OK - we got in to the airport at 9 last night. There is the MetroLink option - cheap, but you have to walk upstairs and 1/2 way acroos the airport to get to it and it stops a few blocks from the hotel. Then there is the shuttle for $15.00 per person, but it stops at all the hotels of the other people in the shuttle. Then there was a cab. For the two of us it was $38.00 to get to the hotel. Not much more than the shuttle and way more convenient. We checked in without too many problems. None of the rooms here have 2 queen beds - its either one king or two double (full) sized beds. The room is nice- the bathroom is very nice. Everything is clean and new looking and so far everyone has been nice. The best news is they have two seperate elevator banks with 6 elevators each, so getting back to your room after an event empties won't be as horrible as in other years. They brought us a fridge (but it took 40 minutes to get it). There is a coffee maker in the room. Room service was backed up - it was going to take 40-45 minutes to get food. The bell desk told us there was no fast food in walking distance. So Daniel got me water from the gift shop and I setteled for that. He ate the half sandwich I didn't want from earlier that day. This AM we got room service in 30 minutes. Yummy cinnamon roll french toast. Nice oatmeal with carmelized bananas. The bacon here is really good, but it is pepper bacon and really peppery. I am going to wander down and check out credentialling and see what there is to see in a little bit. Will report back later on that.
Ok - back again after a full day of bustling around. They have a lot of nice jackets here. The usual assortment of shirts - but no shirts with all the competitors' names listed. Mope. I bought two jackets and a bunch of pins. Oh - no totebags, but they do have duffles and backpacks. And those skate bags with lighting wheels and flat tops - I forget the brand name - but they do not have a logo - so why bother. Kurt Browning is doing a book signing today during the Novice events. But they let you buy the book in advance and he will sign it. So I did that.
The hotel is now out of refrigerators. That didn't last long. The registration people are very nice and everything seems very well organized. They are going to all kinds of extra trouble to make sure kids who come in late and have early practices have what they need - and they have info booths at the airport and here at the hotel - and the people in them so far have been both nice AND well-informed - you often get the nice part, but it is great to have both. We had an OK dinner last night - the restaraunt was not really our usual sort of place and we went elsewhere for dessert - tried this "gooey butter cake" I keep reading about. It is basically a very dense poundcake with a caramelly top.
We walked to the riverfront and then we walked to the city museum. We saw the arch - and we said "yup, that's an arch all right".We saw one of the gambling boats, but the smell of smoke was so strong we could not even go near the entrance. The city museum is a great place for kids. It is full of stuff made of recycled building materials - sliding bits and climbing bits and run round it bits. I am not sure why it is called a museum. I supose they imagine all that stuff is art - I would call it a playground myself. Anyway - we walked through it and determined our friends' son (Marshall) could easily spend an entire day just in the "make your own stuff" room. Then we left. It was a LOT of walking. Overall I am left with the impression that the part of St. Louis we are in may as well be the downtown of anywhere. Except most of it seems to be closed now. It is all being converted to lofts and pretty much the only things open here are a few restaurants - some of which seem too trendy for their own good - and a bunch of sales offices for the aforementioned lofts. And a lot of it is really run down and scary looking. Although no one has been scary to us. Several panhandlers appoached us and they all greet us with a lovely "hello - how are you all" before they start in to the business of begging. Quite civilized.
More and more skaters and officials are showing up - though no one from Toyota - the first of them (Mike Modro and Katie Uhlig and Burt Lancon) all arrive this evening. Most of the rest of the group come in Monday evening. Well - tomorrow is our first trip to the Family Arena. We may be bumming a ride with friends - so I may not be able to give a shuttle bus report quite yet, but you will be able to hear how tight "security" is and how it is to get those granola bars in !! I will be watching all the Novice events except dance - we are going to dinner during that one. I should be able to type up my notes this evening.