Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blowing through Town

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the lions are out This is the way I've felt for about the past month. Either I'm completely insensible, or I'm definitely not where or when I "should" be. In fact, despite the awesome time we had the first two days in Chicago, and during the trip as a whole, Saturday didn't go very well.

The plan was to get up, find Argo tea, find the half price tickets booth and procure some tickets for the evening, then meet Michael's parents at the Shedd Aquarium at noon, having already taken in some of the fishy goodness.

We did find Argo tea, which I highly, emphatically recommend. I need to start my letter-writing campaign to have them open locations in Atlanta! That was, unfortunately, the only thing that went according to plan. First we looked forever to find the half-price ticket place (which turned out to be stuffed away on a corner far from where the map said it was). Since we had not immediately found it, we decided to wait in line for rush tickets to Jersey Boys. This was a mistake. Once we made it to the front of the line, only obstructed view tickets were available. Now, since they were pretty cheap, this might have been fine...if the employee at the counter had been able to give us any useful information. The conversation went something like this:

Michael: "Now, I know these are obstructed view tickets, but could you tell us if we'll miss entire musical numbers, or just some parts of numbers?"

Man: "You'll miss anything on the catwalk." (Thanks, guy, we already knew that from the pre-opening announcements.)

Michael: "Yes, I understand that, but what I'm asking is whether entire numbers are performed up there, or just portions?"

Man: "What do you want for $25??"

Michael: "Um...I'm just trying to find out if we would miss entire numbers or just parts..."

Man: "Do you want the tickets or not?"

After that exchange, we decided "not", although I thought of many things I could have said to this guy after we left...such as, "Sir, I understand that you are incapable of helping us after we have repeatedly asked you to exercise your expertise on our behalf. Since you haven't seen the show, which is the only thing I can assume based on your lack of ability to answer simple questions about its content, could you perhaps ask a coworker who has seen it to help us?" Ahhhh, spite.

Now we were 1) without the promised tickets, 2) still without breakfast (not to mention caffeine...we hadn't made it to Argo yet!) and 3) creeping way too close to our meeting time. I'll cut through the wandering before and after finding Argo, the fruitless quest for tickets and the nerve-wracking bus ride through traffic and pick things up at the Shedd Aquarium, as we ran up and got in the "will call" line to exchange our CityPass tickets for admission tickets, already 20 minutes late to meet Michael's parents.

That's when we discovered that we were short a CityPass book. It's also when I discovered that I'd lost the beautiful scarf my mom knit me. =( Michael was in such a holy panic by that time that I didn't want to mention it to him...he was explaining to me that he was going to run after the bus to get the CityPass while I went in and met his parents (we went back to Argo and called CTA's lost and found to no avail-*sniff!*). I wasn't sure if I was going to throw up or faint, but I just stood there praying desperately! The worst part was, that as long as the line I was in was (it took 20 minutes to get through it), the line to purchase tickets was about 6 times as long! So if Michael didn't find his CityPass, I had no idea when he'd be able to get to us!

God was good to us and Michael was somehow able to run down the bus, where the driver handed him the missing CityPass! I am still baffled by how he did it, since we had gotten off the bus, walked across a green, asked an employee for directions, rode an elevator and gotten in line before discovering it was missing. At any rate, we were "only" 45 minutes late to meet his parents, who had already seen most of the Aquarium by that time. Sadly, we had to run through it, so I don't have that many pictures to share. It looked like a really cool Aquarium, too. *sigh* Next time!

After snarfing hot dogs, we booked it to the Adler Planetarium. We only had about 3 hours there, and we saw two shows. I still much prefer the traditional projector to the new-fangled ones.

Since we were right by the waterfront, we decided to take a ferry over to Navy Pier.
Not much of note there, except the fabulous and FREE stained glass museum. It seems like it goes half the length of the Pier (indoors), and has many Tiffany windows as well as other great examples of art glass.
These next guys really cheered me up. break this
They weren't quite So You Think You Can Dance material, but they were pretty good. After that, we walked back home and paused to watch the fireworks from the Pier.

Sunday morning was the Chicago Marathon, part of which we could see from our hotel room. running
After church, we grabbed a picnic lunch from Whole Foods and headed to Millennium Park to ogle the Bean (Cloudgate is its proper name).
I totally stole this idea from some fab British girls who asked me to take their picture. funhouse
Finally, we made it out to the Field Museum. Holy cow, this is a big place! field indeed Once again, we didn't have much time, so we ran through as many of the fabulous exhibits as we could. I loved the gem display, the Egyptian tomb, the Native American clothing! And, of course, Sue was there to sneak up on Michael's unsuspecting parents... get 'em, Sue! ...Sue is the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that's been found.

I decided that they weren't that big and scary, after all. I mean, one probably couldn't down me whole like in Jurassic Park. I could totally punch one in the nose and make it run away, just like a shark, doncha think?? not so scary
After all that running around, we had worked up quite an appetite, so it was time for more authentic Chicago pizza! The wait at Cafe Uno, where Chicago deep dish pizza was invented (reportedly because the owner wanted pizza to be a "sit down, knife and fork" meal) was about an hour and a half. So, we headed down the block to Cafe Due (doo-ay), which he opened because he'd run out of room at Uno. The wait there was "only" 45 minutes, and you could order your pizza ahead (they take about 30 minutes). due pizza Totally, totally worth it. Everywhere the Giordano's pizza failed me, the Due pizza succeeded. The crust was yummy, I didn't feel over-cheesed, and the sauce...! It was sooo good. After dinner we wandered back by the Tribune building, because we'd missed a wall Friday night and I wanted to remember where they had stolen liberated the rock from Illinois (it was from Abraham Lincoln's home).

Monday we rode the Metra out to the Museum of Science and Industry. It's the first time I've been on a bilevel train car! double decker
Here you can see the "tiny" atrium that houses a 727...and that's just about a fourth of the atrium! teeny atrium Again, it's a huge museum full of wonders. Michael's dad best remembered the "model trains" (that term doesn't do them justice!) and the circus models.

I definitely want to go back and spend more time in all the museums!! And, you know, maybe spend more time on the Mag Mile than the 5 minutes in Eddie Bauer I got! Michael's parents aren't big shoppers. =) But the trip as a whole was just awesome!

Note to self: Don't try to do an entire CityPass in 5 days ever again....


Karin said...

It sounds like it was quite the adventure - even if it was very busy!

Annie said...

That was a fun read. I went to grad school for a year in Illinois and made it to Chicago a few times. I liked all the details of your hectic trip.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm also a software developer. Do you think they all tap dance in elevators? I'd actually forgotten all about that Thoroughly Modern Millie thing.

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading of your Chicago trip - it sounds like you managed to cram a lot into your short trip; it's so nice to read about Chicago from an outsider's perspective - I love this city so much, it's going to be tough to possibly have to leave it!

Old Geek-outs