Sunday, July 15, 2007

Chicago - I'm back!

I can’t believe I’m back already. Sure, I was only going to go a couple of days, but it went by so fast!

The weather there was perfect and we arrived on time. The guy seated next to me said he couldn’t believe it, the planes are always late to Chicago. It was a cinch getting from the airport to my hotel via the trains there.

That first day I just wandered all over the place. I went down to Millennium Park and took pictures of the skyline. There was an art fair going on there outside the NBC studios. I was able to see the famous ‘bean’ (which I hadn’t heard of until I saw it and overheard every other tourists oohs and aws over ‘the bean’) as well as other sculptures.

But, what really fascinated me was the stage there for various concerts they have. I loved the sound system, as to me it looked like a fence to keep the clouds at bay.
No clouds allowed!

There was also this really freaky waterfall/fountain thing that kids could run around in. I say freaky because on the side was this womans face and it kept winking or smiling!

My first day was spent just wandering all over the place, as my hotel was right on the loop. What struck me the most was how this was like NYC – only slightly different. It felt a bit like a bizarro world version of my hometown. There were all the same stores as our central district – Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Hershey, Macys, etc – but there was just something slightly off about the whole thing. The architecture was a bit different and I figured no matter how far south I walked I wouldn’t find the Gridiron building, but it was eerily similar. In fact, I even had no problems on the busing system because it seemed like I did it every day.

The second day was the ultimate in faboo. I woke up early and went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The weather was, again, amazingly clear and perfect. I wandered around for a bit and saw all the animals. All that weren’t hiding in their dens that is. The ultimate for me was seeing the Zebra. When I was a kid in Phoenix my favorite animal was the zebra. I loved them so much but every time we went to the zoo to see the animals, something had always happened to the zebras. I can’t remember all the times we went to the Alligator pits, saw the roadrunners and the prairie dogs and peacocks that ran free all over the grounds but the zebras? Never. So it was a real treat for me to finally see those beautiful creatures. All that awe just came rushing over me, it was great standing there and finally seeing the scrub brush manes of black and white.

They also had this small African Safari exhibit and the meercats were just the cutest of things! They looked right up into everyone’s cameras, used to being the stars it seemed, not afraid of the paparazzi. The animal that was irked was the rhino. There were signs warning about flash photography and I found out why when one person used the flash and the rhino charged. Then it got agitated and started pacing back and forth. I felt bad for that poor thing (and took no pictures of it).
After the zoo I went straight to Navy Pier and had a nice Chicago Deep dish pizza. It really was good, also very heavy. After that trip, it’s back to the salads for quite some time!

Navy pier was gorgeous – the lake was just so crystal clear. There was a stained glass museum there with works from Tiffany and I only wish it had more than a few pieces as it was just magical.
I love you forever in glass

The best part was that night because I had tickets to ‘an intimate evening of music’ at Stone Cutter records. They were having a few of their artists do an acoustic set. It was five hours of amazing artists that should certainly get a lot more publicity than they have! First up was Jen Porter who cited her influences as Janis Joplin, among others. Her voice had such power and conviction and she definitely had me enthralled. After her came Scottish McMillan. ‘Quirky’ is how I had him described to me before I went. He was incredibly engaging and smart and, well, just downright awesome. Everything about him was grand.

After his set was Sarah Potenza. She was billed as country and that had me a little worried. But it was much more folksy/blues and she had a great clear voice. Unfortunately, by that time some of the artists had gone in the back area by the drinks to mingle so there was a lot of conversation going on. I kind of felt like she got cheated as her songs were definitely ones I’d listen to more often, but at the time my attention was divided between the ruckus going on in the back and her in front of me.

Finally were the Lovehammers, a band whom I mentioned previously. They really had the banter going on! There were a lot of comical interludes between there songs and they knew how to take charge of the audience. Their music is more punk/rock with some pop mixed in for good measure. There was one ‘ultimate’ fan who kept using the flash even though it was announced not too, and she was in front of me so I was blinded a couple times myself. But that really didn’t deter too much from the amazing music of that night. I think ‘eclectic mix’ could be a good phrase for the music that night.

I know it's acoustic, but I still want my echo!

I didn’t even get to my hotel until late and, unfortunately, didn’t meet a single architect. I met this very sloshed guy and was invited to a bar afterward, but decided since it was after midnight to prepare myself for the flight the next day.

It really was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I just got up and left. Definitely happy memories from this one. The whole thing was just over too quickly. I need another vacation.


Amel's Realm said...

LOVELY pics and INTERESTING story, Vic!!!

I've never been to Chicago, so it's nice to see pics of the city. ;-D

SO glad you had the vacation you needed. Yep, you definitely need to take another vacation, this time sooner than a 3-year-period HE HE HE HE...;-D

Have a SMOOTH start of a new week, Vic!!! ;-D

Victorya said...

yeah amel, it was amazing! I just couldn't sleep, the hotel bed was too hard, the pillows too weird :) I got maybe, five hours at most each night.

Amel's Realm said...

Ahhh, that's too bad, but you were gladly on a vacation and everything went SO well he he he...I bet you were still pumped up every morning even though you only had 5 hour sleep the night before. :-)))

Jeremy said...

I love that city, till I was there in 7 degrees .... Back to Florida!

Anonymous said...


I just got around to reading about your vacation. That bean sculpture is really freakin' awesome! Too bad you didn't meet an architect. LOL! Sounds like you had a lovely time. Great post.

heavenabove said...

Glad you had a fantastic trip. I too went on a short trip over the past few days. The only place I've been to in Chicago is O'Hara Airport several times. And that is no fun at all unless you are a kid so thanks for the pictures and info.