Monday, June 25, 2007
I've discovered something in my thus far four-day stay in Des Moines. While I admit my study won't qualify as scientific, I think I have enough random samplings to satisfy most statistical analyses. After my experience on my first day in Des Moines unable to discover if I was in a tornado warning county or not, I thought I might try to see if the citizens of Des Moines knew the answer to another common question. I have asked waitresses, people on the street, cab drivers, police officers, players, and hotel desk clerks and no one in Des Moines knows the population of Des Moines. No one can even hazard a guess.
This is even more ironic given the fact that yesterday while watching the College World Series (Oregon State was playing and my husband is an Oregon native) there was an ad from the city of Omaha about 2 hours or so away from Des Moines. The ad touts the advantages of living and working in Omaha. I am sure they are advertising in the Des Moines market because they believe that no one in Des Moines will miss a few thousand citizens migrating to Omaha, since they have no idea what the population was to begin with. In the ad, Omaha brags, ""We are a city of 890,000 residents"" and 890,000 is posted in bold lettering across the entire screen. Therefore any observant Des Moineser (Des Moinesee – I have no idea) would be able to tell me the population of Omaha without hesitation.
Since I have not conducted my experiment in any other city, I need to be fair to those in Des Moines. It may be that if I traveled to Nebraska and asked the citizens of Omaha what their population was, they would stare at me and mutter, ""I don't really know."" And then I could pounce and shout…well the people in Des Moines know!!
Despite not knowing their population and the counties in their immediate area, the people of Des Moines are pretty sharp and definitely nice. The restaurants in downtown Des Moines are fantastic, very continental and upscale. I had the best tortellini soup ever at Centro on Locust and an amazing salmon sandwich at Raccoon River Brewing Co. There's a Japanese restaurant I want to try tonight called Taki Japanese Steakhouse that looks incredibly tasty. Every person I have bothered about the population was so polite and friendly. Even the people at Jordan Creek Mall seemed to be right out of Pleasantville.
Therefore, I am not trying to malign Des Moines at all. In fact I highly recommend it. There is a zoo, a very cool Japanese Pagoda on the river that I want to visit before I leave, lots of great little cafes and bars, parks galore, and some stunning architecture including a building that seems to be covered entirely in copper. Although isolated, the city seems to have been able to attract some cosmopolitan businesses. So there is a level of sophistication here that one might not expect in a ""corn belt"" city. I do definitely sing the praises of Des Moines.
Oh, yeah…the Magic won today, so we are on to the semi-finals against Everest. It was a must win situation and the team came through again. I am proud and relieved. I don't even want to dwell on it too much because we did come close to not advancing. So I would rather be happy for the win, go to a nice restaurant, and see if I can find out the population of Des Moines before I leave.