”, and the New York Times, so I could keep abreast of extra-Indianan activities and Dr. M could tackle the crossword puzzle.) 

There is a counter at Al’s selling brewed Intellingentsia Coffee, which is cheaper and better-tasting than the Intelligentsias in L.A.  (It is cheaper because nobody in Indiana would pay four dollars for a cup of coffee.  It is better-tasting because of the water.) 

Whoddathunkit?  Al’s Market tops Los Angeles for Intelligentsia Coffee!  Plus, they stick little plastic stoppers in the cup mouthpieces so the hot coffee doesn’t splash out. 

Are you listening, Los Angeles?  

(A Minor Quibble.  I noticed Al’s selling small packages of “flavored” almonds – blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, coffee and mocha.  (Aren’t “coffee” and “mocha” the same thing?) 

These nuts – the generic version – are my favorites, and I am not at all keen on their flavoripheral mutation.  To this lone Voice in the Wilderness it smacks of “Almond Abuse.”  Though others might well disagree.)
The Michigan City Zoo is the perfect venue for covering the “Zoological Experience” in twenty minutes.  Full strength, they do not showcase a plethora of animals, and they were not at full strength.  The zoo’s website announced the temporary closure of “Monkey Island”, reporting that the venue is “no longer safe for exhibiting monkeys.”  They did not mention whether they meant “safe” for the monkeys or “safe” for the visitors. 

What we did get to see were two fabulous white tigers.  From three feet away, with only a sheet of plate glass between us.  Advantage of a Tiny Zoo:  You can get closer to white tigers than you can anywhere else.  (With the exception of showrooms in Vegas, and that really didn’t work out well.)
Every day, I took a walk.  On one such ambulation, I decided to proceed exclusively on roads named after Indian tribes.  You can do that around there, there are that many of them.  A thirty-minute walk, treading only upon Native American-labeled thoroughfares:  

Up “Chippewa.”

A right on “Comanche.”

Past “Chocktaw.”

Down “Pokagon.”

Heading back on “Chickagami.”

There was another road, “Talawi”, but I had the feeling that was a fake Indian street name that they threw in because “Who’s going to notice?” I bypassed “Talawi”, in the name of Indian-street-name walking scrupulosity.  (Though I am open to correction by any “Talawi” reader that’s out there.)
Here’s how I entertain myself (though possibly nobody else.)

We walk into a diner for breakfast.  The hostess says, “Sit anywhere you want.”  I gesture towards a couple eating at a table for four and I say, “We’ll sit with those people.  (In a mumbled voice, quiet enough to avoid spousal admonishment but clear enough to amuse eavesdropping strangers.)

Self-amusement Number Two:  A continuing conundrum at Casey’s Bar & Grill.

I have noted this before.  Although the “House Cut New York Strip” – 11 ounces – costs twenty-two dollars, and “Casey‘s Cut” – sixteen ounces – is twenty-five dollars, you cannot get the five-ounce discrepancy between the two for three dollars.  

Did I inquire about that? 

I was unfortunately not permitted to.  
We enjoyed many fine meals on our vacation – Casey’s, the Pierre Anne Creperie, Café (check out the “play on words”) Michigan Thyme­ – plus two visits for the best ice cream on the planet at Oink’s (though the “Moose Tracks” at Canada’s Kawartha Ice Cream emporium in Huntsville gives Oink’s a very competitive run for its money.) 

Perhaps our most enjoyable dining experience was at Café Gulistan, a Kurdish restaurant in nearby Harbert Michigan, where we risked possible “Patriot Act” surveillance, as the restaurant’s proprietor/chef Ibrahim Parlak, is suspected (unjustly his supporters proclaim) of terrorism.  Tough perhaps placing us in harm’s way, I can confidently report that our personal endangerment was well worth it for the superlative spinach and mushroom soup. 
“Little Moments” (including relaxing quietly in the cabin with my incomparable companion, and listening to vintage radios shows on the computer) make for a memorable if not event-filled Michiana vacation.  Tomorrow, I shall wrap things up with a survey of “Police Call” reports culled from the Michigan City News Dispatch.  Though some (subjectively excluded) criminal activities do veer towards the serious, none of them rivals the pilfered piano from the Toronto hospital. 

Of course, Toronto is a larger municipality.


YEKIMI said...

Talawi is a city in Indonesia. They were thinking of changing their name to Amnesia but someone forgot to put it on the ballot.

Mr. Kawfee said...

Yes, mocha is a type of coffee bean. It's become synonymous w/the flavor chocolate since a brilliant individual (I've seen attribution to the Italians) put choc. flavoring in coffee and called it mocha - hence, café mocha, which somehow warrants a $3 plus price tag.

Mr. Kawfee II said...

I realize the following has nothing to do w/today's post, so apologies for straying. I watched several episodes of Lateline this weekend. Particularly enjoyed the one titled Buddy Hackett. I've always liked Buddy and he was a good sport to go along with your story line. Liked the cast (except for one but I won't name him - or her!). Ajay Naidu I remember from his stint as a suspected terrorist working in the White House in a 2001 episode of West Wing. He was very good in that roll but it was nice to see him do something funny. I'd forgotten what a lovable dufus Franken could be, but I enjoyed him, for the most part. Anyway, many more discs ahead but so far, so good. I'm enjoying it.