During our recent trip to Indianapolis, for the first time, we met up with some local people to get their perspective on the city. I've had an open invitation for breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee on my blog since the beginning of this project, but it wasn't until Yuri made our Facebook page that we started to have conversations with real people.
We met with Asma and Rachel for lunch on Memorial Day. We originally planned to go to The Eagle, but it was closed, like most of the restaurants on Massachusetts Ave that day for the holiday. Instead, we decided to go to a new Thai restaurant called Thaitanium. Asma and Rachel are young professionals, best friends, and roommates who live in the center of the city. Asma has lived in Indianapolis for her entire life, while Rachel moved there in 2005 from New York City. It was really nice to get the perspectives of someone who has lived in the city their entire life and someone who moved there later on.
We had a great conversation over some delicious Thai food. We talked about how Indianapolis is currently undergoing a growth spurt. Like many other cities, it is trying to redefine itself as a technology center. Unlike many other "tech hubs" Indianapolis continues to remain a relatively affordable place to live. It is also centrally located right in the middle of the country and you are always a days drive from many points of interest.
I noted in the trip summary that the public transportation system in Indianapolis is virtually nonexistent. We touched on this point as well. Asma previously worked as a social worker and has had first hand experience with the struggles that many people that rely on public transport face. For tourists it might be slightly inconvenient, but for folks that depend on public transit it creates some significant barriers to daily life if your origin and destination don't happen to be on the same line. Rachel comes from a city with a world class public transport system. They told me that there was talk of improving the system in the future. From my experience a reliable and efficient public transportation system makes a huge difference for a city so I hope that these plans come to fruition.
We discussed how Indianapolis is a huge sports town with Football, Basketball, and Racing playing a significant role in the attractiveness and culture of the city. We ended our conversation seeking recommendations for places that we could not leave Indianapolis without seeing. They suggested the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Eitlejorg Museum, Canal Walk, and Holliday Park. We ended up visiting all of these places and had a great time.
It was really rewarding to be able to speak with real people. I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Asma and Rachel. I am very grateful that they took the time to meet with us and share their stories. I am looking forward to meeting with more people in our future travels.