The past 36 hours James and I spent en route to and from St. Louis, along with a little time spent in the city mixed in there. I was shooting a small wedding Sunday afternoon for a few hours – so the whole trip was really based on getting into town early enough to have some down time/rest before the wedding, and getting back home in time to get some work done today. That meant we left Chicago around noon on Saturday and arrived in St. Louis around 5pm, which didn’t leave us any time Saturday to do much of anything but hang out at the hotel bar/restaurant. Then we had to be checked out of our hotel by noon on Sunday, so that gave us 3.5 hours to do whatever we wanted before the wedding at 3:30.
In retrospect, it was actually pretty nice how we went about the weekend. Since things have been busy (as I mentioned in my last post) I don’t see a lot of James… well, I should take that back… I see him… I just don’t get a lot of time to actually talk/interact/watch movies/go to dinner/hang out with him. So this weekend was actually a perfect weekend for us to reconnect, talk about life, and enjoy each other’s company in the down time we had before and after the wedding. (Which happened to be perfect timing, since our anniversary is in a week – this acted as a little ‘anniversary trip’ of sorts for us.)
Knowing we weren’t going to have a lot of time to actually see and explore the city, I booked us a hotel room with a view. That way, even if we didn’t get OUT to see anything in our time there… I’d at least feel like we saw something.
The next day’s timing was such that it stopped raining just long enough for us to head over to visit The Arch up close and personal after we checked out from our hotel. And naturally, we did what any cheesy tourists would do… we took pictures of us pretending to touch it! Duh! 🙂
As you can see, it’s a tad difficult to manage to make two hands ‘touch’ it at the same time, so I gave up and went with the ‘point’ too. Ha ha!
We made our way all the way to The Arch, in hopes of possibly taking the tram to the top, but quickly realized we couldn’t do that and still make it to the wedding on time. So, we opted to wander around the free museum inside instead.
The next few signs I took particular interest in, given some of the circumstances of the interesting night we had at the hotel bar the previous night. I won’t go into details here, but let’s just say that I forgot James and I weren’t your ‘normal’ looking couple until we left Chicago. Given that in our apartment building alone we have gay couples, straight couples, interracial couples (and not just us), minority couples, single women, families, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and probably someone fitting any description in between… we are used to being seen as just us, and not for something else.
So when we arrived in St. Louis, it took me quite a while to figure out why certain people were staring at us for much too long with looks of disgust on their face. I mean, literally, I could not figure it out initially – because I honestly forgot we look ‘different’ to some other people. Along with that, there were some interesting gender games going on at the bar as well, between the middle-aged female bartenders and the young men throwing derogatory remarks their way. Let’s just say I was a bit shocked to see young men acting that way towards someone who could have been their mom. Anyway – having all those thoughts fresh in my mind… these next few signs really grabbed me on Sunday.
After having some conversations about all of the above situations, and discussing our definite desire to come back to St. Louis (next time hopefully with kids in tow) and with more time to explore the other sites in the city, we drove out to the neighborhood where the wedding was to take place, Benton Park – which, much to our joy, turned out to be very diverse and welcoming… including this amazing little cafe we found two blocks from the wedding site that we completely fell in love with. The staff was amazing, and the food… well, you can see that we had no problem finishing our food! (SO GOOD!)
Then James napped in the car in preparation for the 5 hour drive he would be doing that night, while I spent the next 3 hours photographing a lovely and incredibly moving wedding (pics to come later this week). I may or may not have cried through the entire first reading, while thinking the whole time, “Pull yourself together Christy!”
On our way out of town I snapped a quick photo of a St. Louis staple… and we headed on our way!
Of course, we had to make a stop on the way home. (5 hours on the road makes you throw all healthy options out the window!)