St Louis

Trip Start Sep 11, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

After a fairly frantic 10 days getting moved out of Ventura, here I am in St Louis.

I'm staying at the Marriott Residence Inn in Earth City, MO. It's maybe 20 miles from downtown SL, but it's very close to the restaurant we're studying. Work is going well. We're timing employee tasks, so that we can spot inefficiencies and recommend ideal staffing levels. Timing is done on a hand-held computer and downloaded to a PC where we organize the info into useful formats. There's a healthy learning curve associated with this stuff, but fortunately, I'm not nearly as stupid as I look :), and I'm picking it up quickly.

Yesterday was my first day off, so I took the mandatory tourist trip to the Gateway Arch. It's an impressive structure -- about 40 stories high! I went to the top floors of about 5 nearby buildings to get a photo with the surroundings in the background -- to no avail. So the pictures I got were nearly all from the ground. It seems to me that the Arch should face West instead of South (it is, after all, a memorial of Western expansion), but it is pretty awesome.

I also went to the nearby neighborhood of McClede's Landing. It's a historic area with cobblestone streets, carriage rides, and old buildings. It's been overtaken by bars, restaurants and a casino. It would be very quiant if it weren't in such disrepair: Cobblestones were missing from the streets, bricks were missing or uneven in much of the sidewalk, and everywhere things are broken and dirty. I got the feeling that nothing has been maintained for at least 50 years.

In fact I walked through a few miles of the downtown area and was left with the feeling that St Louis isn't what it could or should be. The location, history, architecture, and vast numbers of parks and memorials hint at a glorious past. But the dirt, disrepair, and ghost-town feel expose a bleak present. The sewer system needs to be replaced too: the frequent wafts of RAW sewage are third-worldish.

I rode the Metro train to right near the Arch. It's a good system other than the fact that only tourists are naive enough to buy a ticket. There aren't any turnstiles or even employees checking that fares have been bought. It's great for the homeless (which includes me now!), but not for anyone else.

I hear (from the very friendly people here) that there are many interesting places to see in the area, so I won't let my initial less-than-rosie impressions damper my spirit to explore. -Roger
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