: views from the Hill

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

back and gone again ...

We spent the last short week (W-M) in St. Louis for AAAS. (More on that, once I get re-packed, if I have time.)

We're off again tomorrow. Original plan was to return home tonight and head out tomorrow. We changed our plans a few weeks back when we went, "Ouch." We'd booked with Travelocity or some such so had to bite the extra night's lodging and the return tickets, but we'll be sane tomorrow, which we wouldn't have been if we'd arrived back tonight.

Luckily for our travels, we are not hurting for people who are willing to keep our cat company and pick up the mail while we're away.

Rather than think up something new to say about Saint Louis, here's a rev on what I told a friend in e-mail late last night, after we got in. (Sure, I checked my e-mail when I got in. Isn't that one of the first things people do when they come back from being away?)

We were in St. Louis for AAAS since last Wednesday. Being the California girl that I am, I kept thinking, wouldn't it be cool if the long-overdue New Madrid quake would hit while AAAS was in town?

But, no. It didn't.

St. Louis was St. Louis. The local AAAS folks complained that AAAS hadn't been there for the annual meeting since 1952 and that's been ...

Yeah, I said. I was born in 1952. I know =exactly= how long it's been.

St. Louis had logistics problems but boy, howdy. for a City girl, I was amazed at the number of multi-level parking garages in their downtown core. San Franciscans envy folks with parking spaces.

St. Louis also has the Arch, which is pretty darn cool.

Um. I can't think of much else I'd go back for.

They never tore down their great old buildings downtown and are in the process of rehabbing them as lofts -- condos and apartments. Good idea. Second good idea is that they put in the parking before they started to rehab the downtown, so the land they used for parking garages was dead cheap.

They have the Convention Center which is nice. They have convention hotels nearby, which is nice. They have a Starbucks and a couple places to buy your morning bagel.

Not much else downtown. There was certainly not enough good restaurant food to feed a convention of 1800 (which was a low turnout for AAAS). Kitchen K on Washington had yummy food (french-fried sweet potatoes!) but only two wait staff to handle the AAAS crowd that showed up on their doorstep Saturday night.

(Yeh, yeh. Downtown =also= has sports stadiums -- the Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play and the Edward Jones Dome where the Rams play. The Dome was host to a SuperCross event while we were there, so we had hungry SuperCross attendees competing for dining tables with hungry scientists and science writers.)

The new lofts will be wonderful, but they don't seem to be selling, perhaps because of things like, f'rex, the penthouse in one of the buildings is priced at $700K. $700K? That might be the worth of the place once the downtown center is revitalized, but right now ... no.

I'm back tonight and home tomorrow and heading out first thing Wednesday to South America and points souther for a few weeks.

We stayed at the Wyndham Mayfair, which was just across a skinny little street from the Renaissance, the convention hotel conveniently located across Washington from the Convention Center. Room charges at the Mayfair were substantially less than room charges at the Renaissance.

We had dinner in the Mayfair restaurant Wednesday night. We weren't much impressed with the food at the Mayfair. In fact, we weren't much impressed with much of the food we found between the downtown core and Laclede's Landing. Had lunch at Hannegan's. Good Reuben sandwich. Nice furnishings. Had dinner at Jake's Steaks. You know. The food's fine in St. Louis, just not terrific. Servings are healthy. Service is pretty laid back. Make that overly laid back. We survived by noshing at the evening events. Kitchen K I'd recommend, although the service there was glacial. Nice wait staff, just overburdened.

The plan for the next few weeks is to drink yerba mate with the gauchos, pet some penguins and visit the Iguaçu Falls. Our cold weather gear worked find as the temps dropped to 2 degF last week in St. Louis; we anticipate no cold weather gear problems in the Southlands.

No comments: