Definitely not the weather we expected
20.03.2012 - 28.03.2012 23 °C
After hearing Paddy talk about Des Moines a lot over the last few years, I was convinced it would be FREEZING and prepared myself for the excitement and indoor confinement of snow. Alas, it was not to be. Unseasonal weather not only in Australia but all over the USA meant it was warm and sunny and there was absolutely no need to have brought our winter coats (yet). Hey, I'm not complaining - I like it warm.
We met Daryn at the airport and he took us straight out to Thicket Cove to meet Eileen and see their new residence, having just sold their house earlier that day. Very coincidental! We hung out there for a while with BJ and Jody (their good friends and future neighbours) then went to Sharon Circle - a great name, if I say so myself. Daryn had made delicious pasta and it was exactly what we needed after a long day travelling and a long week on pretty shitty food.
Our second day involved a trip to Costco - my GOD what a great shop. You have to buy a membership to be able to shop there, but it would be totes worth it for the savings. The only thing is, once you buy something you better be prepared to use it for a looooong time, because everything is HUGE. Bags of chips - 907g. Boxes of muesli bars - nothing less than 40 bars. Cuts of meat - 2kg+. Best of all - pretty much any type of spirits, including premium vodka like Grey Goose - no more than $25 for 1.75l. YES. It is possible this could lead to a tendency to drink and eat far too much...
At Daryn and Eileen's house we saw they had a dart board. Fantastic! Exactly what we wanted to do as we've both discovered a newfound love of darts, me winning, and Paddy losing. Hahaha. The suburbs of Des Moines look just like the suburbs you'd picture when you think of American burbs, with trees everywhere (including beautiful dogwoods covered with white flowers), wide streets, clean, multiple levels...just like on TV. I don't doubt it can be pretty frosty and awful in the winter but it was hard to see that when the weather was so nice!
We went to a sushi place in West Des Moines for lunch and it was the greatest sushi I've ever eaten in my life. Kind of strange for a place about 1000km from the nearest ocean. We ate so many delicious foods while in Des Moines, including Eileen's famous chicken noodle soup, Vietnamese curry soup, guacamole and jalapeno margaritas, AJs steakhouse at the casino and I even made my eggplant lasagne one night too. Yum! I can sense fatness imminent. We've still managed to avoid sausage biscuit and whoopie pies. We also went to Oakmoor gym a few times to offset said fat, but I'm not sure how useful it is when you're eating twice your weight. Add to that the fact Daryn and Paddy drank a shitload of vodka and mineral waters a few nights and pretty much all the health benefits of the gym are out the window.
Sunday we went to Thicket Cove to pick up bikes and rode across a huge bridge that used to be a train track. It had these funny iron bars all around it that light up at night. On the other side of the bridge, a guy told us about the history of the bridge and the cycling tracks and showed us a photo of it at night. The iron bars all have small lights in them which form a pattern at night, which looked pretty cool. After the ride we went over to the Flat Tire bar. I'm not kidding, about a thousand people would have passed through that day. At least. Heaps of cycling tracks cross through Iowa and there's a cross-state fun ride people do which sounded awesome (and you would love it Dude!). I wish we could come back for the ride!! We went back to Thicket for the chicken noodle soup and sat around the bonfire, played 'bags' (a game where you chuck mini bean bags into holes on wooden boards about 6m away), observed poison ivy*, and patted the dogs.
Eileen took us out to Prairie Meadows on our last night for a bit of gambling, which was awesome, and the next day we left for Kansas City. Something something Toto and tornadoes. Our time in Des Moines was great thanks to Daryn and Eileen, who were very generous with their time and hospitality. Thanks so much guys!!
- Significance to be revealed later.