Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Observations about Sioux Falls.... 

Since my in-laws are out shopping, Dan's at work, and I don't have anything particular to do right now, I guess I'll list some of the things I've learned about Sioux Falls thus far:

You know how I mentioned yesterday that the Big Sioux River flows through town in a "U" shape so that in order to go from one end of the city to the other, you have to cross it twice? One cool thing about that is that there are parks on the banks of the river all over town, more parks than I've ever seen for a city this size. So no matter what part of town you live in, you're reasonably near a park.

Sioux Falls is not a random name. It actually does have a waterfall in one of its parks which is lit up at night. I want to go out there and take pix of it sometime.

Would you believe there are VW Beetle police cars here?? I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't seen them! I find this hysterically funny and don't think I'd be able to keep a straight face if one pulled me over.

Sioux Falls has more places to eat per capita than any city in the US. Perhaps it's a good thing then that I'm on dietary restrictions, heh heh. The local newspaper also pointed out last week that there is an unusually high rate of obesity here, which shouldn't be too surprising.

So far, I've been to The Outback, Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse and Qdoba one time each. There is a Chevy's Mexican restaurant here that is supposed to have a gluten free menu, and I can eat at Chili's if I am willing to trust their ability to modify my order. But I'm going to try not to eat out too often since we're supposed to be on a budget.

I am getting used to the accent of South Dakooooota. It sounds vaguely Scandinavian in my opinion. I must sound pretty strange to people here with my Western twang and my habit of addressing everyone as "dude", but it's probably only a matter of time before I conform.

"Downtown" consists mainly of shops, the courthouse, a convention-type center and old churches. I don't think I've seen any buildings taller than 10 stories. I'm used to being able to spot downtown in a city from far away, but it's difficult here without any skyscrapers to use as reference.

For the most part, people here drive aggravatingly slow. But to be fair, the speed limit on almost all the streets is only 30mph, where I'm accustomed to 40 or 45 on side streets. It's not unusual, though, for someone to slow down in front of you without warning and maybe even come to a complete stop for no reason you can fathom.

There is no rush hour here. There is one consistently busy street in town and a fair amount of fender benders to back things up, but otherwise, you're good to go most of the time. I can't really say yet what the interstate driving is like as I've stayed off of them while I get the main streets figured out.

One thing that's really aggravating is that there are absolutely no signs posted warning you of construction ahead. Basically, they just shut down a lane or even an entire street on a whim, and you don't find out until you come right up on the cones blocking your way. Not cool.

Most residents I've talked to seem to be of the opinion that any temperature above 20 degrees constitutes "nice" weather. I'm barely able to handle anything under 40 or so. I wonder what the heck I'm gonna do when it gets REALLY cold here.

I have come to the conclusion that I am really a wimp. The few occasions I've had to be out when it was below zero wind chill, I was bundled up in a sweatshirt and thick jeans with gloves, heavy coat, winter boots and a hat. The women around me at the store, though, were wearing thin knit pants, high heeled shoes, and little coats maybe not even zipped up with no gloves.

That's all I can think of for now.

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