On 2 March, 2021, at some point in the day, I had a three hour layover in St. Louis.
Not knowing anything about where MetroLink stopped, or if I had enough time to get a Ted Drewe’s frozen custard, I took the train from Terminal 1 to a place called Delmar Loop, which superficially seemed like it was in a decent enough neighborhood to grab a bite.
As it turns out, Delmar Loop was relatively close to the massive city park called Forest Park, and was right by the Washington University in St. Louis campus, which naturally had a number of restaurants, shops, and bars from which to choose.
But after a brief walk, it was due to the infrequency of trains at the time, that I was eager to get back to the airport.
After getting back onboard, I noticed this COVID-19 prevention sign:
In 2021, a COVID-19 prevention sign was not unusual anywhere. What I did find cool was the presence of six additional languages (besides English) telling riders what to do.
Can you guess all six languages?
Right after English, we’ve got Bosnian. St. Louis has the largest Bosnian population in the country, numbering about 50K to 70K in the metro area.
Then, fly west to hit #2, Spanish.
For the 3rd, I’m no mwalimu (teacher) of this language, but it is one of the most commonly spoken languages in Africa. If you guessed Swahili, you got it! Factoid: the word Swahili comes from the Arabic word for coast, سَوَاحِل (sawahil).
The 4th takes us to Halong Bay– it’s Vietnamese. Many Vietnamese came to St. Louis after having been resettled in the 1980s and 1990s, following the Vietnam conflict.
5th zooms us north to China.
Lastly, at the foot of the public service announcement, we’ve got Arabic.
Hmm, having made this discovery, I bet there’s quite a lot of good food out in the St. Louis metropolitan area. But have you ever seen a Kenyan or Tanzanian restaurant anywhere in the U.S.?
Gotta keep searching.