Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pierre, South Dakota

SOUTH DAKOTA'S CAPITOL BUILDING.

We spent part of the day puttering in Pierre.  Jerry and I had coffee at Pier 347, the local café.  We were told yesterday when we ordered iced café Americanos and then tried to describe how we liked them (Jerry knows a good café Americano — made by adding hot water to espresso — when he tastes one) that what we were describing was what they called a café latte (which, as I understand it, is supposed to be espresso made with steamed milk,  and nothing like an Americano).

MEMORIAL BRONZE NEXT TO THE CAPITOL.

Well, OK.  So, we ordered two half-caff (half decaffeinated) café lattes.  What we received were two decent coffees that were neither café lattes nor café Americanos.  And they were a bit weak.  So, today we ordered two double-shot café lattes and we received two better coffees (a bit similar to our café Amerianos).  And, yes, Jerry and I have been living on the West Coast way too long and get carried away with our coffee orders.  The month in Spain in January was very relaxing — dos cafés con leche, por favor!  We'll learn.

AGGRESSIVE AMERICAN EAGLE AT THE WAR MEMORIAL.

Along with his coffee, Jerry has been getting Pier 347's bagel bites (deep-fried lumps of bagel dough).  But, until I explained it to him last night, he thought he had gotten doughnut holes and couldn't figure out why these doughnut holes were so peculiar (not that the idea of a doughnut "hole" isn't peculiar in the first place).

CAPITOL BUILDING LOBBY.  VERY IMPRESSIVE FOR A STATE OF ONLY 814,000 PEOPLE.

After coffee, I dropped Jerry off at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center, which houses the state archives.  Jerry spent the next two hours looking up dead relatives.  I wandered (drove and walked) around town taking pictures.  All the streets along the river are now blocked off with sandbags and barricades.  The parks and related buildings along the river are completely under water.  Downtown buildings are pumping water out of their basements and hoping the river doesn't overflow the berms and sandbags.

THIS DIDN'T START OUT AS A WATER PARK.

The capitol building is high above the river, so I was able to roam the parks and the halls.  I tried to get pictures of the senate chambers, but the doors were locked and no one was home.  Anyway, most of the members probably wouldn't appreciate a visit from a former West Coast, ultra-liberal lefty who's getting ready to leave the country.

PIONEER WOMAN AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE CULTURAL HERITAGE CENTER.

The Cultural Heritage Center is a beautiful, contemporary building built into the hillside, and it's surrounded by natural prairie grass (which has just started growing for the season) instead of neatly mowed lawns.  I'm not enamored with the bronze sculpture out front, but I do like the fact that it's dedicated to the "pioneer women of South Dakota."

SANDBAGS AND HAY BALES DOWNTOWN.  WHATEVER IT TAKES.

12 comments:

  1. Floods, fires, tornados, Washington gridlock, murder trial circuses, Weiner's wiener, and so much more...Spain will give you a whole new perspective.

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  2. Frank: And rewriting the history of Paul Revere's ride... and now the Statue of Liberty! What's next? It sure will be interesting to see what Spanish politics has to offer... and to see what Spaniards think of all this.

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  3. Spanish and European politics are just the same as back home, the only thing lacking [thank God] is Sarah Palin, unless she makes an extra stop on her way to Sudan. Maybe she can see Russia there as well, or at least the weaponry. ;)

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  4. Tippin: Politics are, unfortunately, politics everywhere. But it will be niece to live with someone else's politics for a while. I wonder if Sarah Palin can see Spain from her backyard. And aren't we glad Paul Revere rang the bells all those years ago to warn the British. Yes, I am very happy to get some more distance from Sarah Palin.

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  5. I'm sad to see the flooding but enjoyed your tour of a city I don't know. The capital building is fab. Come on Mitch... us Europeans (of which you'll soon be able to include yourselves) want Sarah to run just for the entertainment value!

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  6. Hello Mitch:
    The floods in South Dakota look to be very worrying indeed. These abnormal weather conditions are really taking their toll right across the world.

    It is always amazing how much variation there can be in making a cup of coffee. It sounds to us as if you are connoisseurs and we do hope that the Spanish coffee will pass muster.

    The political situation right across Europe is fragile at present with right-wing groups increasing in strength in many countries. Perhaps one always swaps one set of problems for another, but at least in a foreign land one has less understanding of what exactly is going on.

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  7. The best part of waking up is a cafe con leche!

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  8. Craig: I, too, would enjoy Sarah's entertaining run. But, I think the only reason she'd do so would be to keep herself in the news so she can continue to command the millions she makes for personal appearances. And that makes me a little crazy. But, you know, I think I can see her from my house...

    J&L: I have been thinking lately about the "ignorance is bliss" (for me) concept of foreign politics. I look forward to a little of that. Spain, amazingly, is more socially (legally) progressive than the USA, which is refreshing.
    I already love Spanish cafe con leche, so I'll be very happy. No connoisseur here (that would be too much like cooking).

    Bob: Agreed. Can't wait.

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  9. Beautiful photos. Especially the one of the horses necking. Kinky State! m.

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  10. Mark: I'm told the horses are fighting, but...

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  11. "Jerry and I have been living on the West Coast way too long and get carried away with our coffee orders."

    You can say that again. While reading this all I could think of was that scene in the movie "LA Story." You know the one. You live it.

    I had a hard time (not really) during my 17 years in California. I like coffee. Black. Nobody makes good black coffee because they have to make it way too strong to stand up to all the crap they add to it. Like chocolate. And cinnamon (really? Cinnamon in coffee?).

    So I was a coffee at home kind of guy. And Seattle's Best made a decent one. And there was this little caré run by Mexicans in the lobby of my office building and they did a good black coffee.

    Oh, now I'm rambling. I guess I don't need another cup! ;)

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  12. Walt the Fourth: I used to like to place our order at Starbucks. Two skinny mochas, one grande, one venti, half-caf, no whip, no foam, extra hot. (Or something like that... it's been a while.)

    My cousin added cinnamon to an urn of coffee at a family party she hosted in the '70s. It was especially unusual back then. I thought it was good. When we were leaving, my father muttered to me in front of her house, "What the hell did she put in the coffee?!?" "Cinnamon, Dad." "Cinammon? Who the hell puts cinnamon in coffee?!?"

    I'm rambling and I haven't even had coffee this morning!

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