I'm overwhelmed by kindness of this city! And I was warned before my travels that this is a poor and rough town, that I should look out, not carry my purse certain way, not go anywhere alone, and just mind my business. But here I am experiencing all the goods that life can bring to me right now.
On the airport shuttle this morning I met a beautiful black lady from Maryland. She was on her way to a National Church Convention to figure out how they could get the insurance and health care for those who don't have it yet. We talked the whole trip to the downtown Detroit. She hugged me so motherly as we departed. And I knew her only for 20 minutes.
After shuttle driver dropped everybody else off (about 8 passengers), he said he overheard my conversation with the lady and wanted to save me last, he said it's important for me to see the city. So he gave me a tour in downtown, and also through not so good neighbourhood. I saw worn down, broken buildings, and damaged roads. From the driver I learned that in Detroit they have the best fine art collection in the USA, one of the bests in the world. Detroit used to be a rich city when the motor industry were blooming. Ever since the riot 1967 it has been downhill.
I picked my little hotel from internet trusting the reviews, and they were right on. My room wasn't ready when I showed up before lunch. So I had to wait and I was hungry. Receptionist kindly asked me what kind of food I eat. I said 'Vegetarian, vegan'. She ordered me a driver who took me to this vegan restaurant called 'Seva', and driver also picked me up after I had done eating. The food, I must say, was the best vegan food I ever had. Transfer cost me only a tip. It was on house.
After lunch I was ready to work, and I had a prescheduled meeting with an author who actually was the reason for my trip to Detroit. James A. Mitchell is a journalist and an author of a wonderful book 'The Walrus and the Elephants - John Lennon's Years of Revolution'. I saw the book last December in Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, and I intuitively knew that I had to read that book. Immediately after reading the book I contacted James saying that I'd like to have him in my next documentary film. In the book he was talking about the subject that I was working on. We started an email conversation last winter, and today we continued our talk one on one for three hours. What an incredible afternoon! I'm so grateful for trusting my intuition when it comes to my work.
I took a little walk after our conversation and ended up in a small shopping center. I was happily welcomed to a store called the Peacock Room - Apparel and Accessories. These two girls working in the store were so nice. For half an hour they were hosting me in their store. I bought a necklace and earrings, mostly because I really wanted to support them and because they were nice!
After dinner I got back to my hotel. I stopped to admire the history of the buildings, when this young man in his twenties, who works here, approached me and asked if I wanted to see all the other buildings. So, he gave me a tour around the estate and again, we ended up talking about my film. He asked if I knew Grace Lee Boggs, no I didn't, and he said to wait a minute. Soon he came back with a book called The Next American Revolution - Sustainable activism for the twentieth-century written by Grace Lee Boggs. He handed me the book.
I had a wonderful day in Detroit, Michigan, USA. This goes to show that people here are really friendly and nice. The city is poor but it doesn't mean that the city is bad or unsafe. These people are beautiful and real. I don't see anyone on their cellphones, texting or checking out Facebook. All I see is people connecting with one another, having conversations, interacting, teaching and learning from each other. I love this town. I love Detroit, MI.