“New Phone – Who dis?” or “That’s a Big Mall!”

Ok… I don’t do tech much. I mean, sure, I like computers… I built one as a right of passage. Sure I’ve tinkered with Raspberry pi single boards and I’ve played with Linux from time to time but I would not say I’m a technophile. I don’t really get super excited by gadgets that we would consider utility. For instance, cell phones. I’ve had quite a few over the years, like anyone else, and I’ve done a lot of research into most of the phones I’ve gotten before buying. I’ve focused on particular functions like camera / video, and customizability. When I moved from a Motorola Razor clam shell when the iPhones came out, I was with AT&T and that was really the first time I was excited about a phone. they were running a promotion and I could get a free iPhone so I put in for it. They then tried to charge me full price and went back on everything outlined in the promotion. I left AT&T for Verizon and decided to go with a Blackberry Storm. Since then I’ve migrated to Android in general and Samsung specifically.

The last picture my old phone took

A few months ago, I had some issues with maps and the compass on my phone. So much so that a couple of weeks ago I formatted it and started over. I got everything installed again and icons situated and it started having some reception issues and had a few other glitchy behaviors. I didn’t feel like it was reliable any longer and as I live on my phone while traveling, I had to replace it. Initially I was just going to order one and have it shipped home so it would be there hopefully before my next trip, but I found out that they had the s21 Ultra 256 in stock in Minnesota, where I happened to be, and that I could replace it over the weekend. I even got a pretty big discount for trading in my S8+ so I couldn’t really see a reason to wait any longer.

The Verizon store at which I procured my new phone was in the Mall of America. During a Pandemic, the last place I wanted to go was a mall, but given the lowered infection rates in Minnesota and the fact that I went early before the mall was packed, I think I dodged a bullet.  I was in and out before there were more than 6 or 7 people in the pretty ample store. Before it opened, I wandered around a bit. The internet said they opened at 10 but the sign said 11 so it gave me time to see what the fuss was about this gigantic mall.

Mall of America

At first it just looked like pretty much every mall I’ve been to. Three floors of stores and nothing to really write home about.

When I discovered the time issue, I wanted to wander. I figured standing in one place with people passing was probably not the best way to social distance so I picked a direction roughly towards the center of the mall and struck out. When I got to the brightly lit center of the mall I found a full blown mini amusement park. there were rides including a small roller coaster and a Ferris wheel.  I walked the parameter of the park area and it was pretty neat. I would estimate the ceiling full of skylights to be 50 or more feet above the ground and the roller coaster went right up to the top. The third level had restaurants that were not open that early in the AM but I could imagine having a bite between rides.

Mall of America Roller CoasterThere were lights and speakers hooked up in the superstructure of the ceiling so I could only imagine what kid of cacophonous nightmare this would be at night. Children screaming, music blaring… sounds like hell. In the light of day, however, the pleasant sunlight coming through the ceiling cast the entire park in a glow that I really liked. It was colorful without being obscene. The park was surrounded by larger store attractions like the M&M store and Leggo Land. I am glad I went, though if you wanted to go to an amusement park or a mall, I’d say pick one or the other. there’s too much gimmick involved in smashing the two together.

Mall of America Theme Park

Mall of America Theme Park 2


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