rtr21sbp.jpgA reception in Minneapolis Tuesday night for Indian Americans who support Republican presidential candidate John McCain went well: the food was tasty, the drinks flowed, and everyone touted McCain’s informal support of the U.S.-India civil nuclear accord.

But then people tried to get to the Republican National Convention.

“We thought it was in Minneapolis, so we decided to stay at the Hilton here. Now it’s very hard to go back and forth,” said Sambhu Banik, an attendee at the last five Republican conventions.

Like many others, Banik mistook the billing of this year’s convention, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, to mean Minneapolis. In fact, almost all official proceedings are taking place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, 10 miles and at least a $20 cab ride away.

The Twin Cities made a combined bid for the RNC because neither Minneapolis nor St. Paul could hold such large crowds on their own, making this the first political convention hosted simultaneously by two cities. They have a long-running sibling rivalry, and the compromise “Minneapolis-St. Paul” billing has left some St. Paul residents feeling “punked but good,” in the words of RubĂ©n Rosario, a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Back at the Indo-American dinner, a few of the attendees chose not to make the trek back to St. Paul for the evening convention speeches. Banik said he catches whatever rides he can.