This is my second visit to Detroit. 

On both occasions, I have had a wonderful visit and met some delightful people.  Everyone is so nice and welcoming here and, apparently, Australian accents are sexy. I’m good with that.

I honestly don’t know why TV shows and movies are so committed to portraying Detroit as such a bad place. Like any city, it has its poorer areas, and you can see a number of abandoned buildings and places that have slid gradually into dereliction. That’s not really a fair reflection of what Detroit is, though.

Detroit is a lively city. Downtown has some great restaurants and bars, a beautiful river walk by the Grand River, and streets lined by trees and gardens alongside the city buildings and construction sites. It’s a city which has obviously had its struggles, but it has fought its way back and is doing a fabulous job of reinventing itself as a 21st century city. 

Please don’t believe everything Hollywood or the television industry tells you, about Detroit or anywhere else. There are good people and bad people anywhere you go. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how nice this city and its people are. 

Houston #1

Houston is very business oriented.
When we went “downtown” we expected a lot more foot traffic, shopping and restaurants. We looked around but couldn’t find anything of the sort.
As we discovered, that’s because all the eateries and most of the shops are to be found in interconnected tunnels under the business precinct of the city. I had never seen that before.

Houston is quite a clean city.
Rail and bus networks keep the car traffic at quite a low volume. We invested in a Metro Q day pass which cost $3 and gave us access to any public transport around the city that we needed. There’s also a ‘GreenLink’ tourist bus that does a loop around the city for free. It’s a good way to get around and see what’s in town.
There are lots of trees and gardens that help the city to be less of a concrete jungle, even though it still has lots of high-rise and modern buildings.

We found everyone to be very friendly and helpful. Some of the locals in Starbucks were keen to chat and offer help and advice for getting around the city.
I had a great conversation with a guy named Keith, originally from San Francisco but now driving a taxi in Houston for eight months of the year. He was interested in Australia as well as in hearing our observations of the various parts of the US and Canada that we had visited. It’s people like him that really make a place more welcoming and memorable.