St. Louis

Saint Louis Travel Blog

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On August 28, 2006, Trinity and I chewed Bazooka gum. The fortune on my comic said I would take a plane ride to a strange place. The fortune was half true, we went to St Louis the next day. It wasn't really that strange. Still, I want to believe that my future can be predicted by bubble gum wrappers. At the time, we had been trying to go to STL for about seven weeks. It started out as an idea, and when we couldn't get there because of heavy flights, it became something I had to do, just to show the universe. Well... Take THAT universe.

We started off our day by buying tickets for the train. It's one of those transit systems where there is no place to put a ticket or token, nor any type of turnstile or door to get past, you just buy a ticket and get on, and no one takes it.

This is called the honor system, it works by fining people when the transit people randomly ask you for your ticket, and it seems to be becoming more and more popular lately. My plane ticket was free but I spent $3.50 on a phantom train ticket. St Louis wins round one. It was funny because as we were waiting for the train, Trinity yells "Mommy look out!" and there was this giant cicada about to crawl on to my shoe. We made a little movie of it, which was cool because it crawled right up to my lens. I'd upload it...but I'm not convinced anyone really cares about a cicada crawling along the sidewalk. The train ride was strange, it took at least 45 minutes to get from the airport to the Arch, and it only seemed like it connected to buses and parking lots.

We got to Laclede's Landing, which is the Arch stop. We were hungry and we saw a big sign down the street which said "mall, shops, restaurants" in all capital letters. We walked and went inside and it turned out to be an abandoned mall. So we went across the street to the St Louis Visitor's Center and asked the lady inside to tell us where food was. She was very nice but she kept talking to me as though I was familiar with the area, even though I told her I was not. For example, Trinity grabbed a flyer for a museum, and I asked the lady how to get there from the airport, and she told me how to drive there, naming streets and other things I ignored. We walked right back towards the Arch and ate at the Bread Company. We left there and then found a Jimmy John's just two doors down! Ugh.
I spent $13 at Panera which could have been $8.94 if we ordered our regulars at JJ's. (Jimmy John's is the GREATEST thing about the Midwest. Well, besides me.)

The Arch is a giant metal arch. It's a lot bigger than I realized. I guess I knew it was big, but we stared at it for a while trying to figure out if it was bigger than the Washington Monument. We went back and forth on it, and we did not make a final decision. We found out later it is the Arch at 630 feet, compared to the Washington Monument which is 555. We bought our tickets and got in line to take the tram up to the top. I just about died when the door opened to reveal the tram we would be riding in. I had pictured an elevator. It was more like a pod. It was about Trinity's height, but even she had to duck down to get inside.
The door had a window, and you could see the cables and steps and the nothingness you could fall into when the tram, which you can hear shaking and hitting metal, breaks off the cable. Seven hundred hours later (they said four minutes), it stops. For a few seconds, I imagine the door getting stuck and no one noticing, and we spend eternity trapped in a three foot tall metal martian elevator. It opened, though. I've lived to tell the tale. The top was really cool and the best sight was Busch Stadium (which I also saw from the train and am glad I know how to get there in case by some miracle I could ever go to a Brewers game there, although I would settle for any game at all).

Next, we went to the Museum of Westward Expansion, which was underground.
Oh, one wacko thing about the Arch! They had metal detectors at the entrance. I would expect that, and that is not the strange part. The strange thing was that when I walked through, I set off the alarm. I walked back through, thinking I could remove my shoes or whatever. Instead, the guy tells me to walk back and just tells me to lift up my pant legs while I walk through and then lets me go. I didn't have anything in my socks. They didn't care so much about the gun on my waist or the bomb I had strapped to my chest. (Kidding.) Anyway, what was I saying? The museum. It was an okay free museum, except that it had talking mannequins. They moved their arms all crazy like and even their eyes moved. It was amazingly creepy and pretty much the most awesome thing ever.
Two thumbs way up for the Museum of Westward Expansion mannequins! There were four of them alltogether and they taught us all about gold and hardships and racism in the west. Actually, I have no idea what they were talking about. We weren't listening to them because we were too busy pretending to move like them and wondering aloud what their lips felt like.

We bought a couple of souvenirs in the gift shop and then we walked across the street to the Mississippi River. All these years knowing how to spell Mississippi, I finally got to type it! Twice now! I've been waiting like 27 years for this. I've never seen the Mississippi (3!) before, so that was kind of exciting. We spit in it and we also stepped in it. We are practically Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

We walked around through the park and then we got back on the train. We got to the airport pretty early, but I like to explore new airports. The lady that worked there was very nice, however she was the slowest person I know. I swear to god there was a turtle working at the Southwest counter, and the turtle checked in like 8 people in the time it took her just to check in me and Trinity. He even tagged their bags! Plus I was already checked in. I did it myself in MKE that morning. All she had to do was take my paper ticket and clear me a seat. This is like 3 keystrokes. Not that she has to be fast, all she has to do is check in 19 passengers max every day. I love working for an airline but I think I would die of boredom if it was in an outstation.

When we got back to Milwaukee, we had missed the bus by only a few minutes, and at that hour it means another one wouldn't come for almost an hour. We started walking, which isn't a problem. It's about a 20-30 minute walk which I do quite a bit, and Trinity is not averse to walking that far or that long. It was only a problem because as soon as we got home, I discovered that I had forgotten my keys! I had to call my mom to bring over my spare. And if I my mom had to bring over my spare key anyway, she could have picked us up at the airport, so I felt like I completely wasted 40 minutes of my life. But I got to give my dad the St. Louis newspaper I bought him that day at least. (He likes to read papers from other cities, just to see their take on things, so I buy him one everywhere I go.)

Jeroenadmiraal says:
That's a big arch!
Posted on: Sep 12, 2013
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