Cross-border shopping. I’m not like many people from Windsor. I don’t tend to shop much in Detroit. However, my hubby, Guy and my daughters like to order on-line and have their items shipped to a warehouse in Detroit. It’s rather convenient; just a hop and a skip from the US/Canada tunnel. Saves big time on shipping to Canada. So, when Guy and I went to pick up parcels in September, we figured we’d be in the States 15″ tops.
When we’d driven half-way through the tunnel, we could see traffic in the opposite direction was backed up more than half the length of the tunnel. Not a good sign. We didn’t let that discourage us. It’s not like we could change our minds and turn back. No, we were committed. The only way out was to the States. We figured we’d take the Ambassador bridge route home.
Exiting the tunnel, we narrowly missed getting hit by a SUV jockeying for a better lane for the customs area. Things were not looking good. But, the sun was shining and we were going to enjoy the day anyways. I pointed out some beautiful architecture in downtown Detroit I hadn’t noticed before. We talked about shooting photography there sometime.
The line steadily moved forward and we cleared customs. Only to come to a complete halt. Traffic was not moving. There had to be a sports event going on or just ending. Traffic was insane. When the light turned green, a car in the opposite direction turned left in front of us. He didn’t have an advance green either. Well, this kinda thing happens in Windsor too, it’s true! The rules are just a bit different…we get to turn right on the red.
We were thankful we didn’t have the misfortune to be behind the beer trolley in the next lane. Because traffic behind them was going to be much slower than in our lane. You see, the trolley is pedalled by beer-consuming bicyclists. Party time in the D!
We noticed pedestrians looking lost and a friendly policeman giving directions to them. We saw fans wearing Detroit Tigers T-shirts and ball caps. Also, fans sporting Detroit Lions T-shirts and caps. Everyone was smiling. Fans danced on rooftops. People partied at the back of tailgates with picnic baskets and coolers.
Car drivers were patient. There was no honking. Definitely a party atmosphere in the air.
We finally made it to My Detroit Address warehouse. We parked in the back of the building near an alley. We have the same alleys back home, I’m sure.
But, it was a bit of a contrast to a downtown Windsor alley I cut through the week before where I had snapped three photos.
A pretty bench on the Detroit sidewalk caught my eye.
Fans walked by us, singing. I asked if their team had won.
“Nope, the Minnesota Twins won 10-4 but it was close at times. A really great game. The Tigers’ s last game on home turf.” Apparently, the Tigers had now lost 7 games in a row.
The Tigers manager, Brad Ausmus, was quoted, “I’m disappointed in the way the season went. When you start the season, every team is hoping for big things, and it didn’t work out that way.” He doesn’t plan on returning next year. Hmmm…
You would not have known from the baseball fans’ happy faces that their team had lost. They just love the sport. I decided you must be a die-hard sports fan to put up with the traffic to and from the event.
When we got to the front of our destination, I saw a well-known business across the street had closed. Henry the Hatter. Another pedestrian told us the new building owner evicted Henry the Hatter after he’s been in that location for over 65 years! Henry the Hatter was established way back in 1893. That’s a lot of hats!
We went inside to retrieve our parcels. I felt kinda bad for the fellow behind the counter. The room was stifling hot. But, the man was remarkably pleasant. The person behind me in line talked to us about the ballgame, too.
We later learned the Detroit Lions were playing the Atlanta Falcons in a stadium nearby. Oh, to have seen those football fans leave the stadium! What happened was Detroit scored a winning touch-down with 8 seconds left in the game…only to have it overturned for being inches short of the goal line. The Lions had been unbeaten before this game.
When we left the warehouse, we realized very quickly there was no way travelling back to Canada via the bridge would save time. Traffic was incredibly slow moving on all roads. But, everyone was courteous and polite. No more near-accidents. A policeman now stood bravely in the middle of the road to direct traffic. That sped things up.
On the Canadian side of the tunnel, we were asked the purpose of our visit and how long we were away. We told the customs officer we expected to be away 15″ but it ended up being an hour and a half.
The man laughed, “Always check the sports schedule before you cross the border!”
I told him, “Point taken!”
And, he let us through with over $200 worth of declared goods. Yes, it was a great day!