Lifestyle and Entertainment

Stranded in St Louis!

Iona Ravindran
January 17, 2024
5 min read
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You may have heard of the song, or the seen the film, Meet Me in St Louis, from the 1944 American Christmas musical of the same name. Well this year I wasn’t so much as taking a flying visit to St Louis, Missouri, to see the remnants of the 1904 World Fair in Forest Park and sing along to the musical’s catchy tunes, as I was living in St Louis for three months, with my then six-months old baby and husband. My husband was collaborating with a team at Washington University in St Louis, and, being on maternity leave, my daughter and I went along for the ride.  

Let’s just say Americans work very hard. As does my husband. So my daughter and I had a lot of time to kill in the day just the two of us. And perhaps foolishly in hindsight for living in America, we didn’t have a car. Even though I love to walk, not having a car in the US does limit your options for getting about somewhat! So we walked, a lot (at this stage I also had a daughter who did not like the concept of day-time napping), in the vicinity of our apartment block. Round and round and round, every day. I think the blocks near where we stayed will be etched in my memory forever. Happily so, as as I said I love walking, but with a sense of wistfulness too, for reasons I’ll explain...

We were very lucky. We stayed in Central West End, on the edge of Forest Park and near to some of St Louis’ most beautiful 18/1900s-esque family homes. But also close to the well-known, for the far sadder reason of the practice of redlining, Delmar Boulevard. St Louis has the richest history (learn all about it at the famous St Louis Arch visitor centre, I’d highly recommend!), and it was all around me, every single day of my stay, literally for hours.

But wistfulness because the disappointing thing was that, in the moment, I couldn’t access it. Imagine if I’d been able to walk my dear daughter in her chariot to a story of how the streets around me developed, and how the rich merchants of St Louis rose to their riches and fame. Imagine if, exactly where I stood, I could open my guidl app and see what story I could listen to and look up with next. My smartphone (with a generously gifted large data plan from my husband!) could have enabled so much more than (albeit lovely) calls with home. There was so much fascinating ‘stuff’ to learn right on our doorstep, and I would have loved the chance to do so.  

The good news is: guidl will allow this. People who know stuff will be able to tell others, like me. People like me, in need of perhaps a bit of stimulation and distraction, will be able to learn. One day, we hope every street in every city (and countryside too) across the world will have a guidl on it. Just imagine the potential to cheer up someone’s day.

Come on and join the guidl movement. We’d love to have you!

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