A cheap-arse motel in St Louis, Missouri. Nice. I didn’t think I’d be here 6 months ago! (Actually, I didn’t think I’d ever be in the US, so soaking it all in like a cheap-arse sponge!)
The decor of this place is, well, missing. I like to mentally juxtapose this sleeping place with the Hyatt in Philly. My mind almost can’t quite cope with the gratingly obvious contrasts. My youngest son said to me before he fell asleep last night, ‘Mummy, this hotel room is made just for our bed, isn’t it?’ Yes – the room is dull white concrete walls – I can make out the shape of each besser block – and is about the size of your average single garage. But you must not think I am a snob, nope – my same son said this was the best hotel (which is actually a motel but I won’t trouble him with the distinction … hmmm … what is it again?) he has stayed in. He is allowed to jump on the bed and play games on my mac. All he needs for a good time really.
The curtains are heavy to block out the freeway outside, the sheets have cigarette burn marks in them and there us a tastefully gold-framed print of five swans standing at dusk on a river bank. Not all bad, huh? We paid 45 bucks for the room and got free wifi. Well, the wifi code that the guy gave us didn’t work but we managed to jump onto some open wifi in the area. We’re happy.
The trip from Ohio to St Louis along the i70 probably isn’t worthy writing about. For the most part the interstate is a huge multi-lane highway with many, many trucks driving at unnatrual speed. Perhaps I should say ‘preternatural’ speed? haha. The food options are quite varied – that is, if you like a variety of fast food outlets – Sonics, Dennys, McDonalds, Wendys, Steak and Shakes and Subway to name a few. We opted for Subway for lunch – incredibly cheap for $12 and McDonalds for dinner – the biggest waste of money and time. We stopped there for the wifi, of course! We’ve got to start thinking about feeding out bellies and not our addiction to connection.
St Louis was quite a town – bigger than I had expected. We accidentally missed it at first – the TomTom my mum leant me kinda navigated us around it. Dunno why! We headed back because we wanted a special moment with the Mississippi and we’d been told that there’s a big-arse arch to check out. Both were there and both were impressive. The big river was smashing at its banks, over-flowing on to the footpath. That was nice to see. It was so brown and churned up it made me fear for litlle Huck and ol’ Jim as they headed down river on the raft. It didn’t look that free and easy to me – it looked big, dirty and dangerous. But that was after rain and I was looking at the city part. We saw the turn-off to Hannibal, and we were tempted to go but then I recalled that Huck wanted to get the hell out of there and would have thought me a fool for detouring to see it. And that’s how we ended up in this garage-motel.
So today we are off to Wichita, Kansas. Everyone thinks we’re mad going there. We try to explain that it’s from a White Stripes song, ‘Seven Nation Army’, and we just wanna go. They still shake their heads. No one goes to Kansas, they say. People just drive right on through. Well, we’re keen to defy this generalisation. If I ever get off the internet and we start driving, I’m going to get a new tattoo – can’t decide on an owl or a tree. Might crowd-source my decision.
I’m going to Wichita
Far from this opera for evermore
I’m gonna work the straw
Make the sweat drip out of every pore
And I’m bleeding, and I’m bleeding, and I’m bleeding
Right before the lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me
And I will sing no more
And the stains coming from my blood
Tell me go back home