Friday, December 21, 2007

Welcome to America

After seven hours of sailing over the Atlantic Ocean, chasing the red sunset, light finally won the race and we hit the snow covered mountains of the Canadian northeast in darkness. I had flown from Budapest to Amsterdam, sprinted through Schipol to catch my next flight on a three-legged seventeen hour journey, and arrived in Detroit wishing it were my final destination so I could get some sleep. Every time a plane lands, there is that sense of relief that, oh, you can finally stand up, walk around, and feel like you are a human being, even if you have a three hour layover and have to get on another plane to reach your final destination. I stood up amidst the shuffling and ruffling of bags and coats and the stiff joints of flight and slowly made my way to the door of the airplane. I felt like running through the gate just to get my blood flowing, running past all of the weary travelers pulling their luggage behind them, their wheels sounding like they were zipping up their trip. Out the gate, I headed toward the stairway that would bring us to the creepy customs area, where we would not be welcomed into the United States but interrogated as if we were all criminals. But that was beyond the stairway. What greeted me, what made me break into a huge smile was not the arrival into the United States but a picture on the wall, the picture which greeted all who entered the US through the Port of Detroit, the very first thing they saw of America.

It was a huge picture of Comerica Park.

No, there were no other pictures. No pictures of the Detroit skyline, no pictures of famous American monuments or national parks. Just one of the most beautiful sights one can lay eyes on: a dazzling green baseball field.

Welcome to America, y'all.

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