When people talk about the United States, it’s often referred to as a country with extreme differences. There’s an endless list of reasons why, but I’ll give you one today: neighborhoods. Yes, the different areas in a city (Saint Louis in this case) can differ like day and night. I’m not claiming I’ve seen them all, or know all about it, but I can give you a summary of the impressions I had when driving through the city. It’s a matter of hidden borders. Somewhere a neighborhood comes up out of nowhere that makes me feel uncomfortable just driving through. Other times, hipsters seem to be crawling from everywhere and occupying a neighborhood, making it a left-wing hippie town.
The biggest difference I can think of has to be a neighborhood where every window had steel bars compared to one where Starbucks and rainbow flags ruled the block. Blogging now, I realize I should have been taking a lot more pictures so I could show you the differences, but now you’ll have to do with my own perspective. One street would be full of pawn shops and feel very dark and shady, the other would have more coffee places, coiffure shops (that’s hipster French for a place to have your hair cut) and art galleries than one square mile could possibly handle. Also, the two do not mix. In Central West End (the latter of the two), you couldn’t be seen without ridiculous glasses, a long trench coat or a weird hat. Just as with the debate on abortion, the liberals do not fear coming out strongly (remember the rainbow flags?), making no sense to me in any way. Both of the extremes are very homogenic as well. One has artsy people walking along where I wouldn’t fit in, the other has only people in working clothes. It’s one of those extremes that can be very fascinating.
Did you ever cross a neighborhood line without realizing?