So, my boss emailed me to potentially travel to Chicago for a project. I immediately replied, “Of course I can go to Chicago, just tell me when.” Then she replied “Sorry, its actually Fairview Heights, IL and Springfield, IL.” I knew Springfield was the capital of Illinois, but couldn’t place it on a map. So I googled both towns. Fairview Heights is about 15 miles outside of St. Louis and Springfield is about 90 miles north of that. Just a little geography lesson there.
Three days later I landed at the Lambert St. Louis airport. I opted not to get a rental car, because I figured I was city slick enough to take a metro system. I’ve done it in New York, LA, Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami. There will always be crazies and undesirables, but also a few regular people who out number them. When I got on the train there, it was one regular person and three undesirable crazies. Two of them couldn’t even wait until I sat down before they followed me and “introduced themselves”. The first was a gentleman who strongly smelled of weed and alcohol, he had on a construction vest over his pullover hoodie, and his lips were so dry, I wanted to give him an entire collection of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. He stood over me and he proclaimed that he would kill anyone who would bother me on this train. At this point I am slowly becoming concerned for my safety. So I just told him that was probably a terrible idea for all kinds of reasons. Then, the other guy, who faintly smelled of weed and alcohol, kindly interrupted him, and playfully shoved him out of the way, “Excuse my friend here.” He sits down and hands me a business card. Apparently he’s the “The Break Guy”. He continued trying to pick me up, then pulls a pocket knife out of pocket and tries to hand it to me. He told me I’d probably need it. At this point a am starting to fill up with anxiety. I politely declined, and he gets off the train. The guy with the hella dry lips comes stumbling back over my way and takes a seat. He talks at me for about 10 minutes, while I have my headphones in, until he passes out. I finally make it to my stop where my Uber was waiting to take me to the hotel. You’re probably thinking, why didn’t you get off and take Uber in the first place? It was rather expensive to take the Uber across state lines, $80 plus. It was $4 for the train. I got what I paid for, not recommended.
The next morning, I met up with the woman I would be working with for the next few days. She said one really important thing during our first 15 minutes together and it was, “We should go out later tonight and get some wine.” That is all you have to say to me for us to get along. We did go to Downtown St Louis later that evening and seen The Arch. It was very close to the baseball stadium and some awesome bars. One in particular was a rooftop bar in The Hilton called 360. It had great views and reasonably priced mixology type drinks. The downtown area was beautiful, but a ghost town. There weren’t even homeless people. It was very unusual. The Firemen were either bored or waiting, but they asked me to come and take a picture in the truck.
The last day there, we went back downtown to the Ballpark Village. It is a series of restaurants and a large bar in the center area to watch games. It’s attached to the Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals play. We ate at the Budweiser Brew House. I had the spicy lobster tacos and wine. The tacos had shaved cabbage, cojita cheese, avacodo, pickled onions, and the sauteed lobster. They were so freaking delicious. It was the perfect farewell meal.
I met some really interesting people, to say the least. It was quick, and a little strange. However, I don’t regret a moment. Plus, I don’t turn down free trips. Good times St. Louis, I hope I never see you again 🙂