Quotation du jour: Eddy L. Harris ~ I look at the Mississippi and i see a symbol of America, the spine of the nation, a symbol of strength and freedom and pride, wanderlust and history and imagination.
Thursday, June 23
For some reason i didn't take a lot of notes on my third day, and at this distance it's difficult to remember everything i did.
I know that this was the day that the MetroLink ticket machine ate my debit card. But there was a telephone hotline and i was able to talk to someone at their world headquarters, and he sent a technician out (in about half an hour -- not bad, really) and he retrieved my card for me, which i then tried to use once more to buy a week's pass -- but the machine didn't <inserts swear word here> work. I was able to buy a one-day pass with cash ($7.50), though, and so set off, for the Delmar Loop neighbourhood. It was relatively easy to find -- there's a MetroLink station there, and it turned out to be a lovely area. I didn't do much there, though, other than wander around.
Well, i knew that on Friday i was meeting the wonderful Kitra, the extraordinary Jan, and my brother from a different mother Dave -- who is entirely responsible for my becoming attracted to St Louis, btw -- at Union Station, and so that's where i went next, just to check out the scenery. Of course i immediately became lost again, but that was okay, i like exploring, i must have walked for about three hours and, as on the day before, it was at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, again i was becoming seriously dehydrated and disorientated.
Ah, but thank you Saint Martin -- the patron saint of drunks -- i eventually circled around a bit and found Maggie O'Brien's Irish Pub And Restaurant at 2000 Market Street, and had a great lunch -- their "Notre Dame" club sandwich -- and a couple of pints of an excellent beer, Goose Island 312. The barmaid was extremely attractive and very friendly, too. It was difficult to tear myself away but somehow i managed it and headed back downtown.
One of the highlights of my visit was going to the National Blues Museum, which had only just recently opened at 615 Washington Ave. It includes everything you could possibly want to know about the history of blues music, from its African roots all the way up to the 21st century and rap (ugh!). There was nothing about Rory Gallagher, which disappointed me a little, but i was delighted to see Memphis Minnie there. She wrote "When The Levee Breaks," which appeared -- with altered lyrics -- on Led Zeppelin's 4th album and, unusual for them, they actually gave her a co-writing credit, which should have made her a fortune. Alas, she received not a cent in royalties, and rumour has it that, when she died, Bonnie Raitt paid for headstone. Poor Minnie.
Then, it was approaching 5 o'clock and i was starting to think about food. Again. Attached to Busch Stadium is an entertainment complex called Ballpark Village -- and i'll have more to say about them later. It has four or five different restaurants, but i went into the Budweiser Brewhouse -- not really sure why, as i find Budweiser undrinkable, but they had a beer i liked -- Goose Island Honker's -- no, i'd never heard of it, either, but it was excellent. And i had their ABC burger and it was very good. I lingered.
Not for all that long, though. I was feeling quite tired and decided that i should probably head back east to Belleville. It took me a while to find a MetroLink station but i finally did and immediately hopped on to a westbound train.
This is where the day fell apart. I wasn't familiar enough with MetroLink at this point to recognise station names, and just to make things more interesting, my cell phone ran out of battery, so i was unable to contact Chuck and say "HELP!!!!!" (I had my iPad but it's not included in my data plan and was useless without a Wi-Fi hotspot.)
I was in trouble. It was starting to get dark by then and i had no idea where i was. Eventually i realised that i was in terra incognita, turned around a got the next train back but i was so sleepy, i needed to reassure Chuck that i was okay, i just wanted to go to bed.
I've heard that downtown St Louis is pretty dangerous after dark. It's known to be a very dangerous city. Now, i'll be happy if any of my friends there will correct me on this, but the impression i have is that St Louis County is extremely dangerous, but the city itself -- which is NOT a part of the county -- is no more dangerous than any other large American city. Or Canadian city, for that matter, although in Canada we don't have the guns.
Anyway, i got off the train at Union Station and booked myself in to the first hotel i found -- the City Centre Hotel. (Actually, it was spelt "City Center," which was understandable, i s'pose.) It was fabulous! Sumptuous double room (one of the few they had left) -- well, for $179 U.S., it fuckin' should be! Contacted Chuck using my iPad via the Wi-Fi and passed out.