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USA - NY to LA - 2001
Kansas City. What an experience. The inner city appears to be completely dead. Huge parking lots without a single car - or maybe just two!

Very high buildings - all closed. No shops, absolutely no one walking, so no one to ask directions of. We drove around and around in circles in the late afternoon sunlight. It felt like a Hollywood Movie called "Apocalypse - After".
We finally found an man on the street who directed us to "Crown Center" off to the south.

Photo from Kansas City´s website

Actually the main office of the Hallmark Card Company, they have built a very high class indoor mall around their offices. Probably thought that the center of KC was no place for their employees to have to spend time.

Anyway, there we found a Hotel. The desk man knew that there was an internet café "someplace" in Westport - an older suburb - and he looked up the address for us.

Crown Center is one of those buildings with a muddy floor plan; corridors and elevators and halls that turn corners. You can't tell if you are going north or south. There was, however an outdoor-like area with trees and waterfalls and daylight from above.

Among other things to see at Crown Center were a lot of cows. Hundreds of artist-created cows were to be found all over Kansas City. Each one unique, of course. This one is playing jazz which KC has long been famous for. It has also been famous for cows in large groups, of course.

Lasse really liked the cows and bought a T-shirt with cow emblazoned. The normal tourist reaction!

We found The Westport Coffee House complete with Internet Computers.

Westport looked more of less like New York's Greenwich Village on a smaller scale; charming old low rise buildings, green trees and lots and lots of people on the streets visiting the shops and cafés.

Returning later to the center of town we tried to get back on the motorway and were totally frustrated by "one way" streets, lack of street signs and hundreds of old fashioned un-automatic traffic lights stopping us at every corner - in spite of the fact that we were pretty much all alone on the streets.
Then a miracle happened. While stopped at a red light, Ingrid was frantically studying our map when a man in the car beside us asked if she needed help!!!

She explained that we had hoped to find the motorway again. He tried then to explain how to drive to the on-ramp but he couldn't - it was just too difficult. So he offered to lead us there. He did and waved us off on our trip. Believe me, we would never have found it on our own. The only ramp is unmarked and hidden from view to boot.

How now, brown cow!

On our whole trip we never saw or experienced anyone else ever starting up a conversation between our two cars while we waited at a signal. I have a theory that the man was actually Ingrid's guardian angel.

Our blessings on that unknown man.


© Ann Thulin © Lars Thulin,
© Per Thulin, © Ingrid Hansson
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