After a period of familarity, it is common for individuals to arrive at nicknames for their friends. I don't remember how we arrived at this conclusion, but we agreed upon Seinfeld character names for the technology team. We had a Elaine, George, Kramer, and Newman. When you are hungry and tired at ten in the evening and looking at another two hours of work, those nicknames really seemed to fit. My Seinfeld name was none of the above.
During that time, one of our team leads passed away. Theresa lent levity and a sardonic wit to our band of friends. Her love of life burned bright, and we miss Theresa to this day.
When we are on the road, we make every effort to find local establishments. They often provide a view into the area's unique flavor. One of our teammates was from India, and he was referred to a local Indian restaurant. This eatery is called the India Palace.
The restaurant occupied Howard Johnson's (HOJO's) top floor. HOJO's is located a mile north of St Louis Lambert Airport. The commercial airport shares space with Missouri Air National Guard. We had a fanstastic night time view of plane landings and takeoffs.
Personally, I do not eat much Indian food. Even with a very mild Tandoori, my body rebels, and sweat oozes out of every pore. However, for the sake of team unity, I and my fellow mates made a few trips into this gastronomical wonderland.
We made a trip one day before a big meeting. That night was very sleepless for a few of our team members. The next morning, presentations were given, and two of us sat laptops at the ready. Tactically, we made a conscious decision to sit next to the door. We also took turns taking notes, as one of us was always in the bathroom for about the first two hours of that day. We abstained from eastern cuisine for the next several months.
Early on, we stayed at the Drury Inn, JW Marriott, and Renaissance by Lambert Field. Like HOJO's, the Renaissance overlooks the airfield, except it does so at the sourthern end. In case you forget to set your alarm, a pair of F-15's will buzz by at 6:00 am. The Renaissance is a converted Stouffer's Hotel, has a small bar and single restaurant in the lobby. After many late nights of coming home to no hot food and limited night time entertainment, we grew tired of the isolated Renaissance. We then decided to try our luck downtown.
Our first stop was the Marriott by Busch Stadium. We stayed at the so-called 'twin towers' for one night only. Then we moved down the street to the Hyatt Union Station. This turned out to be brilliant.
Union Station is exactly what it sounds like, a renovated train station. A regional-area light rail carries passengers from the hotel parking lot to the airport. Union Station is just blocks from the Kiel Center, home of the St Louis Blues, and a few blocks away from a popular bar/outdoor patio concert area for five hundred partygoers. The station itself houses a shopping mall, numerous bars, and restaurants. Attached is a Hooters, and directly outside are the Hard Rock Cafe and Landry's Seafood Restaurant.
After returning home after 22:00, yet again, our team gushed 'wow, we feel like human beings again.' Instead of returning to our dungeon at the Renaissance, we were treated to sight of other people, some shopping, accessible and very tasty food choices. We had arrived!