Monday, June 16, 2014

Our First Day Away

Today might have been the longest day of my life. After finishing packing, I wasn't nervous, but for some reason I could not sleep at all. I wasn't tired and I simply just stayed in my bed in the dark until about midnight, when I finally fell asleep. My alarm was set for 1:30 AM, since I still needed to double check all of my things and by 2:10 AM, I was out of the house. I was the first one to arrive to El Cerrito High School and to my surprise, it was absolutely freezing. This was quite bad for me since I got a cold not too long ago and being outside in the weather was not the best my health. However, I managed to survive and by 3:52 AM, we were off to SFO.
The Cornell cohort right before our departure to the airport.
After arriving to SFO, we checked in our bags without any problems. Our first flight to Phoenix was set to depart at 6:00 and before getting on the plane we all got breakfast. I ate a delicious egg, cheese and sausage breakfast sandwich with potatoes on the side. The cheese in the sandwich was absolutely divine and it was melted perfectly-- definitely the best part of the whole breakfast. Sadly, I didn't get to take a picture since I ate it too fast and disappeared before I could even think about getting my camera.

The flight to Phoenix was very calm and I didn't meet anyone new since the cohort sat together. After a quick layover in Phoenix, which was extremely hot, we got on the plane again to finally go to St. Louis, Missouri. On the plane, I sat next to a young lady of about twenty years old, but I couldn't get a conversation out of her since she was either asleep or had her earphones in throughout the entire flight. Our flight landed early and we arrived in St. Louis at about 1:30 PM.

Aerial view of the Arizona East Valley
As soon as our plane landed, we made our way to the baggage claim, but it took a while to finally collect our luggage. When we all finally had our luggage pieces, Mr. Chan-Law went to speak to the workers at transportation services to get our shuttle. The shuttle company claims to have shuttles coming back and forth to the airport every 15-30 minutes, but we ended up waiting for about 45 minutes. Finally we could leave the airport to go shower at the hotel. As I walked out of the airport, I felt a very strong gust of hot, humid wind and could tell that St. Louis's weather isn't ideal to walk around and sightsee.

After a 15 minute drive, we finally arrived to the hotel, The Charles F. Knight Center. This hotel has very a professional and elegant aesthetic, from its beautiful rug in the lobby to its clean-cut marble stairs. I was very impressed as soon as we arrived. While waiting for Mr. Chan-Law to check us in, we discovered that instead of having to share, all of us would have our own rooms since the hotel only offers single rooms. This was very pleasant to hear, since it's nice to be on your own sometimes.
The hotel lobby, complete with an intricate rug and modern features.

My hotel room.
My hotel room is very wide and open and has a light color scheme of olive green and tan hues. The room has a full bed, a comfortable reading chair, a flatscreen television, a full bathroom and a closet complete with an iron and hangers. I was very happy to see that the complimentary toiletries in the bathroom came from Bath and Body Works, one of my favorite stores.

After having 45 minutes to get ready, we all met up in the lobby to explore St. Louis, mainly the Gateway Arch and the Cardinals Stadium. First, we went to see the Arch in all its glory. To get there, we took the Metro. We were all surprised to see that not many people ride the Metro and that its goes by an honor system. Everyone is expected to buy a ticket and validate it, but no one actually asks the people if they bought their ticket or not. 

The Gateway Arch
When we arrived to the Arch, I was absolutely floored. It was a lot bigger than I had expected and it looked spectacular in the sunlight of the day. We all took many pictures of it and with it, but it was with much difficulty. After admiring the Arch, we entered the visitor center. In it, there is a museum about Westward Expansion which was actually very insightful. 

Me in front of the Arch (the trashcan
decided to photobomb me).
Following our trip to the Arch, we walked to the Cardinals Stadium since there was a game that was starting about an hour after we got there. There were red shirts and jerseys everywhere, partially due to the Cardinals game and partially due to the USA vs. Germany World Cup match that was going on as well. It was great to see so many people gathered together to celebrate these sports and teams that they have so much pride for. 

At this point we all decided that we were hungry so we chose a restaurant to eat at called Cardinals Nation. The whole restaurant was decked out in baseball decorations with the color red everywhere. The location of the restaurant was convenient too, since we were seated right across the baseball field and could see a bit of the action going on, to an extent.

Cardinals Nation restaurant.

As appetizers, we ordered nachos and buffalo wings. They were both delicious! The nachos were crunchy but had very decadent cheese on top, as well as crunchy jalapeños, tomatoes, bell peppers and olives. The buffalo wings were perfectly crisp and their sauce was flavorful, but not spicy. I couldn't stop eating either of the appetizers. 

As a main entrée, I ordered a filet mignon with mashed potatoes and broccoli on the side. The filet mignon itself was very juicy and tender but lacked a bit of flavor. After adding some salt, it was delicious and I devoured it, along with my potatoes and broccoli. The mashed potatoes were very good and cooked perfectly, but the broccoli was undercooked and very salty. However, I love broccoli no matter what so I ate it all anyway and ended with a perfectly clean plate.
The delicious food from Cardinals Nation.
By the end of the day I was completely exhausted and we returned back to our hotel at around 8:40 PM. Now Katelyn is with me in my room and we are writing away, hoping to finish our blogs soon and looking forward to tomorrow's adventure which will consist of a college tour in the morning and fancy dinner in the evening.

1 comment:

  1. We are honest ILC'ers and we do not cheat the transit system :)