Wichita, Kansas, even in the depths of an ice storm, has been a reasonably pleasant place to hang out. The folks at the airport Hilton are much friendlier than any of my friends in Boston. The price of a room ($94/night) is probably less than what I spend keeping my apartment heated, cooled, Internetted, lighted, insured, taxed, and maintained. The restaurants have been good. There are no traffic jams. We went to the local health club, Genesis, with a fantastic array of machines, an indoor running track, a spacious free weight area, racquetball courts, a 25 yard pool, a huge hot tub, a sauna, a steam room, a pool for water aerobics, and a Swim-Ex treadmill pool. Unlike the $50 million, $900/year MIT gym, the Genesis club provides soap in the showers. In fact, the club provides shampoo, shaving cream, deodorant, and a bunch of other items from dispensers. The cost to enjoy this luxurious retreat? $40 per month.
All is not rosy in Wichita, however. One guy in the Cessna sales department told us that the nicest part of the city was just north of downtown. “I’d like to live there, but no way would I be willing to pay the outrageous price of a house there.” What does it cost to buy into Wichita’s most happening neighborhood? “You could be looking at as much as $160,000 for a house there.”