Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So, I traveled out to Chicago for a few days of vacation. It was definitely an entertaining trip. The main objective was to visit Andrew, who has lived in Chicago for the past 6-months and is now moving to North Carolina. I flew out of Pittsburgh with Brian and Ryan on Thursday. Thursday evening, Ryan's brother Ben was meeting us. He was flying out of DC.

Upon arrival at the airport, we learned our flight was delayed 20-minutes. That was probably good since we cut it pretty close anyway and that gave us a little time to grab a bite to eat. We flew into Midway and caught the Orange Line into the city. We prompty checked into our hotel and, well, it was pretty awesome. Directly across the river from Trump Tower and an amazing view of Chicago River.

After spending a little time at the hotel, we decided to head out and catch some sites. The first location was the Millennium Park. They were setting up for "Taste of Chicago," so there wasn't any traffic to deal with for the most part around the park itself. One of the cool things in the park is Cloud Gate, better known as "The Bean", which gives visitors a very unique perspective of the Chicago skyline.

And then there was the Buckinham Fountain, which most people will remember from the opening scene of "Married...with Children."

After that, Brian, Ryan and myself went to Potbelly's for a sandwich and entertainment by the guitar player up in a perch. The debate ensued on whether he was paid to entertain or just received a free lunch. I'm betting on the lunch. Anyway, after eating, we headed down the street and essentially ran directly into the only person I know living in Chicago, Jason. I tried to figure out the odds of that occuring but was unable to come up with a formula. I figure it's pretty astronomical though. It was definitely cool that it happened, though, and we were able to make plans with Jason before leaving Chicago.

We decided to spend some time doing a little more site-seeing in the city since Andrew didn't get off work until 5:00 and it was 2:00 at this point. We headed down to the North Avenue Beach for a bit, which is very well developed and very cool. We then went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Since it was in the 90s, not many animals were out and about to watch.

We finally met up with Andrew and had dinner. His apartment building was pretty interesting in that Charlie Chaplin and Bugs Moran had lived there and parts of Chucky were filmed in the building. After visiting a few establishments, we headed back downtown to the hotel. Upon leaving the train area and heading up the steps, we found that the City of Chicago was resealing the sidewalks. Since there was no other means of escape, we stepped on the freshly sealed asphalt where I promptly slid and fell.

That didn't really bother me too much over the course of the trip until the last evening. Then it hurt a bit. It's still healing. We stopped at a 7-11 on the way to the hotel where I made friends with crazy people, including a former lady security guard from Beumont and a Bohemian woman who just wanted toothpaste. All in all, it was an entertaining first day.

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