12 July 2011

Day 1 in Chicago

Yesterday my mom and I arrived in Chicago to mild balmy weather and cerulean skies. After getting CTA directions from a nice elderly lady with a cardigan and a lazy eye, we were helped further by a mustached police officer who gave us a huge transit map that later came in handy. We somehow made it to our stop correctly, but were confused as to which direction to walk in order to catch the right bus. What did this mean? Into the nearest Starbucks for Java Chip Coffees of course!!!! While my mother cleaned out the chocolate from her teeth, I got directions from the barista, and away we went...

We hopped on the bus, and my mom insisted I ask the driver if we were on the right one.

We weren't.

We hopped off the bus and found the right one and arrived at Mies Van der Rohe Ave, where two blocks away our hotel waited.
I guess I should really call it a motel since it was one story and all the room entrances were on the outside. But we only found one roach, so I guess it was worth the deal!

No, really, it was a hotel, and a vintage one at that. And had 18 floors. It's The Seneca, and it's a nice change from the backpacker's I stayed in during my week of travels in South Africa.

The above image is the first to greet us as we walk out the Seneca doors to explore the city!!!

Our first destination in exploration? Giordano's Pizza! We sat down in a booth in the corner and came face to face with our menu, which listed all of the choices of their world famous stuffed pizza. Because, as we all know, Chicago-style pizza means deeeep dish.

Roger Ebert looks over my mom's shoulder as she scanned the menu items.

That's why, in order to avoid cross looks thrown your way, you should not order a thin crust pizza.
But that is what we ordered (with cheese, mushrooms, onions, and black olives, to be exact) and it was probably the best pizza I have ever had. The cool round taste of the olives, the thick and lumpy cheesiness, the the perfect edge the onions provided, and the mild juice of the mushrooms complemented the thin and beautifully crunchy crust and left me wanting

Taking the 137th bite

more more more!

As much as I enjoyed the pizza, I tried to eat with a brisk pace so that we could make it back to our hotel room for the new episode of "Hoarders." We still had the Navy Pier to go to, and at this rate we would make a good-timed tour and be back with plenty of minutes to spare before the show started.
A hastily-taken photo of the girl at the table across from us. She turned to stare at us about every 5 minutes. Either she thought we were crazy or she knew we were totally awesome. Or maybe I just had the air of somebody famous.

At the Pier, we walked past a lot of dinner cruise ships. They looked pretty swanky, and had names like The Oddessy and The Anita Dee. None had the real pirate-garb thing going on like the Tall Ship Windy, which looked like a for-real pirate ship (just use your imagination to replace the American flag with a skull and crossbones).

The Tall Ship Windy

We admired the pirate-y hawker at the ticket stand but continued walking. I begged my mom to let us dine again at the Jimmy Buffet restaurant, but she got embarrassed and walked a little faster ahead of me. Guess she has a lame-ness radar, too! I knew I had to have gotten it from somewhere.
She did pause enough to snap this photo of myself sort of underneath the restaurant sign

We finally walked past the funhouse and steps leading up to the ferris wheel and finally arrived at The Smith Museum of Stained Glass. The museum is completely free and open to the public. The glass panes that were on display were absolutely gorgeous. Interesting to think that many of the elaborate and colorful pieces stood above some wealthy person's door or staircase.


Detail of a Tiffany stained glass piece

The museum had a good number of gorgeous Louis Comfort Tiffany pieces. Many of them featured beautiful muses, but innovative floral-inspired panes were abundant, as well. Alphonse Mucha's "Four Seasons" also showed up in an unnamed artist's pane series. Mucha happens to be a favorite of mine, so I was pretty happy to see it.

After the pier, we caught the bus and hurried our way back to be in our room at 9 o'clock so we could watch Hoarders. Bad luck, I forgot we are on Central time now. An hour late.

My mom goes to bed pretty soon after the awful news of our tardiness, and I attempt to watch some program on sugar candy on Food Network. I keep falling asleep, so I crawl into our king-size bed and

fall asleep.

End of Day 1.


  1. Thanks for the minute by minute version of your trip to Chicago - it's as if I was there with you - I wish. Have a great time and I can't wait to read every day what's going on with you two. Love you both and tell Mama smooch smooch smooch!!!!! :)

  2. Sorry you missed Hoarders. I didn't see it but allow me to recap: family member recounts life growing up with Hoarder, says subject always kept things but didn't used to be this bad until...(death of loved one/pet, cancellation of MASH). Tears ensue. Camera roams around filth (audience gasps)as subject tells how he/she knows that toilet paper roll from April 23,1989 is perfect for that project he/she will never start. Tears ensue. Shrink enters picture to say subject is worse case he/she has ever dealt with and his/her family questions his/her commitment to them. Tears ensue. Futile cleanup is attempted. Subject becomes crazed as loved one/shrink attempts to remove beloved toilet paper roll from April 23, 1989. Tears ensue. (From this point one of two paths are taken) 1)Subject makes a change for the better and home now resembles a generic war zone instead of more specific, Hiroshima. OR 2)Subject refuses to change and family/shrink throws up hands. Subject is presumed dead under mountain of used Big Mac containers and cat feces. With each of these options tears ensue. Show ends with little having been accomplised other than viewer feeling superior to at least one fellow human and slightly nauseous. Tears ensue.

    P.S. I prefer Intervention.

  3. P.P.S. You sell yourself short. Of course, the pizza gal was staring at you like you're famous. You're "Bonnie From GA." Hope you and KW are having fun.


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