7.02.2018

ping on the mississippi



Did you know that you should wear red underwear for luck  while traveling? I did, but I had almost forgotten until packing for my road trip. Oh yeah, I do have a pair of red underwear! Don't you?
  Also, Ping and most of her friends won't drink iced drinks, especially in the morning. Room temperature water, no ice. (Of course Ping begins her day with a boiled egg and a large helping of yogurt with an avocado, a banana, some blueberries and any other fruit available mixed in. She is unusual in that most people from Taiwan revile milk products, especially cheese, which she likes.) Lately she has discovered a taste for latte, so I put together a little kit for her to take home.
Ping saw the pyramid shining in the distance (top) from the bank of the Mississippi River. I tried to find it by eye, but almost took us back across the river to Arkansas, before getting lost again and then magically finding the parking lot. The pyramid was opened as an arena in 1991, hosting basketball games and the Rolling Stones. However, due to a series of problems, it went dark in 2007. In 2015, it opened as a Bass Pro shop, including a shooting range, restaurants and hotel as well as the Missouri organization's usual ourdoorsy huntin' and shootin' offerings. Think L.L. Bean to the millionth power.

  

Ping was incredulous. From a bridge, she filmed the huge catfish swimming in the store's pond. She took pictures of the alligators in their enclosure. And for the capper, we took the world's largest freestanding elevator to the apex of the pyramid.
   I was about done just on the $10 ride up, watching the racks of clothing and stuffed bears on the ground whoosh away. But when it came to going out on the observation platform, I hugged the inside wall as Ping bravely walked across the glass floor to the railing. Granted, the view of the city and The Big Muddy was staggering, but I din't need to get any closer to it.
   "Taoling, I don't think you afraid of anything!" Ping said.
   "Well, I'm afraid of heights."
   "Me too."
   "You were standing right next to the edge!" Just the memory, as I write this, gives me a frisson.
   But she gamely explored the entire perimeter as I nursed a bottle of the local Ghost River Gold at the Sky High Catfish Cabin bar around the aquarium. It was smack in the  center, about as far as from the edge as you can get.

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