This week, I'm at the Homewood Suites by HiltonŽ Minneapolis-Mall Of America. It's basically Hilton's version of the Residence Inn. It's great. I can't really explain why I like it better. It's got the same features -- a hot breakfast (thought after a series of flight delays yesterday, I overslept and missed that), a manager's reception, a kitchen in the room. I can't convincingly argue that any of those features is particularly better. But I just had a series of minor annoyances at the other hotel -- no soda (or juice) at the manager's reception one evening, newspapers gone most mornings by the time I got downstairs -- that I am happy to be at a place where everything is going smoothly.
One thing about this place amuses me. It is (literally) across the street from the Mall of America. Yet they still run a shuttle to the Mall, every hour, on the hour. Ah, America.
Eschewing this service, I walked across the street tonight to do some quick shopping. It seemed sort of weird approching on foot this giant structure surrounded by enormous parking garages. But after a minor detour, I made myself in and found my way to my destination, The Walking Company. I had originally wanted to get brown versions of my black dress shoes. I was told, however, that those shoes had been discontinued, and I was offered an "updated" version of them. Whatever. I still spent what I planned to spend, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Minnesota doesn't levy sales tax on shoes. Good deal.
I walked out of the mall a few minutes later -- I was amazed at how quick a trip I had made to any mall, let alone this mega-mall. I crossed the street behind a group of businessmen (they didn't wait for the light -- they must not be from Minnesota), and was happy to realize I wasn't the only one who chose to walk tonight.