Welcome to my Kill to Get Crimson 2008 tour blog!

My name is Isaac, 30 years old from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I have set this blog up for the purpose of documenting the journey I am taking following Mark Knopfler’s Kill to Get Crimson tour in North America, in the summer of 2008.

The North American leg of the tour, as well as my journey, begins June 24th in Morrison, Colorado and ends on July 31st in Miami Beach, Florida.

Even though I intend to write on a daily basis, publishing the stories onto the server would be tricky. After all, we’re talking about vast distances which will be primarily crossed by driving, and there is no way for me to predict the availability of Internet connection throughout the way.

So… make yourself at home and feel free to drop a comment.

Yours,

Isaac

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Woke up this morning at 6:00am as I was expecting a very long driving day to Minneapolis. Everything was ready to go so by 6:30am I was in my car, programming the GPS to my hotel in Minneapolis.

I was extremely tired and hungry, two feelings that one doesn’t want to have while driving highways devoid of any scenery whatsoever.

I have to admit I was a little sad I left Winnipeg—there’s much more here to explore, and in Manitoba in general. I will come back.

After about half an hour, or hour (who counts) I got to a tiny little town close to the USA border, called Morris. Reminded me of those tiny towns in Ontario that you drive by, fill up some gas, maybe have lunch and move on. I like those tiny towns. Make you feel peaceful. That’s why I chose to live in Waterloo and not in, say, Toronto: Waterloo isn’t really tiny, but it’s very spacious, friendly and green. I like the peace and quiet.

If only I could afford living in a peaceful, spacious & quiet environment in the Vancouver area… Ah. What a difference a few million dollars could make.

Anyway, continued on my way to the USA and arrived at the border. I did take the time before the trip to issue the Nexus card. Using it, I was able to cross immigration / customs in Toronto’s airport without even being questioned. However, the Nexus card didn’t seem to impress the North Dakota border crossing staff. The agent asked me what is it exactly that I’m doing in the border crossing in North Dakota with a British Columbia‐plated rental car.

I had to tell him the truth. I told him that I’m following Mark Knopfler’s tour in North America.

Needless to say, he wasn’t very impressed. I guess this is not the type of things border crossing agents hear every day. After some consultation with another agent, they decided to have me pull over for a vehicle inspection, of course after he took all of my concert tickets and inspected them very closely.

So I spent about 45 minutes altogether in the border crossing. You know, it’s very easy to say lots of bad things about the USA border crossing officers. True, some of them, sometimes, have bad days and they’re more strict than others. Well, everybody has bad days some times. Those people at the border, after all, are trying to do their jobs.

They are paid by the USA government to keep the country clear of people with bad intentions. That’s the job of every border crossing officer in any country; the reason for the USA guys being very strict (as a matter of fact, the Australians are much more strict—at least so I’ve heard from many sources) is that there are a lot of people out there seeking to do really bad things. When we talk bad about border crossing officers, we do it because we only see ourselves attempting to cross the border. We don’t see the drug dealer, the terrorist, the murderer, the thief—all of them also trying to cross the border, most of them look exactly like us.

Border crossing is never a pleasant process, but my experience shows that full collaboration and honesty is the best way to go. If you’re honest and have no bad intentions, and have no reason to hide anything—just collaborate and you’ll be amazed how friendly some of those officers can be. Lots of people feel attacked or having their “personal space” invaded by border crossing officers, and it ticks them off—hence problems occur. Just be patient, accept the fact that those people are just trying to do their jobs, be collaborative and you should be fine.

So I was driving into North Dakota, which is very similar to Manitoba when it comes to view (at least up until now). Craving my daily espresso, I asked my GPS really nicely for some coffee spot. The nearest one was in a city called Grand Forks which appears to be the first big city you encounter once you cross the border via the Pembina Crossing.

What struck me as soon as I entered this city is that it is very, very clean. It is so clean and tidy that it seems you could eat your meal right off the road. Very green, too, and very spacious. The coffee place I ended up in is called “The Coffee Co.” on 2100 South Columbia Road. What a lovely coffee shop. I took something I never heard of before—Cafe Breve—which turned out to be just like a latte, only made with half‐and‐half instead of milk. Very tasty. I liked.

Here is a picture of myself and Abby, the Barista:

IMG_1796

People appear very polite and quiet in here.

Very interesting place. I should come back.

Feeling awake now… Caffeine is doing its job. Off I go.

Isaac

3 comments:

you know who said...

You are dead wrong about the US border officers. In the vast majority of cases they are complete jerks. There is no justification for their rude arrogant behavior. They treat people like shit, act as if they are god, and thinks everyone wants to leave in the sorry excuse for a country they have, where they let people die for not being able to afford health insurance. You would think that having no bad intentions and nothing to hide will really be enough?!
If you are Canadian they will give you extra shitty treatment just for the fun of it.
There is no justification for their horrible offensive behavior. Part of doing a good job, is respecting the people you come across, and being a complete ass is not part of doing the job right.

karaokequeen said...

How lucky are you to be able to follow MK all over North America!Is he even aware of this blog? Does he know that you have followed him thousands of miles and have seen over twenty of his shows? I can't tell you how much I look forward to your posts. I have had the pleasure of seeing 3 times in the last few years, and his music just gets better and better.Nothing beats the live versions of his music as he pours his soul into every song. He is truly an awesome song writer singer and I am never disappointed in anything that he does. Thank you for sharing your trip with all of us who care so much for MK. Get as many pictures of him that you can and share often! I am living vicariously through you! Safe traveling and dream that it never ends.

Isaac said...

Hi Karaoke Queen,

I don't know if Mark is aware, or is reading, my blog - and I have no way of knowing either, unfortunately.

I do know though that Guy and Richard do - my blog is mentioned in theirs.

And I don't know if he knows that I've seen all shows in North America so far.

I agree with you that Mark's music is getting better over time. I have to admit that, even though "Brothers in Arms" is my absolute favorite of all times, I still find Mark's solo music better than Dire Straits'.

However allow me to clue you in on something: the reason why the live versions are so much better than the originals is not only that he puts his soul into it. There's another side to it - the fabulous musicians he surrounds himself with. I'm seeing it live almost every day - I'm watching each one of them (except for Matt who is hidden behind a huge piano) and it's their work - no less than Mark's work - that makes this show so amazing.

Keep watching the blog for updates - I'm doing the best I can...


Isaac