Adventures in Dearborn

Sometimes in the Michigan winters, one can get complacent and neglect opportunities that still persist all around you. My first couple years in Michigan, I visited everywhere within a 5-hour radius of Ann Arbor, and now after 7 years, I have to fight the temptation to become one of those people who have never been to some interesting place, even though it's been 30 minutes away all this time.

So this past Sunday, while our house was being shown for the 2nd time (to different people), we decided to head to Dearborn. Dearborn is a Detroit suburb which is the heart of the Ford Motor Company. It is also the center of Middle Eastern culture in the United States. Spillover from this has provided us with many yummy foods and interesting cultural moments in Ann Arbor, but neither of us had ventured into the heart of the city.

Now that we've been there, we sort of understand why, though if a local were showing us around, I'm sure we would have found more places of interest. Our first stop was to the Islamic Center of America, which might be the largest mosque in the US. We have only visited old world mosques in various other countries, and so this was interesting. Big, but not really ornate. And it bore a number of resemblences to modern American megachurches (including coffee shop, gift shop, and fellowship halls). Maybe these similarities are the parts not intrinsic to either religion, just to America.
Our second (though primary) goal was to find a bakery where they served this Lebanese treat that we had tasted in Dubai, while hanging out in a bathroom, trying not to eat in public during Ramadan. We drove down the streets of Arabic shop names, and pulled into Alsultan bakery, where we didn't see the pastry on the shelves, but I explained it to the lady there, and she went to the back where they had some fresh ones. "Zaatar" is a flat bread cooked with lots of yummy thyme and (we think) lemon. They also serve them with cheese. We bought a couple and ate the hot one in the car on the way home, the latter preserved now in our fridge.
Not the craziest outing, but good to stretch our legs and once again feel like we're taking in the world around us.