Two weeks ago I flew down to St. Louis for work. I was honored to be asked down, and I had a lovely time.
My flight down to St. Louis was delayed by a few hours, so I had extra time at O’Hare to eat a snack and do some people-watching. I saw a woman wearing a cropped jacket decorated with the face of a sexy female vampire, complete with red lips and fangs dripping blood. Families wearing pajama pants and slippers. A group of young men, one of them in fatigues, crack jokes and complain about their exes. I made eye contact with a handsome man in a suit right before I spilled a packet of Crystal Lite drink mix all over my wrinkled black pants.
There are just so many sad things about that last sentence that I will just move right along.
I used to be something of a nervous flier, but now I’m over it. Still, though, I was grateful that the 45 minute flight to St. Louis was smooth and uneventful. There was wi-fi on my flight, but it wasn’t free (it was only $4.95!) so I decided to deny myself the pleasure of tweeting from space (or as close to it as I will ever get) and instead watched part of an episode of “The Office” on my iPhones.
This trip was one of the hottest times I have ever had. Literally — the heat and the humidity made it feel like it was over 100º everyday. I had packed some of my lightest clothes but it didn’t seem to matter. I just got used to the feeling of a light layer of sweat whenever I went outside. I’m sure I looked terrible when I landed in St. Louis, and then again when I arrived at the office where my co-worker Neal greeted me and took me to the desk that I’d be using.
Neal didn’t join me as I was taken to lunch (really wonderful burger and OMFG tater tots at The Tin Can) but he was my tour guide that afternoon after lunch. We visited every corner of the building to meet people, ride the freight elevator, make coffee in the IT pit, and eat candy. Also we talked about work stuff and food. And then we talked about food again and twitter and foursquare and more food.
I ended up getting room service that first night. Toasted ravioli consumed in an air conditioned hotel room in your underwear is, I feel, a luxury. Especially after I’d spent 90 minutes walking around looking for CVS or someplace where I could buy a coke that didn’t cost $4 a bottle and maybe a magazine. Okay, I wanted a copy of In Style, I admit it. I didn’t find a CVS that was open, though I did find Citygarden, and that was really great.
The next day, Neal took me to the Blues City Deli for lunch, and I ate this wonderful sandwich:
I know other stuff happened that day, but really Tuesday, July 19, was all about this amazing sandwich. Oh, and that Arch everybody keeps talking about.
Though the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys show was in town (and just across the street from my hotel) on my last night in town, I decided to go see the Gateway Arch. I understand that I may one day regret not flinging my bra onstage alongside thousands of ladies screaming for JoeyJonathanDonnieDannyJordan or NickBrianAJHowie, but I decided I needed to see something historical and also I buy fancy bras and there is no way I would be sacrificing an expensive bit of lace to the altar of the Scottrade Center.
I got on a trolley, or rather a bus painted to look like a trolley. I wished Nite was with me so we could sing “The Trolley Song” to the very nice bus driver. The trolley dropped me off around the corner from the Arch which was bigger and more awesome that I had previously imagined. Seriously, you guys, IT IS HUGE. And kinda surreal to gaze upon. People were jogging under it, or pushing strollers past it in the park, and I wanted to yell “You guys look at this freaky arch!” but I did not. Instead I found the entrance to the underground museum/gift shop/ticket counter. I paid $10 and lined up to tuck myself into a tram that was about the size and shape of a large white egg.
It only took about four minutes to ascend, but the shuddering and creaking of the trams as they made their ascent made it feel like forever. The trams stopped, and the doors kind of sighed as they opened, and I climbed some stairs to the observatory. Which smelled like stuffy attic at grandma’s house. The window to peek outside were tiny, but the view was still something to behold:
After I checked into foursquare, and spent some time peeping at the rest of the city, my grumbling stomach told me it was time to find some food. I got some cheese curds from the snack shop, but that just tided me over until I found sushi at Mizu. My sushi came wrapped in foil in the shape of a duck, a duck that was engulfed in a blue flame that cooked some of the components of my dinner. Dinner was delicious, but it did make me feel conspicuous. If you ever want to attract attention to yourself, be a fat Asian girl dining alone at a sushi restaurant on a weeknight and order food that comes on fire.
My last day in St. Louis, I did more work, drank some cokes, and had yet another delicious burger, this time at Triumph. I did not order the Monster 696 Burger, which at $10,000 does not seem like a bargain until you realize it comes with a free Ducati motorcycle.
When I returned to the airport for my flight back to Chicago, I noticed how much of Lambert was boarded up. Was it really only a few months ago that a tornado nearly ripped the place apart?
On the flight back, I splurged on gogo inflight internet so I could check in on Foursquare and receive the Mile High badge I’ve been coveting for a while now. Look, it’s the little things that make me happy. Them and that awesome sandwich from the Blues City Deli, which seriously, I cannot recommend enough. I must return very very soon.