Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I apparently like being Chicago's bitch.

Call me crazy but I love Chicago even with it's high crime, drunken and cracked out homeless people in the fetal position on sidewalks and obsessive honking for no reason. I do. I can't help it.

Which is where I was this past Friday and Saturday, which is why you didn't get posts either of those days. I had the laptop but I figured screw it because I was too tired to give you anything worth while anyways. But that just means I spent more time walking the streets of downtown Chicago to give you this post. I'm a giver like that.

So Friday it starts with us obviously driving the about 8 hours it takes to get to Chicago. Somewhere along the way I had to pee. Obviously. But the cool part is I *finally* got to stop at this food court (there are two of these on the way to Chicago but we stopped at only one of them) that is literally above the highway. It's like a giant sky walk food court and there is a gas station on the side. I've driven to Chicago three times now and I'm just happy to be able to say I've waved at cars like a maniac from the sky walk food court. Never mind we were almost run over by the guy cleaning floors with some giant machine on wheels. Like four times.

No, the thing to mention is that the bathrooms here? Have terrible walls. You know I'm a big critic of public restrooms and although Michigan wins the award for grossest bathrooms ever, this one had bizarre walls that made me instantly dizzy.
 Seriously imagine being surrounded by this. I was so dizzy I felt like a drunk trying to aim into the bowl since of course I'm doing the hovered stance because there is no way my actual ass is touching the seat. It was a challenge, let's just leave it at that.

Once we got to Chicago we checked into our hotel which was super great. It was the Double Tree on East Ohio, and it's great because it's in between Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile so that's handy. After checking in, getting our kind of disgusting warm cookie (they say it's free but you know you're paying for it) we decided to ask the concierge how to get to Gino's East from our hotel since we were just going to walk it. It ended up being 10 blocks, but because I was all "I'm a lost tourist but I'm super friendly" to the concierge, she gave us this nifty pass to not have a wait time to get in. SCORE. It turned out to be a super score because while we waited maybe 5 minutes, we were able to eat and get out in about 90 minutes, and nobody had budged in the line when we came in. See? Being awesome gets you things in life.

 This is my crazy, "I didn't realize I was getting my picture taken face" while texting my friend Emily.
 But then I was all, "Aw.. picture with my friend Tammy!" and so I look normal. Plus, we look great together.
 And then I got a good one of Matt and Chad against the graffiti wall. And yet AGAIN I forgot to bring a neon puffy paint marker. Failure.
 But leave it to those boys to find the penis picture on their seat. AND point it out.

Finally, after like 45 minutes our pizzas came. Tammy and I (picky eaters) shared one and Matt and Chad (human garbage disposals) shared one. Oh, and our little concierge person gave us a ticket for free breadsticks. I can't speak highly enough about this woman.. she rocked out night for sure. Anyways. The pizza was delicious.

So after eating pizza we decided to walk around downtown a bit. I ended up getting a cute shirt at H&M along with a kick ass hair clip and some tights for Olivia. By then we were all kind of exhausted so we headed back to our room.

At this point, I was trying to return some emails and Matt was watching some TV when we get a frantic knock on our door. It was Chad to inform us that hey- you can't lift anything off of that little tray of snacks because you get charged for it. Which was kind of shit because we were picking them up wondering how they have the balls to charge $6 for a bag of M&M's, so Chad made sure that nobody was charged. ROBBERY, this is.
 Anyways. We slept great. We got up early, went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and headed to Navy Pier. And just an aside- but is there a rule that every Dunkin Donuts is fully staffed with people who barely speak English? Because poor Matt ordered a sandwich and they kept asking him about what donut. I think he ended up with a sad slice of egg (yes, it was a slice... ew) on some weird bread. Anyways. We started walking to Navy Pier only to find... Ohio Street Beach.
 Kind of awesome to have a beach in the middle of downtown??
 So from there we made it to Navy Pier only to find that there is a weird display of wooden signs that read "Fix-Ice Machene". Now, I don't know if this is something with meaning but they spelled machine wrong. Is the Chicago educational system that bad? And why has nobody said to the artist, "Dude- you spelled it wrong. People will think this entire city is full of uneducated dumbasses."?? I don't know. Nobody seemed to know what it meant either.
 But... Navy Pier! This was my first time there, but both of my previous trips didn't allow for time to see it so I totally put my foot down and said- we ARE seeing Navy Pier.
 And guess what? They have a Billy Goat Tavern! That serves Horny Goat mixed drinks!
 While I didn't partake in that since they weren't open, I settled for a picture under the sign.
The other reason I wanted to go to Navy Pier besides it's awesome was because I wanted to ride on a sailboat for my 30/30 list. And since I don't half ass anything, I rode on a tall ship (like a pirate ship.. and this one had a super awesome and knowledgeable pirate narrator!) with massive sails. It was great.
 And the view was kind of amazing despite fog.
 And I basically learned a lot about Chicago, the coastline, etc. Did you know everything east of Lower Michigan Avenue used to be the water? After their massive fires in late 1800's, the city basically flattened the ashes of the old downtown and that's what makes up the east of Lower Michigan Avenue. They also have a rule you can't build tall building there to ruin the skyline, but this black building? Gets around that rule because it's not built on the ground but rather on stilts.
 The sails!
 The view!

After the boat tour we headed to lunch where the boys got authentic Chicago hotdogs. *barf*
 I obviously had a hamburger. Then we took a bus tour of downtown where Chad's chest photo bombed our picture.
 We saw the bean.
 Oh man. It was about 4pm by the time we got into my van to go home. I was kind of exhausted from walking. Which was unfortunate, because it took us exactly one hour and 15 minutes to get out of Chicago.
 We drove for hours until we decided it was time to eat dinner. But by god.. like a beacon on the horizon I saw a Cracker Barrel. You'll remember from my Tennessee trip the amazingness of such a place. And you know I beelined for the jar of sugar suckers. I literally spent my last $12 on ten of these bad boys.
 Matt wouldn't even walk next to me because he was embarrassed. But after leaving the restaurant it was a long drive home. I can't even emphasize how long that drive home was. Usually I get home from Chicago around 10 or 10:30 at night but since we left so much later than usual, we pulled up at our house at 1:30 a.m. Ugh. To say I was a lazy fat ass on Sunday? Understatement.

Overall it was a great trip. I had a lot of fun, I enjoy being a tourist, I learned a lot, and best of all- I'm itching to go back. This time I'd like to go back in March for St. Patricks when they dye the river green. AND I want to go to a play at the Chicago Theatre or somewhere. So we'll see. ;)


Anonymous said...

Damn girl- you packed in a lot of activities in such a short amount of time! And mmmm that pizza looks so good. Cheesy goodness!

Sara said...

I'm a lurker on your blog, but I thought I'd comment since I'm from Southern WI and am going to school in Mankato. I understand the long ass drive! I also think you may have stopped or gone through Janesville, my home town. I was pretty enamored with the restaurants over the highway when I was little. I'm glad you got some Chicago pizza! I don't even like pizza much, but Gino's is awesome!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful, fantastic time lucky you...

TheBigShowAtUD said...

You might like New York City, then... but the pizza, water, and skyline are different. And the average person is a little ruder, BUT STILL.

middle child said...

I waved as you went by!

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Nikolett said...

Ahhh looks like such an amazing trip all packed up into a day or so! Love how you took a pic of a bathroom wall ... I feel like that's totally a "you" thing that you would do and it made me feel dizzy too! And THE BEAN. Always wanted to see that, it looks awesome :D

Ruth said...

Sadly there are too many bad spellers in the world.
That is cool to know about flattening the ashes.
Glad you had a good trip.

Julie H said...

Maybe the walls are like that so they can't be written on? Although the little f'ers around here would find a way.

Chicago has so much fun stuff to do there. Maybe I'll go some day.

Ryan Adair said...

UGH! I love and miss chicago so much! I even have the skyline tatted on my wrist!

:) SO JEALOUS OF YOU RIGHT NOW I HATE YOU! okay not really but still.

Ryan @ Thismustbetheplaceryan

Dana said...

I love Chicago so much but haven't been there in many years. I am always talking to Michael about going on a trip there yet we never do. I've never been to the Bean! I can't believe I've missed it each time I've been there. I love Navy Pier and your sailboat tour looks awesome. WTF is with the ice machene sign? So weird!

____j said...

I love Chicago, too. I can't wait to go back! It was the first BIG city I had ever gone too & I was completely in awe & shock the entire time.