Thursday, July 06, 2006
You know, the words "popular Somali hangout in St. Cloud" would never have dawned on me to be a description of Caribou. Whenever I'm there I find high school (and junior high) co-eds giggling and ordering long-named cold drinks. Yet every evening if I drive by, there are those tables.
Come to think of it, if you'd told me 20 years ago that there would be a "popular Somali hangout in St. Cloud" I'd have laughed at you. When I moved here I thought I was a diverse element of this town. But if you look at the 2000 Census of the city versus where we are now -- with 109 Somali families reunited in St. Cloud in one month last year -- you have to conclude that this place is very different from where I moved.
I noticed this again today as I pulled into Panera that I almost never go to places that have American food. A Lao-Thai restaurant for curry; the Somali cafe (now on the east side, having left a place downtown that they sold off to a Pakistani family, though I can't tell who owns the place now); a pho shop (really! Pho!) and at least two places where you find a decent burrito (for someone who lived years in Los Angeles.) In yet another way, St. Cloud is ceasing to be a stopping point between the Cities and Fargo, and more becoming either part of the Cities or a unique place. Right now, I can't tell which.