Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Arch. She sways.

 The Gateway Arch is known as the "Gateway to the West". It was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel in 1947 and built between 1963 and October 1965.
During my time away from you, I visited St. Louis and while there, The Chef and I went up in the Arch--and by the way, that's just a nickname for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial--because we thought we should. It's actually quite lovely, but before I go any further, I have to tell you a few things:
  • I don't like to be closed in.
  • I am not one of those people who sees a little kid and gets all mushy; in fact, I'm the opposite. I run away from them.*
  • I don't love heights.
  • I have wicked vertigo.
  • Not a fan of crowds.
 It stands 630 feet (192 m) tall and 630 feet (192 m) wide at its base. The legs are 54 feet (16.5 m) wide at the base, narrowing to 17 feet (5.2 m) at the arch.

Knowing we had to return the car by whatever o'clock or we owned it (or some other penalty), we sprinted from the parking lot to the Arch.**

 There is a unique tram system to carry passengers to the observation room at the top of the arch.

We beat the line by offering to go up in separate pods--like the single rider feature at any amusement park. A good idea, right? No, because:
  1. You do not want to ever get into anything called a "pod," especially with strangers.
  2. Children may be some of the strangers in your pod.
Lets take a tiny little look into some pod facts:
  • Eight small capsules, used in each of the two Arch trains.
  • Each train capsule has a 5-foot diameter barrel that is open on the front and closed on the back.
  • There are five seats in each barrel, so the weight of the passengers helps keep the capsule in an upright position.
  • Each capsule rotates approximately 155 degrees during the trip to the top of the Arch.
  • Each of the Arch trains carries 40 passengers and is capable of making a round trip with passengers in 9 minutes including loading and unloading passengers in both directions.
There is nothing in that list that gives the impression of, "Hmmm, that sure sounds like fun!" Nothing.
So we got to the top and as I rolled out of the capsule, I expected to see something glorious inside the Arch. I don't KNOW what, specifically, I expected to find. Maybe something in the tone of Disney. Instead, we got something in the key of crowded old doctor's office. And more kids. Gah!
Look beyond the handsome and blurry Chef for a minute.
See those tiny little windows?
Yeah, that's what you get on both sides.
And you have to lean over an angled, carpeted area to see out them.
Okay, now you can look at the handsome Chef
and please note that he's not that blurry in real life.
But, of course, I guess you could say that the glory of it all is the view.
Hello, vertigo, my old friend

Nothing personal, St. Louis, but your buildings aren't very big, especially for the largest metropolitan area in Missouri..

And then the Arch moved. Or swayed.  "Can you feel the movement?" The Chef asked his delicate flower of a girlfriend, who felt more woozy than after three-quarters of a margarita.
We took a few more pictures and vamoosed because we had to hurry to get to the airport nothing because our flight had been cancelled. Apparently someone coughed in Georgia or something and we were trapped until the next day. Trapped and tired and uncaffeinated and cranky. And that was just me! Poor Chef. He puts up with so much crazy.
I get just as dizzy looking at these pictures as I did when I took them.

But you've got to give me an A for effort, right?
Unless these are the ones The Chef took,
which would explain why they're clear and well-composed.
Apparently, there is more to St. Louis than the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, I wouldn't mind checking it out, which will probably happen in the near future because if you want to get to Columbia, MO, where my son lives, and not pay one gajillion dollars for a plane ticket, you visit "Rome of the West" / "Gateway to the West" / "Mound City." Heh heh. I said "mound."

*Except little kids who have proven themselves to be cool and worthy of being in the vicinity of my awesomeness. You parents who have children who have passed the test know who you are.

**Yes, by sprint I mean The Chef walked quickly and I went slower and slower as I looked around and then came to a full stop. The Arch is a VERY big, VERY shiny thing. Shiny sense overload.

PSSST! Unless otherwise noted, I swiped the info from Wikipedia, because I'm cool like that. Yay me!

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