Sunday, March 30, 2003

Will blogs never cease?

My nephew Sam, a student at Washington University in St. Louis, writes: “I read your blog on the Indianapolis trip, and noted the part near the bottom where you mention the drive reminding you very much of the drive out of downtown St. Louis. Lindell/Olive (the street you're referring to) is probably one of the most well-maintained streets in the city. It really doesn't pass any of the slums, runs past the most affluent neighborhood in the city, and Forest Park (not Fair Park) simultaneously, and ends in an ultimately confusing and suicidal traffic circle right at the foot of Wash. U (not 200 feet or so from Givens, the architecture building in which I spend most of my waking and sleeping hours). It is an interesting drive indeed.”

My favorite place on that drive is the new Cathedral of St. Louis, a neo-Byzantine wonder, but I will take that up some other time. I am not quite done with Indy.

While I was out seeing the corporate sights, Yuriko, Lilly and Ann spent their days downtown. It wasn’t the best of trips for Yuriko, since she is welded to a two-month-old infant. But for Lilly, any trip that involves a hotel stay means that wonder of wonders: the hotel pool. Last year, the marvels of Montreal were only incidental to her. What she wanted, and got, were many trips to the hotel pool. Washington DC lobbyists can’t hold a candle to a five-year-old determined to go swimming in an exotic pool.

The Hampton Inn in downtown Indianapolis doesn’t have a pool. It is a renovated railroad hotel, with small but nicely appointed rooms, but apparently adding a pool was beyond the budget. Still, guests can use the pool at the Embassy Suites, a few blocks away. By the time I got back on the first day at about 4 p.m., Yuriko had already taken Lilly to that pool once. Lilly wanted to go back, of course, but Yuriko really wanted to use the hot tub. Since I couldn’t go swimming in my cast, I would take care of Ann while everyone else got wet. So off we went.

It was a little tricky getting there. The only way (it seemed) up from the street to the third-floor Embassy Suites lobby was via a long escalator. I can navigate escalators in my cast, but Ann’s baby stroller was another matter. We took the stroller up the escalator, but I knew I didn’t want to take it down — which I suppose Yuriko had done after their first visit to the pool, a true white-knuckle experience.

The pool itself was what I expected. A large bucket bubbling with small children. Lilly had a fine time. Yuriko soaked in the hot tub. I feed Ann a little formula once, and she slept a little.

When we were done, I wanted to take an elevator to the street. So I wandered over to the front desk, my cast and cane visible, our baby stroller not far behind. If ever there were candidates for an elevator, we were them.

“Excuse me,” I said to the young woman behind the desk. “Where is an elevator to the street?”

“Elevator?” she replied, her expression baffled, as if I had asked directions to the magic carpet for a spin around the atrium.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m willing to give this woman the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps her mind was in neutral just at the moment I asked something no one had ever asked her. In any case, another woman immediately answered my questions, directing me to an elevator for the handicapped that went to the second floor — and from which you can proceed via footbridge to Circle Centre Mall, the major retail property downtown, which also happens to have elevators to street level.

Lilly went to the pool one more time, the next day, while I was working. That wasn’t all my family did in Indy, though it may seem that way. They also spent time in Circle Centre, where Yuriko bought Lilly a nice Easter dress for not much money, and some time in the room, watching cable. Cable is a treat, since we don’t have it at home. I was able to see only a little myself this trip — most notably a few minutes of TV Land one night. It was either a late episode of “Happy Days,” quite clearly after the Fonze (and the series) had Jumped the Shark; or a bit of the short-lived successor series, “Joanie Loves Chachie.” (I refuse to check the spelling of that name.) Anyway, it was awful. Some things are best left in the past.

Tomorrow: The GAR and me.


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