Day 5 of trip to Land of Free & lots of choice
June 29, 2010

Today was the first day of the ICRS (International Christian Retailers Show). The exhibition hall opened at 8:30am and Janet and I met at 7:30am to take the bus to the conference centre so that we could register. It was incredibly well organised (but I shouldn’t be surprised). When I thought bus to the conference centre I thought mini-bus but it turned out to be a full-size large 52 seater, air-conditioned bus (of course it would be!). The conference centre is probably as big as the CTICC and this in a small mid-West city. American’s do everything big.

And oh, I am now reminded about another insight I have had about America. They are almost obsessed as much with weather as the Brits. Helen just loves the weather channel and so it is perpetually on in the hotel room so we have heard everything there is to hear about the oil spill in the Gulf and the current tropical storm Alex (the first of the season) that has developed in the Gulf. What makes matters worse is that my brother-in-law (Jeff) told Helen last night that you can now watch it online … now I have no doubt we will end up watching it at home too!

Janet and I spent the majority of the day at ICRS and we eventually finished there at about 3:30pm after having about 8 meetings throughout the day. It felt more like 20 meetings and because you end up saying the same thing time and time again it does get very tiring. It was quite an incredible exhibition with around 350 exhibitors. The ‘buyers’ tend to go around with a wheeled suitcase collecting free books, CDs and other items. It is amazing what you could collect over a day and it was incredible to see what some people did manage to collect! Janet and I limited ourselves to things we felt really worthwhile and we either declined or ditched the rest in the nearest bin.

The family spent the day doing some sightseeing in St Louis and they watched the World Cup matches on TV. They also spent some time on the roof of the hotel in the hotel pool. The hotel is 29 stories high and the pool is on top. Helen says the view is amazing from up there.

After Janet and I got back, the girls all went off shopping to a local outlet mall and they had dinner at the food court in the mall. The boys all went off the watch a baseball game – the St Louis Cardinals vs Arizona Diamondbacks. We had great seats in the 2nd tier half way between home plate and 1st base. It was in what they call a club – we would call a box. The stadium is really awesome (had to slip that in) and it is the first stadium I have been in with an escalator. Behind our seats were dedicated catering places just for ‘the club’ and so we had cheeseburgers & fries (along with the compulsory Bud for the men and cokes for the boys). Don’t misunderstand me, the catering wasn’ t included in ticket price – you still had to pay for your eats & drinks. The game started well for the Cardinals (2 runs in the first inning) but then they lost there way and at the bottom of the 9th were down 5 to 3. However, the Diamondbacks made 2 errors in the field which let the Cardinals back in and they won the game 6 to 5 in the final inning. Very exciting and quite enjoyable. While the baseball doesn’t occupy all the time, there is always something happening on the big screen. The kissing camera (they frame people who are then meant to kiss for everyone to see – fortunately they never did it with Jeff & me), the Bud camera (showing people drinking Budweiser – they could have done that with Jeff and me but alas they didn’t), the talent show (some kids who do something crazy things), some good looking girls shooting caps into the stands (local equivalent of the Bulls Babes) etc. It was also incredible to see everyone wearing red (the Cardinal’s color – yes that spelling error was intentional) – there was a hardly a person not wearing red. I was also quite surprised how many women were watching – a much higher proportion than you would find at a cricket or rugby match (or at least it felt like that for me). For Monday night there were a lot of people watching (just over 41000). Great atmosphere and also entertaining to watch my brother-in-law behave like a big kid for the evening (probably what I look like at a cricket match .. on second thoughts … no, not possible).

It has been a tiring day and it is now 11pm and I need to get to bed.

Yours from the Land that does everything BIG!

P, H, S, M & C

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