This last weekend, my wife and I spent the weekend in St. Louis for our anniversary. We couldn't afford a huge vacation, but this one turned out to be just right. While there, I noticed quite a few differences in St. Louis and Little Rock.
- Churches. I didn't see very many. There was one old church right by the arch downtown. That's pretty much it. I was restricted to what I could see from trains and buses (more on that below)
- Proselytizing. I didn't see any of this. I didn't see any "In God We Trust" signs, I didn't see any overt signs of religiosity. I didn't even see a single Christian fish on any cars, but it's possible I was just in the right place at the right time. Today however, I was reminded once again that I live in the south. While renewing my driver's license I noticed the state of Arkansas was selling "In God We Trust" license plates.
- They have a SCIENCE CENTER in St. Louis. We went, it was incredibly cool. While we were there we saw an exhibit called BodyWorlds. Basically it's real human bodies that have been persevered using a process known as plastination. They basically take these real human bodies and take all the skin off, and in some cases remove bits of the body and then turn them into works of art. The goal is to teach people about their own anatomy, and I must say, I was expecting for it to turn my stomach a bit, but I was so fascinated by the science of it, my mind was able to overcome any sickness I might have felt. If you get a chance to see this show, definitely do it.
- The St. Louis Zoo has an exhibit on Evolution. It's the first thing you see when you come into the building, right as part of the entrance hall. They have an animatronic Darwin, and a model of "Lucy". You can check out all the photos on my flickr page here.
- Public Transportation. We basically flew in to the airport, and took a train within 3 blocks of our hotel. Then we went to the Zoo, the Science Center, the Missouri History Museum and lots of other places, just via Train and Bus. Being from a city that only has buses and some cable cars that don't actually go anywhere, this was a bit mind blowing. Why can't Little Rock have something like this?
- There are two, count'em two, memorials to Thomas Jefferson. One of them is the old court house, and the other is now the home of the Missouri History Museum. I took the opportunity to pick up a pocket Constitution, and a copy of Christopher Hitchens' biography on Jefferson.
All in all it was a fun and interesting trip. I would suggest if you are stuck in the deep south of the bible belt, it is refreshing to step slightly outside the belt from time to time for a breath of fresh air. You might be surprised at what you find.
Note: I haven't forgotten about the Bible Study Project, in fact I have two more posts in the works, one on the second creation story and one on the Noah story. They should be coming in the next day or so.