Wichita is a beautiful city, filled with art and lovely buildings, parks and bike trails and museums and gardens. Wichita was also empty. Like there were no people. Anywhere. We were there on a Wednesday morning and stayed the night and saw almost no people at all. We wandered through a beautiful park built along a section of the dammed Arkansas river with geese and ducks and waterfalls and paths that connected the many museums together, over bridges and past sculpture – alone. We met one solitary woman at the waterfall who talked to us and she was like the character in a romantic comedy that makes you realize you really love Drew Barrymore. We walked around Old Town and it felt scary. And I am from Cleveland!
We drove to a place called the Donut Whole where they sold very expensive donuts in a very hip place, so hip that it was the hippest place we had seen so far. Young people were sitting on the floor with laptops, a few were making out, there was an ancient rusty pinball game, the donuts had outrageous toppings (like Voodoo donuts in Portland): captain crunch, bacon, chocolate covered pretzels…). We decided to stay the night at see if there were people around after dark and see the giant torches and colored flood lights that illuminate the waterfall park.
We found a playground surrounded by nice houses and walked the dogs, the kids played and we watched 4 SUVs drive in , surround a group of young men, force them to the ground and drag them inside. So we left. We left Wichita.