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Your lifestyle, your quirk
While making a pit stop to the great city of St. Louis, my group and I made our way over to the big Gateway Arch. It’s a tradition; we go every year we attend national SkillsUSA competitions, and we always manage to have a good time.
Last year, my engineering instructor literally forced me to go up in the Arch. I’d been to St. Louis a year or so before then, but was scared and didn’t want to go up. I told him I’d been in it. He didn’t buy it for a second, and almost bought my ticket for me.
Mind you, I get a little claustrophobic sometimes, and I don’t like to be in close proximity to strange people, so putting me in the oversized washing machine that is the Arch’s transportation was terrifying for me. It looks like a tiny space pod. I hated it. I even cried. Yes, I’ll admit it. I was tearful. I’ve also never said so many four-letter words in a short space of time. When you get to the top, it’s not so bad because it’s open and you can see out of the windows. It still didn’t sit too well with me because I’m not fond of heights, particularly in large metal contraptions built several years ago that stand six hundred feet in the air and sway back and forth at least ten feet at the top.
But that’s just me. If I could’ve gotten over my fears, I definitely would have loved it. My teammates did, for sure. It really is a beautiful view from the top. You can see St. Louis’ stadium, the hotels, the river…it’s really impressive.
This year, when we went back, I decided not to go up in the arch for the more obvious reasons listed above. I still enjoyed myself, though! The park surrounding the monument is gorgeous; the trees are tall and green, and the grass is so thick that when I laid in it, reading The House of Leaves, it was buoyant enough to hold my arms off the ground. There were robins and bunnies hopping all over the place, so I was entertained for the few hours my classmates spent in the arch.
Below the arch (that’s how you enter, from underground), there’s a natural history museum that’s pretty cool. They’ve got coins, stuffed horses and a buffalo, guns, pioneer cabin set-ups…all kinds of fun stuff! The exhibits are always really interesting.
There’s also a gift shop with shirts, books, and other money-suckers. I’m not going to lie to you, though, I love gift shop paraphernalia. Last year, I bought a book about Geronimo and loved it! He was an Apache warrior and pretty much a kickass guy.
Underneath the Arch, there’s also an old “general store” type candy shop. You can buy lots of things, including food, cook books, candy, and more. It’s a nice place to grab some snacks.
While I may not have enjoyed my trip to the top of the Arch, I can appreciate its significance and recommend it to others. That is, others who aren’t as chicken as I am!