Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meet Me in the Megabus to St. Louis: There's a Story There

I'm not one to pass on a good bargain. So when I discovered I could get to St. Louis, Missouri for my friend Jason's 30th celebratory birthday weekend for the price of a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, how could I refuse? My primary concern was that it would be a 13-hour ride on Megbabus. But again, two bucks is two bucks and I was comforted in knowing that if it did turn out to be hell on wheels then at least I had 4 friends along for the ride to co-wallow in my misery.

The day I was all set to being the journey North did not start well. And by not start well, I mean I woke up just in time to throw up everything I had consumed the night before for dinner/bedtime snack. It was horrible and I'll never look at Fig Newtons the same way again. Kinda the same way I look at maple bars. As a kid they were my favorite treat, until one day I blew chunks after eating one and I've never had the stomach to indulge in one again. Some wounds just never heal. The remainder of the afternoon was spent worshiping the porcelain goddess/suffering from cold sweats/fantasizing about finally reaching my goal weight. After nibbling on saltines and small gulps of blue Gatorade all day I mustered enough energy to board the Megabus because God as my witness I was not about to let an upset stomach stop me from have having a gay ol' time in the 3rd most dangerous city in America! Spring Break with pepper spray wahoo!!!!

The fellow travelers on the Megabus were about what I expected. Young. Smelly. Loud. Annoying. Poor Bart got stuck sitting next to a girl who assured him within seconds of meeting that she wasn't a creeper. Her high pitched and constant laugh that resembled that of a baby sheep failed to back up her claim.  My concern the whole time was that I didn't want to throw up on the bus. Luckily some other guy beat me to it but unfortunately the sorority sister sitting next to him on her way to spring break ended up in an unplanned wet t-shirt contest at 3 in the morning. All 6 of us had boarded the bus at 7:45 PM in Dallas and 13 hours and half a bottle of melatonin later we arrived in St. Louis, AKA Nelly's hometown.

The next three days of middle America shenanigans proved to be chicken noodle soup for this weary Texas soul, dontcha know!? Few of us had ever spent time in the city so there were plenty of new sights and sounds to be seen. The architecture of the city was pretty cool with lots of old brick buildings and enormous catholic churches that looked like they had been helicoptered in from Europe. We took a free visit to the local zoo where we saw elephants, monkeys, and shitting penguins, oh my! Nearby we did a drive by of the 1904 World Fair Pavilion, which was surprisingly much smaller than it appeared in "Meet Me in St. Louis". But of course that didn't stop Bart and myself from bursting into a rousing rendition of Clank Clank Went the Trolley, Ding Ding Went the Bell!! We nailed it, and I'd like to think we done Judy Garland proud.

For Jason's birthday dinner we met up with his rather large family (his grandmother birthed ten babies) in one of my favorite chain restaurants ever. The Old Spaghetti Factory. There I got my first chance to try the St. Louis delicacy known as a toasted ravioli. Top that off with spumoni ice cream and bottomless strawberry lemonade and this guy who hadn't had a full meal in two days felt like Jesus must have felt having his first hot pocket after 40 days in the desert. Another delight and life fulfilling dream was sneaking into the restaurant's cable car with Kristin and pretending to be on a first date as we giggled and contemplated eating the leftovers from the couple who'd been sitting there. It took all the strength within me to resist finishing off the melted spumoni. After dinner we went to Three Sixty, one of the city's trendiest rooftop bars, where we were able to convince management that our friend Andrew was Zachary Quinto. The similarities really are uncanny, especially when he's wearing my glasses. Sadly it proved pointless because we still weren't able to get a table let alone a bottle of champagne even though he offered to sign autographs. Clearly none of the bartenders were Trekkie's.

Our final hours in the city were spent wining and dining on Bloody Marys, biscuits and gravy, and bowls of maple syrup while our elderly waitress Beverly took a smoke break every two minutes and talked to us about watching the arch being built. She really dated herself with that statement.  Afterwards we did the most touristy thing possible, which I am always down for on a trip, and went up into the city's infamous arch that has been coined "The Gateway to the West". It's something I've always wanted to do but I can't say it was exactly what I was expecting. Although you are able to get a nice view of the city there was no open-air deck, no gift shop, and the pod you had to ride to get to the reminded me of something off the show LOST. And word to the wise, if you suffer from any form of claustrophobia I suggest doing as my mom does at all amusement parks which is find a nice bench, hold everybody's jacket, and wait for your family to get off ride.

P.S. A special thanks goes out to Kristin for her St. Louis hospitality in letting 4 boys invade her lovely little apartment for the weekend. You're a treasure and a saint!!!