Part II: Queen Laurie and Princess Di
It was raining when we arrived in KC, but that was OK since we planned on spending the day in all the hotspots that you could access via The Link. The Link, by the way, is much nicer when you’re not hauling suitcases.
Our first stop was the Crown Center shops, which were a bunch of specialty shops of limited interest. Really, do we need separate stores for all-dog items and all-cat items? We made quick work of the shops and made our way back to Union Station. It’s a big, lovely thing but not a lot to do inside. There was something called “Science City” but it didn’t look like something worth paying for. Besides, I could see the life-size dinosaur from outside and that’s all I was interested in. We did walk through their gift shop, which of course you didn’t have to pay to go into.
The big attraction at Union Station these days in the Lady Diana exhibit. Big attraction to some. I never cared for Lady Di. It wasn’t so much her, but the way the media wouldn’t shut up about her that got on my last nerve. I have no interest in the Royal Family in general.
The Wife naturally wanted to see Di’s dresses and lipstick case and whatnot, so she paid the $23 admission fee while The Son and I got something to drink at the Chocolate Factory. I was told that it would take about 45 minutes to walk through the exhibit and The Wife went in a little before 6 p.m. We waited. And waited. And waited. To be fair, Lar is the type who has to read every word and look intensely at everything on display. So I could see her going an hour into it.
The exhibit closes at 7. As people kept filing out and the gatekeeper shut the gate and left, I began to wonder if I’d missed her. The Son and I walked in — the gatekeeper was gone so who was going to stop us? — and did a quick circle of the space. No Laura. Now I’m panicking. Because panicking is what I do best. You have to understand — Laura knows where all our money is. And most people only tolerate me because they love Laurie.
We shot back up the stairs to the main hallway, thinking maybe she was there waiting for us. She wasn’t. Did she go back to the hotel? She wouldn’t do that — we agreed to meet here. But she’s not here. We shoot back down the stairs and back into the exhibit hall, where I discover another room on the other side of the gift shop. Sure enough, there she was dawdling over some letter.
By now it was dinner time and we were going to go to the Crayola Cafe where they make food out of crayons, I think, but they were closed. So we walked down the hall to A Streetcar Named Desire and had a decent dinner. When we got back to the hotel we had to walk past the conference rooms again.
“Zombies line up to the right. Zombies to the right. Raarrgh like you mean it.”
Got back to the hotel and watched “Too Big to Fail” on HBO. Good cast. Probably a good movie if I understood what was going on.
The Wife had signed us up for the hotel’s “breakfast rate,” which was the same as the regular rate thanks to AAA but meant you got two free breakfasts. There was quite a line at the breakfast buffet but it moved quickly (unlike the guy responsible for bringing us coffee) and was well stocked. I like breakfast food, but not at breakfast time, but The Son ate enough to cover the cost.
After breakfast I noticed a large room near the entrance that had been converted into a Nerd Shoppers Paradise. God bless ConQuest. We walked through the door but some large nerd stopped us.
“We’re not open yet. We open at 10.”
I look at my watch. It’s 9:57. Two of the sci-fi authors sitting at their book signing tables look at their watches.
“It’s 9:57. Let them in.”
“Oh, OK. Come on in.”
“Why would you tell people not to come in when it’s two minutes from opening time?” one writer says to the other.
We did a brief walk-through, but a lot of the tables weren’t set up yet so I figured I’d come back later. There wasn’t anything of interest, to be honest. Costumes and weapons and old books.
We headed back to Union Station where we caught the bus to the Plaza. For the Kansas City-impaired, the Plaza is a large, outdoor shopping area. Mostly fru-fru stores but they did have a 3-story Barnes and Noble (graphic novels were on the third floor, naturally). There are also many statues and fountains in the area so we dragged The Son from spot to spot to take photos.
It was beastly hot on Sunday so we wound up going into many a store just for the air conditioning. Since we’re frugal travelers and had filled up at the breakfast buffet, we had a liquid lunch at Panera Bread, where you can sit in the AC and pour your own free refills.
We killed a few hours at the Plaza but when all was said and done all we left with was a small bottle of nail polish.
Very bright nail polish.
Coming up: The Thrilling Conclusion