Saturday, July 21, 2012

Asian Eyes' USA - Minnesota Ski

 I went to school in USA back in the early nineties.  The 5 of us from Gulf Coast continued onto our our journey across Midwest America to meet Tan's friend, James in Minneapolis city. We had trouble in locating James' house as five feet of snow fell the night before and it covered the pathway, blocking house address. Tan gave a call to James and he had to clear his pathway before he can came out to greet us. Nevertheless the heavy snow fell was good news to us as our agenda for that day included a trip to the ski field. It was my first time skiing. Only Wai had some experience on skiing. James engaged a ski coach for an hour session to prep us the basic skiing techniques. We were taught the classic 'A' ski position,  falling the right way, getting up when fell down, how to stop and position our feet. It was all new to me, coming from a tropical country. I practised for some time before able to grasp the basic technique and after a couple of falls, able to ski down the novice slope without falling. After the hour mark, the coach bid adieu and we were on our own. I was able to ski the intermediate slope not long thereafter. We spent half a day in the ski field and and had a great time. 
1st time skiing - novice in practice with Wai
X marked the spot, but no treasure here, just 
a fallen skier and a little of bruised ego
 James treated us to lunch at his house that his wife prepared for us. After lunch, we took a short trip to a local Apple farm cum fruit shop called Minnesota Harvest Orchard. The farm road leading to fruit shop was lined with apple trees, however since it was winter, the trees were all void of leaves, leaving the apples on the trees, unsightly frost bitten. At the apple farm shop we were introduced with so many varieties of apples, and had a chance to do sample test. There were Washington, Granny Smith, Empire, McIntosh, Golden and Red Delicious, etc. Some apples are being cultivated for dessert, some for cooking and some for cider. I enjoyed the tour of the shop, taking in the sight and information even I do not fancy eating apples at all. 
At the entrance to the apple farm in 
dead winter
Bald tree laden with ugly frost 
bitten apples 

We ended the day with a trip to a local casino - River Road Casino, that was built on an Indian Reservation land. The government only bestowed such special casino license to minority Native American to built one in their ancestral land to help them beefed up their economy to keep the Indian's tradition get going. I was told that the formation of a casino operation was lend a hand by a Malaysian. 'Yeah, right' was what I can thought off then, until when the news of Mr. Lim Goh Tong, the Genting group's chairman who died in 2007, and among those who paid the last respect at his wake was a group of Native Americans from America in full tribal regalia. "Hmm, so that is a true story" I said to myself then when I read in Star newspaper that splashed the death and the unique visitors. As I looked through the details, the story might be true but it was not the same casino that I went to. Mr. Lim Goh Tong did helped funded a Native American casino, but it was in an Eastern American state, not in a Midwest state. Read the news in http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/10/29/nation/19309018&sec=nation. Back to the casino, I just watched my friends tried their luck at the roulette table. Low had a winning streak and scored real big, winning close to a thousand dollars while the rest lost some small amount. He treated us to a sumptuous meal in a Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis. We put up the night at James' house. Yeah, no need to wash dishes!
 The next morning after breakfast, we bade goodbye to James and his wife. We stopped by Minneapolis Zoo for half a day before we headed off to Mall of America, reputed then to be the biggest mall in America at that time. We took our lunch at the mall before continued on to our next leg of journey to Badlands in the heart land of America, planning to drive through the night.
Minneapolis' Mall of America, the 
biggest then
At Minnesota Zoo with its famous 
Moose signboard

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