My first Trip to the States
It was my first trip to the States and firsts as we know are always special (most of the times I guess!) . As it was a work trip, I had limited time to explore the place however experiences don’t seek touristy places and I am happy they happened to me in all natural ways. I had taken these notes couple of months ago while on the plane heading back to home and just putting them together now for you to read.
Since most of my time was divided between hotel and work, I spent quite some time sitting by this window in my dimly lit room in Staybridge Apartments and Suites in O’Fallon. It was an old style apartment hotel right on the highway with nothing but broad lanes, fast moving cars by the day and darkness and peace at night. I could see it through the windows, day going by to relax handing over the command to mysterious and quirky night.
There was nothing spectacular about the place, no greens to soothe the eyes and no hills to calm the soul. However this place had an air where I felt belonged. It’s in the silence that I found beauty and peace. Not always does beauty reside in the forts tall and high, it also is rooted in the hustling life besides the streets where families share a meal and sleep under the moon.
States has an advantage of offering space, often more rooms than the people staying in it. Everything looks big, feels big and humongous. It’s a pleasure to see the houses and structures so symmetrically laid out. When flying above the city of Los Angeles, I almost felt it was a replica that is displayed when visiting a property sales office. A model with houses, cars and trees laid out in a line, almost perfect.
I wonder if symmetry in life would make it neater or monotonous. I think I like it symmetrical but with spikes of chaos occasionally. With perfect overlapping folds, it would be like a paper boat made to float. I would rather prefer an unshaped and undefined life which is running in all directions and converging at times to diverge again.
People are the souls of any journey, quite literally that is, it’s the people we meet that create memories to be cherished for a lifetime. I met a few as well. Meeting beautiful people is a sign that your journey is not travelling to places, it is about travelling to people. Hearing about them, their life and remaining inspired to always converge before diverging.
Lot of things are different across different places on the map, food, language, fashion, climate, what remains the same is the people. People are all the same, they empathize, they love, feel jealous and everything else.
St. Louis is a city of the Gateway Arch. I traveled alone for the first time as a tourist. I was occasionally accompanied by wonderful people who were driving me from one touristy place to another. The Gateway Arch is the most popular and the tallest accessible building in the the state of Missouri. It has a very unique shape called “inverted weighted catenary”. Because of the special shape, there is no tram or cable car that can make it to the top, it’s a capsule shaped arrangement of small cabins that is pulled to the top.
View from the top was terrific and induced smiles all over the small standing area. This is all what we humans long for right, a top view of our lives to figure it out all. This is sanely not possible but what is possible is to have an acknowledgement of the top view of our karma so far. Having this view will always give us wings to fly but also bring in the longing to return to our nest.
St. Louis Zoo
The last zoo I visited before this one was the Singapore Zoo. In comparison to that, this one is way smaller with lesser animals but similarly organized. I spent around two hours here most of which was spent in admiring the butterflies. I find this to be my best shot from the several ones I took.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Selling variety of frozen custards since over 80 years (yes that’s right 80 !), this place won my heart. I am happy that I was introduced to this place. It’s a must-visit if you are in St. Louis.
In the conclusion
Memories are such selfless frames that don’t look for our attention and just happen to us even when we expose ourselves to such limited experiences. We may not have “travel stories” always, but we do always have memories.
I feel travelling makes me richer in memories and experiences and I get more empathetic with every journey I make. That’s my calling.