Friday, September 22, 2006

Planes, Trains and Only One Automobile

I wanted to give the rundown of the St. Louis trip in a separate post from the concert review, since I link the reviews on the sidebar and they've sometimes even been linked by others. So here we go:
  • I was really happy to be able to fly Southwest Airlines nonstop to Missouri; this wouldn't have been able to happen two years ago. We got a pretty cheap deal on the flight, and it was much quicker to get in and out of Love Field than it would have been at DFW; as a result, I missed no teaching on Thursday, even though I landed at 8:45 and started teaching at ten.

  • It was very cool to go up in the Arch again. I had been once as a kid (when we lived there) and once about twelve years ago as an adult, and the view is always amazing. I have a couple of pictures that I took with my phone, and they'll be added to this post once I solve the issue of getting them from there to here.

    UPDATE: PIctures added. Here is a pretty standard view of downtown St. Louis, looking westward...

    ...and here's a unique view of the shadow of the Arch on the Mississippi River facing the Illinois side.

    Something that was different about the Arch since my last visit was the security at the entrance, which rivals that at the airport (except that you can keep your shoes on). This makes total sense to me, and it didn't cause much of a delay at all.

  • If you're dining in downtown St. Louis, I highly recommend the Old Spaghetti Factory in Laclede's Landing. It's fairly similar to the Spaghetti Warehouse here (right down to the train car in the dining room), but I've had great food there for both my visits.

  • This was my first experience with Gel-Free Flying, and overall, everything was ok. For a trip as short as this, it seemed senseless to pack a checked bag, so we just did without a few amenities until we got back; I packed an electric razor so that I wouldn't look completely scruffy in the morning. Sure, a finer hotel would have had things like deodorant and what-not, and there's always the option of seeking out a convenience store to get small containers of stuff like that. In the grand scheme of things, it just wasn't that bad, and I'd have a checked bag on longer trips as it was.

  • It was also a car-free trip, save for the use of mine to get to the airport and back. The St. Louis MetroLink is very convenient, and, most sensibly, starts at the airport and goes all the way over to Illinois. It helped that the hotel had a shuttle (which took some time to wait for, but again, it wasn't a very expensive hotel) and that the UMSL performance hall was mere steps away from a train station, but it was nice to save a little bit of money on a rental car; a day pass for the train cost a mere $4.50.
This will likely be the farthest I'll go to see a jazz concert this year, but as I said in the previous post, it was totally worth it.

Those who can, did: A notorious burglar in Australia was dubbed the "Catch Me If You Can" thief. After a search spanning three states and several months...they caught her.

Another cool name for a rock band: Give it up for the Robotic Frisbees of Death.

And in the headlines: Panda bites man? Not so unusual, especially in China, where the story took place. But it's newsworthy when the man bites the panda back. (Yes, beer was involved, and it was not consumed by the panda, either.)

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