23.08.2014 - 23.08.2014
After a fun evening of exploring St. Louis and getting mentally prepped for the long drive to California, I checked out of my downtown hotel the next morning and hailed a taxi in order to meet my sister at her conference center on the other side of town. The driver seemed a little bit confused at first when I gave him the destination address, but after a minute, he told me he knew exactly where to go.
For the first 20 minutes, we easily breezed through traffic westward toward suburban Frontenac, located 15 miles outside of St. Louis. Then, disaster struck. Upon approaching Plaza Frontenac, an upscale shopping center, the cab driver told me that we had arrived at my destination, which I knew was not true. Once again, I told him that the address for the conference center was on North Geyer Road...and that I was not going to the mall.
"Geyer? Are you sure you want to go to Geyer? On the mountain?" the cab driver asked me. I am not very familiar with St. Louis geography, but...a mountain? That did not sound right, or anywhere close to where I needed to go.
It increasingly became apparent that the cab driver had no idea where he was, so I asked him to make a U-turn to take me back to Plaza Frontenac. I (unhappily) gave him the $40 fare, which included an extra $5 for the last-minute U-turn, and then he dropped me off at Neiman Marcus. I knew I was only 1-2 miles away from the conference center, but I did not remember which direction to go. Lugging my heavy backpack, I walked around the parking lot of the shopping center trying to figure out if I could recognize any of the street names. After several minutes of looking around, I felt fatigued and flushed from the extreme humidity, which is saying a lot from someone who grew up in North Texas.
Then, I spotted a coffee shop across the street, and my sweaty, under-caffinated heart swelled with joy. I still had no idea how to get to the conference center, but I knew that iced coffee, air-conditioning and wi-fi would greatly help my situation. I felt much better after I got my large iced vanilla latte (with an extra shot of espresso, of course) and sat down at a table.
From the coffee shop, I called my sister to tell her that I either could walk the rest of the way (which would take forever), or she could come pick me up. Although normally I love to walk, I was so thankful when she chose the latter option because it was way too hot outside for a long hike. Never have I been so happy to see a Volkswagon Golf and the familiar face of my best friend. We gave each other a big hug, chatted for a few minutes inside the coffee shop and then formally began our long drive westward towards California!