14 Aug St. Louis, MO – Part Deux
Well, where do I even begin?
I left Los Angeles at around 5 AM on the 29th of July, intending to land in perfect fashion in St. Louis for my brother’s birthday party at around 2:40 PM, all things accounted for.
Full disclosure: flying tends to give me pretty intense anxiety. Not necessarily about the flight itself, (except when flying alone, because I’m always worried about who I’ll be sitting next to and whether or not they’re going to fall asleep and snore, whether I’ll fall asleep and snore, or whether or not they’re going to try to talk my ear off when all I want to do is relax,) but about being at the airport, especially on a flight with a connection/layover. I often know to prepare for a stressful experience at LAX, as it is one of the world’s busiest and most hectic airports at all hours, in my experience. I didn’t anticipate the other airport experiences on this trip to be so tumultuous.
The irony about anxiety is that sometimes it is there for good reason, even though once the crappy thoughts become reality it often feels way less stressful than you’d built them up to be in your mind.
Commence: LAX–>IAH–>STL. Unfortunately, my checked bag didn’t have the same schedule. “Oh, well,” I thought. “I don’t need a toothbrush or hairbrush or deodorant or a change of clothes or makeup immediately. I’m with family! And they have a shower and mouthwash.” I didn’t actually receive my checked luggage until about 36 hours after I left the airport. All I had was my camera bag, and my purse full of receipts and leftover nuts and unopened fruit.
My brother was throwing a very small and exclusive birthday party at his friend’s house the evening I arrived. The Vintage Vault, also known as The Basement Arcade, was the destination. I came with the intention of photographing the entire space down to the tiniest details. (Psst, this is why my camera bag is always my carry-on. I can live without a change of clothes and a toothbrush, but don’t you dare keep me away from my camera and lenses.) The Vintage Vault is a fully built-out arcade with 80’s roots, a pool table, air hockey, a TV screen and computer full of all kinds of music videos, and a bar with tons of vintage memorabilia.
We arrived about 15 minutes before the rest of the party, after driving the 45 minutes or so straight from the airport, and were immediately greeted with open arms and offers of beer and wine. I couldn’t have imagined a better place! The basement didn’t have my favorite game, (ahem, House of the Dead,) but I obviously loved the overall space and the owner’s incredible hospitality. We had mini-sandwiches, chips, and ice cream, there were music videos, we danced and sang like fools, spent some time out on their beautiful balcony, and all of the girls got fake tattoos from the vending machine.
Some of my personal photographs of the basement are available in my portfolio.
The day after I landed in St. Louis was my brother’s 28th birthday. Sadly, he woke up in the morning with terrible stomach pains and had to go to urgent care. Later that evening one of his fillings fell out and he had to get a temporary crown the following morning. Not a great start, as one would imagine.
We enjoyed some wine, cooked delicious meals, and watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine (because it’s hilarious) on most nights. I also kept odd sleep/waking hours, as I tend to do when I travel after working long nights. To be fair, though it is only a two-hour time difference, a long day of flying, lost luggage, long drive time, and then straight into partying with friends and family will wear anyone out.
The night before I was scheduled to leave my sister-in-law had an idea: to visit a sculpture park near downtown St. Louis called Lauveire. Here are some photographs of the sculptures and scenery:
My original flight out was scheduled for Thursday afternoon around 5PM with a transfer in Chicago. Unfortunately, (the official word of this vacation,) my flight was delayed five times before being cancelled due to weather. I boarded the flight after a 20 minute delay and we were deplaned about 15 minutes after that. I sat in the airport for over four and a half hours before requesting that my flight out be rescheduled. I ended up with a new flight that included a short layover and transfer in Denver.
About an hour after rescheduling my flight, my brother picked me up and I spent another night with wine and Brooklyn Nine-Nine in front of the television with my family. I arrived safely at home in Los Angeles at 3:30 PM — and so did my bag. After a very, very long and interesting trip, I was happy to be home and dive straight back into work. Until next time, St. Louis….