To celebrate our 4th of July weekend, we headed south to St Louis, Missouri.
On Saturday, we arrived during the air show, which was part of the weekend festivities. The St Louis Cardinals baseball stadium is located right next to the interstate, which was also neat to see. We had planned to eat lunch at "Sweetie Pie's", which we had seen on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. However, upon arriving in the area of the "dive", all we could see were abandoned buildings, graffiti, numerous "homies" from "da hood." Needless to say, we braved the area and got out of our car...only to jump back in it less than a minute later.
Later that night, we went to Gateway Arch in downtown St Louis. There was a fair and John Legend also performed before the fireworks begun. The fireworks were great but our favorite part was the little girl sitting behind us. While the fireworks went off, she said things like, "I'm having so much fun!" and other funny sayings. You can hear her voice in the fireworks video. We enjoyed everything...except for all the smokers in the area. The traffic going home was horrendous, but we finally made it back to our hotel 90 minutes later.
Sunday, we attended a new ward in a very poor area of East St Louis. Testimony meeting was very touching and funny. First off, an older black woman stood up and rather than bearing a testimony, she announced that she loved everyone but had her "favorites" in the ward. She then proceeded to invite her "favorites" over for a BBQ lunch after church. Unfortunately, I dont think she understood that she probably made all of the "non-favorites" feel left out. Later, a young black man with a 6 month old baby stood up and bore a great testimony. He shared that he and his family had not been to church in a long time and their lives were getting worse. He then concluded that you can't blame God if you aren't doing your part. It was a humbling and spiritual meeting as we realized how much we actually have and how blessed we are. After church, we visited the beautiful St Louis temple, which is also located directly next to the interstate. It was a wonderful Sunday.
Monday morning, we visited the St Louis Zoo. It is FREE and was very impressive. Our favorite part was the penguin house, which allows guests to see penguins in their habitat just feet away from them. We also liked the leaping lemurs, which, as usual, provided hilarious entertainment!
We had a great time in St Louis!