We pulled into Detroit around sunset and found our way to a run down block on 1 of the “mile” roads where our Couchsurfer was located. He said there was a party at the end of the block and to meet him there. A couple hours after being at this very eclectic party we were told by our Couchsurfing host that we would be staying with his next door neighbors because he had a guest already. Our new hosts were 2 drug dealers named “Work” and “JB”, very unique individuals, plentiful face tattoos. No electricity or running water in the house, or for that matter probably the entire block since soon after the introduction realized we were deep into a squat block. The house was filthy so Delphine and Romain were hesitant to stay, but it was now midnight or later and getting in the car to escape the neighborhood seemed like it could be just as much of a risk as staying so we perhaps stupidly decided to stick it out.
We survived the night on a few hours of sleep, I was kept up most of it by “Work”, “JB” and an Eminem wannabe with a red lightning bolt tattooed on his face. They spent the night attempting to pass me blunts while I laid down on the couch, speaking of their favorite rapping past times, how the Detroit rap scene was on the up and up. The highlight was red tattoo speaking about his dream of becoming the “Ghetto Steve Irwin” and “I wanna shoot crocodiles in the face and shit, I’m serious B I’m tryina do this.”, a more or less accurate excerpt from a well thought out conversation.
Upon exiting the house in the morning we were blessed to hear the pleasant news of a not double or triple, but quadruple murder 1 block over. Probably not an uncommon start to a Detroit day. We said our farewells and fist bumps then were on our way to greener pastures to follow up a few new Couchsurfing leads.
We found a new Couchsurfing couple in a much more upscale part of town with a couple bikes for Romain and Delphine to borrow, so like that we were off exploring the wide open and empty 6 lane city streets of Detroit. Even with the rocky arrival to the city I must admit that based on style points it is 1 of my favorite cities I’ve visited. I have a weakness for urban decay as well as graffiti and Detroit has plenty of both of those to go around.
As luck would have it a friend of mine was now living in Detroit who got in touch with me so we stayed with him and had a really awesome time for the rest of the trip. Sailing the Detroit river, going to Jazz Fest and a Polish food festival to name a few of the highlights.
And just like that the Detroit Dream wound down to an end… Romain and Delphine flew back to France and a week later I hopped a literally $1 Megabus to Pittsburgh, then a very brief stop in Richmond before the next adventures.