Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kansas City: Toto we aren't even in Kansas anymore


Jordan and I almost didn't want to leave the Dollhouse in the morning. The last two days in Nashville had been absolutely amazing and we couldn't have asked for more welcoming, fun and awesome hosts. But we had an itinerary (aka a map that I had created from Photoshop in ten minutes) that we had to abide to, and I wasn't going to stray from it so early in the game.

After we said our goodbyes, we headed off to Kansas City, Missouri, our second stop. Now I just want to make it clear that the only reason why we even stopped in Kansas City is because we had to without driving for a ridiculous amount of time to Denver. So we caved.

First of all, it annoys me that it is called Kansas City but is in Missouri. If they were going to name a city Kansas City then why wouldn't they make sure it was in the state that it was named after? Why put it on the border? I just don't understand.

Second of all, upon arriving to Kansas City, I was dumbfounded. The streets were deserted, even though the city actually is pretty big. No one was out in the streets– it was bizarre. It was almost like a big movie set but without the extras. To say the least, and I mean this with the most respect for its citizens, but Kansas City gave me a weird vibe from the very beginning.

Nevertheless, we got in contact with our second host, Amanda, who I got to host us for the one night a week earlier. She lived in what her roommate called "Little Mexico," because of the huge population of Hispanics that lived there. According to her, Kansas City was made full of these pockets of different neighborhoods that were all divided by its inhabitants' ethnicities. There was a Polish neighborhood, a Korean neighborhood, a Jewish neighborhood: everyone was segregated.

Contrary to Little Mexico, however, Amanda was a tall, skinny white woman and her and her roommate were devout Christians. They even worked at their church. As in it was their career. This I did not expect.

Jordan and I had arrived in the city with good expectations, determined to give Kansas City the benefit of the doubt. Needless to say however, we were definitely not going to the bars that night. She had to get up early in the morning, which meant that we had to wake up at six o'clock too.

However, she was a very nice host and after we had a long, though slightly awkward conversation with Amanda and her roommate (he had just recounted to us the "crazy" time that he threw a sock party at the house), she laid out towels for us, showed us our twin beds that we were sleeping on, and gave us sheets and blankets.

When it came down to it, all we wanted was a bed and/or couch to sleep on, so I was very thankful. Even better, she surprised us by making us breakfast and coffee in the morning, which was already laid out on the table by the time we came downstairs. It was like I was at home with my mother. She then told us how to get to the Plaza, a popular shopping center where we could eat and go to the coffee shop to look for hosts in Denver.

Our adorable host Amanda's good morning to Jordan and I. 

We thanked her for her hospitality and gave her a surprise of our own. In Nashville we had given Jackie a jar of pickled okra that Jordan had gotten from North Carolina and we decided to continue the tradition for the rest of the trip. We had gotten Amanda a box of Goo Goo, a chocolate candy that originated in Nashville and is freakin delicious. I really hope that she actually liked chocolate like she said she did.

Apparently Kansas City is known for its fountains (they have more than any other city in the world besides Rome) and that became more clear to us once we got to the Plaza. There were fountains all over that shopping center; it was literally the most interesting thing that I had seen since I got to Kansas City.

Jordan and I immediately Yelped a coffee shop and made ourselves comfortable at a corner table next to an outlet and buried ourselves in the Couchsurfing website. We were going to be in Denver that night and had yet to send out a single request for a host.

All in all, Jordan and I cranked out ten requests each and our stories became steadily more and more comical. We were cracked out on iced coffee and eventually started to read aloud lines from our requests that were the most hilarious. 

In one of my interactions, I wrote: "If I could attach a venn diagram of our similar interests I would. In any case, we would have a lot of items in the middle."I then proceeded to copy and paste what he listed as "Interests" on his profile, and comment on each of them. Needless to say, I did not hear back from him.

After two hours in the coffee shop, Jordan got a call from a host that he sent a request to less than five minutes before. Her name was Constance and she said she would be happy to host us for the night. I looked over her profile– she had rainbow-colored dreadlocks, looked homey and liked making facial scrubs. Good enough for me.

Jordan and I high-fived each other and then split up. I went in search of a quick gift for our new host Constance while Jordan went to grab the car.

There was no time to lose– we had to get the hell out of Kansas City. 

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