I love Mardi Gras! I may have mentioned it before, but I do.
I had planned on going to New Orleans this year for the festivities, and I was REALLY excited about it. But in the end, it just wasn't financially doable. With the bathroom remodel, a potential new roof this summer, not to mention that I spent more money than I planned on just a few months ago on my Caribbean vacation...my checking account was raising the white flag.
Toast and I were lamenting not being able to go this year (as she was also planning on joining us), and she was just going to "stay at home, make gumbo, and pout" for the weekend. I don't know how we got on the subject of St. Louis, but in an effort to salvage our plans, we decided to check out the Soulard Mardi Gras, because a trip less than $250 was much more reasonable than a trip that was escalating to $1000.Well Hell Michelle also joined us for a short-notice weekend jaunt to the Gateway to the West.
In a rental, we hauled ass to St. Louis on Friday, averaging 82mph, because there is only one good way to get to St. Louis...fast. We made a brief pitstop at Ozarkland, which is not so much a cheesey redneck souvenir shop, but an experience. Where else can you find a kitten on a shirt with the word "Missouri" bedazzled on the front? Or a resin of a confederate flag and a big mouth bass jumping over it? Pink cowboy hat with a rhinestone brim?With Toast fully mortified, and ourselves in possessions of fuzzy hats in Mardi Gras colors, we left Ozarkland behind, but forever to dwell in our hearts.
Finally in St. Loius, and driving around in circles, we finally found our hotel. A bus from Lawrence pulled up right when we were taking our luggage inside, and half the population of Larryville spilled out of the bus onto the sidewalk. Little tanorexic bleach blonds in Ugg boots and KU shirts. Jeebus, there is no escaping them!
Deciding dinner was in order, we boarded the metrolink (STL rail system), and rode the rail for an hour before we decided we didn't know where we were going, and just went back the way we came. Meanwhile, I saw across from a nicely dressed guy on his cell phone, explaining the concept of "dumpster diving".
"Yeah, you know what dumpster diving be?...Well, you go in those dumpsters and get stuff out that people throw away...You can find all kinds of food and stuff...The corn is okay because it has a husk, but apples aren't good...But I don't like that it's dirty...And there are mice and rats...Why can't the dumpsters be clean, yo!"
He was too well dressed to be homeless (his shoes alone were $300 pair). Too fashionably dressed to be a Freegan. But definitely not smart enough to realize that it's dirty because its a FUCKING TRASH DUMPSTER!!
Fun rail ride over, we found a nice little sushi place on the Landing called The Drunken Fish. If you are ever in St. Louis and have a hankering for some delicious sushi, check this place out.
At the end of the night, we retired to our room and rested for the big day-o-fun.
The next day, we bundled ourselves in layers because it was a robust 27 degrees outside. Thank God for the fuzzy hats!The parade lasted 2 hours, and we got pretty good parade watching spots, scored a shit-load of beads, and nary a nipple was exposed. After the parade, we waited another half-hour to use the bathroom, and walked around. Some of the key sights seen: a man in a kilt flashing people, a couple unremarkable boob flashings (mine look better), a dude pissing on a dumpster (cleaning it, perhaps?), and thousands of drunk people milling about. At some point, Michelle started counting Ugg boots because apparently, it's now required that you own a pair when you attend a college in the Midwest. For the boys, it's RealTree camo gear or a Carhardt jacket.Twelve hours later, she stopped counting at 340 pairs of Uggs, namely because we got tired of counting...and all the girls started looking the same and it was hard to keep track of who we counted and who we didn't. For Saturday's entertainment, Michelle and I sat in the lobby to watch, and possibly, make fun of the drunk, obnoxious people that rolled in through the lobby. We had free drink coupons to the hotel bar, but the bar had been closed early because the drunken KU botards were representin' to the point they had to close. Assholes.
So, we just sat and observed our own personal drunken ant farm. Of note:
-Cleetus and Co. did try to invite us up to their hotel room to "party". Michelle told them no, but if they waited ten minutes, some easy girls would return and they would be more than happy to help them out.
-Bubba yelled at me "Tits for Beads". I declined and observed that he looked like he had two of his own to look at.
-Drunken Lady hurts her ankle and falls down in the hotel lobby. She slurrily yells at the Barbie Clan in the corner for watching her, and me for smiling at her. In my defense, I wasn't smiling...I was smirking.
Because Michelle is a Librarian, and she has huge undercurrent of Geek Mojo, the biggest nerds in the entire hotel gravitate towards where we are sitting, with weak-assed jello shots in tow. Med Student Nerd is clearly not in his element among drunken Larryville, and excuses himself early. Law Student Geek and Architect Geek are equally unremarkable. But Michelle, who has drank 3 pink lemonade and vodkas while waiting for the Drunk Obnoxious People to arrive, has now turned into one.
So, during that time frame, she demands that one girl fall on her face, loudly debates whether one girl is a call-girl or just a rich college girl, calls one KU student gay (he pretty much deserved it), and yells at countless drunken college students for various infractions like playing the hotel piano poorly, having the douche-bag hair cut, wearing pajama pants, leaving their garbage in the lobby, being part of a group who's biggest aspiration was to have sex in the elevator, and just being boring.
Around 3am, I call it a night. As I cross the lobby to the elevators (which were up and running by that time), Michelle yells, "Fuck you and your Apple Bottom Jeans!"
Back in the room, Michelle has returned for a drink refill. Because I am done for the night and I have a big drive home to make in the morning, Toast is tagged in to watch Michelle for the second shift because we don't want Dangerboy to be mad at us if his wife gets arrested, although I am fairly confident that someone is probably going to punch her before the night is over. That shift only lasts an hour, and the Duo returns where Michelle unceremoniously genuflects before the Porcelain God. ("Prodigiously!" explains Toast)
It is now 4:45 am.
Later that morning, we prepare to leave, but not before a green Michelle spews like a KC fountain outside the elevators into a St. Louis newspaper. Who says print news isn't relevant???
We make it home without incident...carrying beads, memories, a bad hangover, and clothes that were put under boil order before they could be washed.
Aside from the college students behaving like, well, children who had found the keys to Mom and Dad's liquor cabinet, it was a fun weekend, but cold. It was so cold, I could've cut glass with my nipples.
An experience I may or may not want to repeat again. Cold being a factor, the college students being another. I'm told it's warmer in NOLA, and college students are easy to avoid if you stay off Bourbon Street. Toast and I discussed going to NOLA, maybe next year. We'll see what the new year and the economy bring.
Meanwhile, I will be at the blogger meetup tonight, handing out some beads. Flashing optional, but I may make you work for them.