I first used AirBnb when Colleen and I first traveled to Maine together. Since then we have used it going ‘cross country. It has been a mixed bag of delight and puzzlement. The pictures are true. I simply refuse to believe my eyes. So, we end up in interesting places. Some of them spook Colleen. Ha ha! Others turn out to be too brief interludes of fun. Kansas City – Missouri or Kansas side? First of all, in the middle of nowhere on a dark and deserted street… a jazz bar – with real music. Unique, one of a kind, sparsely attended, we found it and sat in. Then, onward to our accommodation. Oddly decorated for an apartment building, it was spartan digs with odd flourishes such as an unfinished stone shower. Serviceable, not inviting. Charm is in the eye of the beholder. Colleen was not bowled over. We stayed but a night. I remember the bar/lounge. The music? No. And the room? Nope, not even the odd uninviting shower. Kansas City – it’s in the USA?
The New York Times likes to publish articles about 36 hours in…. ‘you name the city.’ Here is my … evening in Kansas City. We arrived after dark. It was really a pass-through heading to Denver. But since I had been here last year, I had some foreknowledge. We chose Grunauer Restaurant and the Red Lady Lounge. The restaurant is a German restaurant with schnitzel my latest favorite food. It is a pounded thin cutlet breaded and fried up. There were alternate selections for my gluten free vegetarian companion. The restaurant was not crowded and the meal was great. We can’t predict traffic and could not schedule any events. Perfect. The other “drop in” was the Red Lady Lounge. I am not a bar person. I don’t drink alcohol. But jazz is fun: no cover: dark: in a very untraveled part of town. In other words, you would not necessarily go here or want to park your car here. The music was good. The sound was poorly balanced. Hey, it was live and we sat next to the organ. Impromptu jamming, a very laid back relaxed atmosphere, it was a very pleasant end to the day. Yes, we packed a lot into one evening in KC.
We stay in Airbnb now. Rooms for less with a whole lot more charm. They are all different. Neighborhoods and accommodations vary a lot. Some are more interesting. Some are a bit scary. In this particular place the owner left her cats behind and we were tasked with feeding them. No problem. I can do this. I have cat experience. They were friendly and curious and tried to get outside. The sign at the door warned – no matter how much they beg, do not let them out!
…Lounge. It’s a dive bar. Dark. It’s listed as a top destination for jazz in Kansas City. We were there twice for three groups. You’d be afraid to open the door. The neighborhood was deserted – both nights – at 7PM! The music was great. We guessed about the bio of the musicians. Two of three groups were music educators playing a gig on the side. The third was the house band. The singer’s name was on the drink menu. That was pretty cool. The band wore tie and jacket. We wore jeans. It was all cool. Jazz!
It’s the name of a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in the 1856. It held 200 tons of artifacts preserved in the river silt. It’s fascinating. The river channel would flood and then shift as much as a mile at that time. The boat was found in a corn field 40 feet down below the surface of the ground and below the water table. Everything preserved was a muddy mess. But they recovered an amazing trove of artifacts. The goods were destined to fill general stores up river. Multiple redundant products were recovered.
They found cigars preserved in their boxes. And shoes…and clothes pins. The good news is that everyone on board survived. Only the goods sank and were preserved. Everything was covered in mud. Things cleaned up rather well. And they even tasted the pickles in the jars. They were still edible. I would not have tried one. Impressive…daring.
I’m not complaining. Well, I am. On Monday morning there is nothing open in Kansas City except the brewery tour. Museums are all closed – Art and Jazz. Darn! So we took a tour of the Boulevard Brewery. I don’t drink. Ha! I learned a lot about the history of craft beer. And I learned that some beers are made in small batches on occasion. That would be like a seasonal brew. Some of it is just for local consumption.
Wouldn’t you know it. (You can see this coming…) There was a very nice sample tasted but not available in the beer shop. Ah! It’s available in Target. Really? Off to the store…nope! Out. Not available. One liquor store told us to go to a competitor. No again. Well, we were on our way to somewhere else and passed one more liquor store. The video record shows me in about a dozen stores. Ha ha I was not casing them though most had lots of bars on the windows. Yeah, the neighborhoods were sketchy. Voila! Draft! Found some on tap and got it in growlers. I’ve never heard the term before either. But you can get it in containers. Yes, it’s very different from my adventure in the Middle East.