Day 2

So day 2 was mainly looking around near where we were staying (Detroit Regency Hotel on East Jefferson ). In the moring after breakfeast Chrissy needed here daily intake of nicotine at the front of the hotel, where there was a guy sat out there smoking a cigar. We started chatting to him, his name was Will. He was here visiting his children who clearly live with their mother, following the breakdown of their marriage.

Will is an ex veteran who has served all over the world for his country. We ended up talking to him for about an hour and he gave us tips on places to explore, which was really helpful in planning out the day.

We have seen many ex veterans during our driving around the city, standing on street corners usually holding a piece of cardboard with writing on stating they served in the forces betwwen (1974-85) and that they are homeless for example.... It is a sad state of affairs to think of these guys being reduced to begging from the cars as they stop at the traffic lights. It really saddened us to witness this and whenever possible we would hand them some money from the car.

So our first adventure was an old warehouse about quater of a mile from the hotel which was completely derelict. We hung around outside taking pictures waiting to find a way in and to see if the area was clear of police. In the USA it is illegal to enter a building if it has a sign outside saying tresspassers will be procecuted. So we waited for about ten minutes, then whilst I found a way into the building chrissy watched out for police, which seem to have a high presence in the area. I entered the building and as soon as I was in, there was a guy stood in front of me, I turned around and ran out the building. No sooner I was out the guy which we presumed was a homless man, came out with a push bike and then cycled off.

We waited another 5 - 10 minutes and then entered the building. Once inside we checked to see if other people were inside before setting up to shoot in there.

No-one else was inside and we had a good look around. It looked like some kind of storage place for furniture. There was a lot of chairs of all shapes and sizes, settees and other various furniture but the thing that caught our eye more than anything was the buntin which hung from the beams of this old mill/factory all the way the full length of this rusty old place.. The buntin had pictues of people on them and certainly cheered the place up. We began to shoot and wander around the place, and after we had been in there about 20 mins Del came looking for me saying that the police were outside -parked right outside where we had got in. There were two police cars one at the entrance and one further down the street.

We panicked a little, as we didn't want to get arrested, as this would considerable mess up our timetable for shooting around the hood.

We hid in the toilet for a few minutes to see if they were coming in to find us.. no-one came, so we slowly worked our way to the way out.. there was NO police ( maybe they were called to a job???? ) and we made a swift escape.. Houdini had nothing on us..

After leaving the guy we continued to shoot buidings in the area. We found streets where the foreground was abandoned mill/factories and the background was filled with the shinny pillars of the GM (General Motors) buildings.. Such a contrast of old with new which compliment each other nicely. Although I'm sure in a few years the whole area will be filled with brand new apartments, as it is very apparent that building developers are already in the process of these constructions, which will bring people back into the area, and hopefully help regenerate their economy.

We hit the road after a quick trip back to the hotel for a toilet stop and pick a few bits up. We headed off to Hamtrack after Chrissy had researched where the best places were for derelict houses. You are just overwhelmed by the number of vacant premises. It's almost like every other house. We just wanted to keep stopping the car to shoot them all. Some properties looked empty, but actually had people living in them. Apparently if they have a certain type of graffiti on the outside, this will indicate what the house is used for. These are generally for Drug suppliers, Drug taking mixed with prostitution, where gangs store their money is not uncommon. Apparently going into these houses will uncertainly guarantee you being killed, if you happen to walk-in whilst their in the building.

Later on in the day we decided to take the Ambassador international bridge, which is a suspension bridge which connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario Canada. Apparently this is the busiest international crossing in North America. More than 25% of trade pass between United States and Canada through the toll bridge. On arriving at the toll we realised we didn't have the correct money and started searching for any loose change or American dollars, finally through the toll we still had the boarder checks to pass. These were large number of booths with boarder personnel in them. We had no idea which one to go to, so we just looked for one that was empty and drove to it. When we arrived the woman looked at us and Chrissy said " we are at the wrong one aren't we" the woman officer politely said yes, but said she would deal with us. I think she was amused that we where only coming into Canada to take some pictures then leaving straight afterward, she advised that it would be worth staying sometime and then let us go on (The Canadians are so nice).

The reason we had come into Canada is so we could look back over the river at Detroit and photograph the tall buildings. It was getting dark quickly and we needed to get on with it before returning back to the other side. Before we left a Canadian man (Don Martel) who was riding on his bike stopped and started talking to us. He introduced himself and informed us that he was also a photographer and that he regularly came down to take images. We must have spoken with him for about an hour and by this time it had got really dark. We exchanged each others business cards and then made our way back to the car park.

On the way back we decided to go through the tunnel route instead of the bridge, this would show us different aspects of our travels. As with the crossing over the bridge we where confident that it would be pretty straight forward HOW WRONG WE WERE. On arrival to the toll ,which went pretty smoothly (mainly because Canadian's are really nice people) with the cost a dollar less to get back. I thought this was slightly funny, did this mean no one wanted to go back to the USA.

We drove up to the boarder security which had a number of cars in front of us. We waited a while, then realised the Police/Boarder security were dragging a man out of his car, clearly this wasn't going to be a quick drive to the other side. We waited about 20 minutes until it was our turn, we drove up to the box and handed over our passports to the boarder patrol officer. Then it all began! the interrogation which felt like we were criminals and by such an obnoxious person. I wont go into all the boring stuff around this, but it felt humiliating.

We finally got through and started heading back to the hotel, bewildered on what had just happened to us. Back at the hotel we couldn't be bothered going back out and called it a day at about 11.30pm. Lets hope the next day would be better as it was my birthday ;-)