Duluth and more
may be famous for food and its archaic beauty, but if one stays long enough,
Lahore is also special for being idle. There is a certain sluggishness about
Lahore, slumped down like some booze dream or when it’s melting hot like
some stuttering film of the early days of cinema. But
what do faces say? That’s a hard question to answer really, whether the
city is Lahore or Bangkok. What one does know is that faces in Lahore
somehow, like the city itself, seem to emerge slowly, as if from some misty
corner of a forgotten memory.
It was a cold snowy night of November last year when we noticed a big deer right in front of our car on a road near the Islamic Center of Twin Ports (ICTP), Duluth, Minnesota in the US. It disappeared within a blink of an eye.
Noticing my excitement, my Indian friend Niaz Syed, who was driving the car, said that this was a common sight because of deer migration and mating season. “And yes, the hunting season too,” I added.
But the conversation soon turned serious when he told me about deer-vehicle collisions. “One needs to be extra careful these days as encountering a deer on the road can result in an accident,” Niaz said. By the time we reached ICTP we saw another deer standing next to the building. My arrival in Duluth coincided with the 2011 Minnesota deer-hunting season, which kicked off on Nov 5.
The trip to this port city, bordering Superior city of Wisconsin state, was part of the US-Pak Professional Partnership Programme for Journalists.
It was a bright sunny day of November 3, 2011, when I landed at a small airport of Duluth. Robin Washington, Editor of the Duluth News directly took me to the historic Enger Tower which was dedicated by Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway but, unfortunately it was closed. Then we headed towards High Bridge that connects Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, had a glimpse of Duluth ore docks and finally reached the Radisson Hotel.
One cannot miss Lake Superior while talking about Duluth. The lake, by surface area, is the world’s largest freshwater lake. I visited Lake Superior Marine Museum and US Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, which are located at the foot of the Aerial Lift Bridge.
The maritime heritage of Lake Superior and the Port of Duluth-Superior has been preserved at the museum and is certainly worth-seeing. The Aerial Lift Bridge, constructed in 1904-1905, is itself one of the popular tourist destinations in Duluth.
Duluth’s skywalk, a climate controlled indoor system, is a covered alley connecting much of the downtown, which saves people from extreme cold weather during the snow season and is another major attraction of the city. No matter how cold it is outside and how much snow has piled up, one can explore the downtown through this skywalk system.
Celebrating Eid in Duluth was a great experience too. Niaz Syed took me to the Islamic Center where I met several Pakistanis including Dr Naeem Chaudhry, a renowned Pediatric Medicine doctor and some students including Umair Ibrahim and Asad Jawed, both studying at University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). Potluck dinner was the highlight of the event and meeting several people from different Muslim countries including Malaysia, Morocco, Iraq, Palestine and UAE enriched the occasion.
The Christmas City of the North Parade, a tradition that signals the holiday season. In fact, I had a chance to go out with a fellow reporter from the DNT to cover the parade.
A huge crowd had gathered especially on the both side of the Superior Street to witness the parade which featured bands, dance groups, colourfully decorated trucks and much more. It was also good to see that the enthusiastic spectators were being served with free hot chocolate, a drink that helped them to stay warm in cold.
Bentleyville Tour of Lights, one of the largest Christmas light shows, is another not-to-miss experience while being in Duluth in November each year. Bayfront Festival Park located on the shores of Lake Superior is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of lights during the Bentleyville Tour of Lights (Nov 19 to Dec 26, 2011).
Thanksgiving Day was yet another great experience. I had two different invitations for that day one from Georgia Swing, Managing Editor at Duluth News Tribune and another from Dr M. Reza-ul Karim, popularly known as Prof Raj Karim, who originally belongs to Pakistan and is now living a peaceful retired life after serving as Professor and Specialist Microbiologist at UMD for many years.
Besides delicious food, it gave me an opportunity to closely observe American lifestyle. It was great to learn how family members preferred to celebrate the holiday together by covering huge distances and uniting at one place on that particular day. It was therefore I had reason to believe, as was told that, cars used to fill highways across the US on this occasion.
Another aspect of Americans, which attracted my mind and soul, was hoisting of national flag outside their homes. One weekend accompanying Naomi Sundog Yaeger-Bischoff, Editor ‘Duluth Budgeteer News’, to attend a dinner at her residence and later on many other occasions I noticed that several people had hoisted national flags outside their homes.
I thought it might be because of advent of some significant national day but later came to know that traditionally many people in U.S. used to hang national flag outside homes clearly showing the kind of love and passion Americans have for their country.
writer is Staff Reporter at The News International, Lahore email@example.com