Monday, December 5, 2005

Return to St. Louis

St. Louis Sightseeing

St. Louis Zoo

Busch Stadium Demolition

The Wedding

Our Christmas Tree

Another busy long weekend, which involved lots of walking and surprisingly a lot of video game playing. First let me get everybody up to speed Jennifer and I had to attend a wedding in St. Louis of Jennifer's co-teacher from last year. The wedding was on a Friday, but since Jennifer was reading at the wedding we needed to show up on Thursday night for the rehearsal dinner. I took the last two days of the week off and we left for Manchester airport early on Thursday morning.

I flew Southwest for the first time and was introduced to general admission plane seating, this is where you get to pick your own seat as soon as you walk on the plane. Now in theory this would be a good thing, but the reality of it is that people go sit in line forty five minutes before the flight, so it doesn't give much flexibility in how you spend the hour before the flight, you can't just wander around the terminal to pass the time. Anyway we boarded the flight and noticed a few small children at the front and I insisted we get back to at least the seventh row to avoid any screaming babies. So we sat down in a nice seat, I grabbed the window because Jennifer is kind enough to let me have my way in situations like this. We look across the aisle and notice two women, the one against the window is rather old and frail, while the one on the aisle is younger, but rather obese. After looking closely at the pair we notice two things, first is a black dog, which was probably a little bigger than the average housecat and second is a clear plastic storage bin between the two which contained a decent sized parrot. My first thought is we need to move, because its going to get crazy over there, however at this point we might end up sitting in aisle seats of different rows back in the plane. I argue that we need to stay there and not risk getting a bad seat. Jennifer agrees and we sit and watch as the show across from us begins. Once the doors are closed the heavier woman takes out two surgical masks and puts one on before helping the older woman put hers on. Now the parrot comes out of his storage bin and the heavier woman is playing with its beak, all the while the other woman is trying to hold the dog. Right before take off the aisle seated woman decides to take a photo with her camera phone of the other woman and bosses her into smiling. Finally the plane starts down the runway and the woman buries the parrot into her over sized chest and carefully rubs his head. Once in the air for a little while you might think things would settle down, but it just gets wackier. The animals are now moving all about. One minute I look over and the woman has the parrot on top of her head and the next she has the dog behind her like a pillow. The flight attendants keep stopping by and talking, but I don't really know what they were talking to them about. When the in flight food was served the larger woman doesn't remove her mask, but instead just lifts it up while she eats or drinks. It was truly a priceless flight. After we landed in Chicago, they stayed on the plane, because they were continuing on to Phoenix, now I thought this was the last I would see of them, but I was wrong. After telling my mom the story on the phone I looked over and saw the heavier woman running back towards the plane carrying a McDonald's bag. Later we walked by the McDonald's it was in a completely different wing of the airport, all I could think at that point was "I'm lovin' it."

Once the show from above ended we learned that our flight to St. Louis had been cancelled and we were put on a later flight, which meant we wouldn't be able to check in to the hotel before the rehearsal dinner. We walked around Chicago Midway airport searching for some Chicago pizza, but oddly enough there weren't any places serving pizza. After eating some lunch I played Mario 64 for about two hours. I downloaded it onto my laptop and have now managed to gather over 70 of the 120 stars you can get in the game. We finally boarded the plane and made it to St. Louis, unfortunately our luggage didn't catch the flight. We stood around for a while waiting and then stood around some more waiting for the next flight from Chicago. No luggage!! So we just went to the rehearsal dinner in our jeans, thanfully it was casual and we didn't really stand out. Later that night we found our luggage waiting for us at the hotel. We stayed downtown in a really nice hotel, which we got for the low low price of 40 dollars thanks to Hotwire. We were on the 16th floor overlooking the new and old Busch Stadium. Yes this is the stadium where the Red Sox won the World Series last year, unfortunately it been nearly completely demolished to make room for the new stadium. Notice I said nearly because every night while we were there they were doing the demolition with a wrecking ball until 3AM. Now at first this seemed cool, but once I tried to fall asleep it wasn't as much fun. The wrecking ball was crazy, the entire hotel shook with each wing of the ball. It makes you wonder just how loud it was at Ground Zero when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

In the morning we did a bunch of sightseeing which included going up in the Gateway Arch and a trip out to the Central West End. St. Louis was okay, there were still a couple things we didn't get to do, but they really need to get some cool things to draw in tourists. We went to one part of town that was supposed to be like Newbury Street and there was really nothing there. It was a great day and all, but it was also kind of boring. They do have a subway line, but it seems a bit unnecessary since there are parking spaces and parking garages on every corner. The only people that actually take the subway are people who can't afford cars, which made it a bit sketchy (think Ashmont train). We went to the wedding which was really beautiful. I mean it was a wedding so you know what went on. The reception was a little interesting though, thanks to the DJ. The guy was Adam Sandler straight out of the Wedding Singer, well except he didn't sing. He was dressed up in his tux and had disco lights, police lights and a disco ball. The music started off okay with the couples first dance, then father-daughter, followed by mother-son, but then the guy went right into the chicken dance. Haha I couldn't believe it. Next up you guessed it the Hokey Pokey and then Celebrate. He couldn't have been more cliche with the music. Celebrate was then followed by none other than the electric slide. At this point the bride and groom stepped in and asked him to play some newer stuff. So begrudgingly he played some "newer more upbeat" songs. He actually made a passive aggressive remark about having to play the songs. The music improved from that point on although every once in a while the DJ would make a random comment here or there that would make you shake your head in amazement. We left the wedding and made it back to the hotel in a timely manner.

On Saturday morning we started off the day by going to the Soulard Farmer's Market, because Jennifer always likes to check out the local markets. In the past we haven't had much luck with this (Roanoke, Asheville), but we had time to waste. The market turned out to be pretty cool and was really big. They were selling all sorts of fruits, vegetables and other foods. My favorite booth at the place was selling raccoons and beavers, how strange. After buying some tangerines and strawberries we shot over to the St. Louis Zoo, because everybody told us we just had to see it. They were right it was amazing. We started in the penguin-puffin house, where you are literally inches away from the penguins. Jennifer was mesmerized by the close proximity of the penguins and kept greeting each one as they swam buy with a quick and peppy "hi". I eventually dragged her away from them and we continued walking around the park. Some of the animals had gone south for the winter, but we still saw, lions and tigers and bears (oh my) and camels, leopards, cheetahs, camels and zebras. At one point we went in to see the snakes and turtles. Jennifer noticed an Egyptian Tortoise that had tipped over and couldn't right himself. Despite my telling her he would be fine she stood there watching him trying to coach him about how to flip over. Finally after about fifteen minutes he managed to rock himself over and we were on our way.

The flight home was uneventful except for me playing a lot more Mario 64. Yesterday we did some decorating for Christmas, instead of driving up to Amesbury in the snow, I came up with the great idea of walking to the local Christmas tree seller, buying a tree and carrying it home. It was pretty cool carrying the tree the half mile home, plus since there were sidewalks it was much easier than carrying through the forest, plus my car doesn't have a scratches on the roof or a pine needle inside. Only 20 more days to go.

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