Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Midwestern Musings: Notes on Iowa City 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
  1. Drove back from a business trip to Iowa City last night. I'd treated myself to a pre-birthday present from a delightful shop called Iowa Book - a signed first printing copy of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, one of a limited edition of 5000 - all of which Neil apparently did sign himself.
  2. Over the two days we spent in Iowa City, we randomly crossed paths around town (on the UI campus, downtown, in a mall) no less than six - yes, six - times with an unusually-garbed young (early 20's) couple who seemed to have stepped off the set of The Matrix or Hellraiser. During college break, the town's population is roughly 35-40,000, larger than Plattsburgh, New York or Burlington, Vermont, which are similar town-and-gown communities. Oddly, neither we nor the Young Man and Woman in Black seemed particularly surprised by these chance encounters. Is it just me, or would that qualify a genuinely statistically improbable occurrence?
  3. Taking into account places like Iowa City, IA; Galena and Lemont, IL, the Midwest is really not as flat as it's reputed to be.
  4. If you find yourself in Iowa City, take a moment to check out Masala, a vegetarian Indian restaurant located at 9 South Dubuque Street. Finding a good Indian dining spot in a small town is always a nice surprise: the premises are colorful, fragrant and inviting, and both food and service are excellent and reasonably priced. Plus, their spicy, cardamom-laced chai will melt winter's still in a jiffy.
  5. If you're going to IKEA in the Shopping Hell that is Schaumburg, Illinois, go late on a Monday night. It's refreshingly empty of the usual swelling throngs of shoppers, and you can play silly games with their 7-foot long green toy snakes without catching frightened glances from fellow shoppers.