Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the Windy City...

The wife and I are specifically not having kids for a while for several reasons--one of which is that we want to travel. We like our freedom and want to see as much as possible while we're young and we can. With that in mind, we headed to Chicago last weekend.

I would have blogged daily while there, but the internet was $12 a day in our hotel room--so that was outta the question. Here's a weekend recap:

Day .5-
We drove up Thursday night, got into town late. So it was just part of a day there, hence the Day ".5". Anyway, to save on parking fees, we just parked in the long term long at Midway Airport then rode the train into the city. Great idea, saved us a lot of cash. But it also provided some interesting experiences over the course of the three days we were there. For instance, that night, a guy got on the train who looked visibly upset. Brittany said he must have suffered from Terrets Sydrome as he was shaking his head and repeating the phrase "Mother F---er" over and over and over. I was glad when he got off at the first stop. Anyway, we get to our hotel smack in downtown Chicago: the Palmer House Hilton.

Its a beautiful lobby and facility. Absolutely beautiful. We thought we'd got such a great deal by booking on and we did (financially). But as we got off the elevator, we started to get worried. We made a right hand turn, went down one hallway, another right hand turn and down another hallway (with a lower ceiling), then a left hand turn and down another hallway (with even lower ceiings), then finally to our room. It reminded Brittany of the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" when they go into the hallway where everything gets smaller as they walked--we laughed about it. Then we opened our door... to our closet with a sink. It was tiny! Clean, but lacking any real amenities and it was friggin tiny! But once again, for what we paid, to be staying in the location we were, it was fine. We walked around downtown for a while then called it a night.

Day 1-
We slept in and had a quick breakfast at some little coffee/bread cafe then started walking around the city taking in all the sights. We hit Michigan Ave/the Magnificent Mile, Millenium Park, Navy Pier, Water Tower Place and all that jazz. We had dinner at the original Geno's Pizza--Chicago style is oh-so delicious. Then we walked to the Chicago Institute of Art where it was free to get in from 5-9 (apparently they are remodeling the contemporary section and the American art section, so we missed most of the good stuff). Some girl was walking around talking on her cell phone (loudly) the whole time--I about went ballistic. Brittany said it would have been wrong and illegal to take her phone, snap it in two and the punch her in the face... so I didn't.

We finished the night with smoothies from Caribou Coffee and watching the Olympics back in our closet. Barack was in town, but called and said he was too busy to hang out. We were disappointed.

Day 2-
Yay! My birthday! Twenty-freakin-five.

We got up early for breakfast at this great little cafe called the Bongo Room--real modern, minimalist place. The food was to die for. I had banana pancakes with a graham crackers crust covered in a vanilla cream and three berry sauce. Wow. Just wow. Then we got on the train and headed out to Oak Park--Frank Lloyd Wright's old stomping grounds. We got to see his house and studio. Instead of paying for the tour around the area (he designed 20 other houses in the neighborhood), we just followed the people around who were wearing head sets. It was amazing. The dude was so far ahead of his time and the houses are simply breath-taking.

We headed back to the hotel around lunch and took a nap--we had a big night ahead. Went to a place called Opera for dinner and holy freakin crap, it was (as with breakfast) to die for. Modern Chinese cuisine, creative/modern Asian decor, and a very witty/very gay waiter made it an incredibly enjoyable dining experience. We caught the train back to the theatre district as we had tickets for the musical "Wicked." If you've never heard of it, "Wicked" is a re-telling of the story of the witches from the "Wizard of Oz." The story is very well written and the music was astounding--I've never been to anything like it. It was the first Broadway-caliber show I've ever been to and it was the highlight of our weekend.

It was a different sort of birthday. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Day 3-
Donuts and coffee from Dunkin Donuts and we were on our way back. (Sad faces from Brittany.)

It was a great weekend. I'd post pictures but we're still without a camera so we didn't take any. But it was memorable and the first of many trips to come. We've all only got one life to live so we'd better make the most of it while we can. Brittany and I have decided that we want to live life to the fullest--see, do and experience as much as we can. It may not be some people's picture of what life should be about, perhaps our choices and decisions aren't agreed on by all people... but dammit, this world is beautiful and life is wonderful and we're gonna soak it up.

I want to die knowing I've truly lived.