Monday, January 9, 2012
Friday, July 8, 2011
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Chicago Day 1 – Observations and Musings
This is the first time I’ve been to Chicago, so I’m going to try and be objective as possible. First the people; Outside of Russia, Chicago probably has the highest concentration of hot girls I’ve seen. Also it has a strange amount of old people walking around, more than any other city I’ve been to (also except for St. Petersburg. . .). Also, people in Chicago, probably because of the amount of hot girls, don’t seem that intelligently/dress slutty. I cannot express how many people (all guys, of course /cry) who didn’t wear shirts. Seriously people, what is the deal, are shirts optional in Illinois? I know your state is bankrupt, but that doesn’t mean you have to look like it is.
There’s definitely a lot of pride in this town, as I see (mostly cubs and some bears) sports teams represented everywhere. Oh, a side note. On the plane here I sat between two elderly women, both from Springfield, IL. One said to me that after Paris and maybe Rome, Chicago has the most reckless drivers in the world. She’s right. Say what you want about NYC drivers, they are just aggressive. Say what you want about Cali drivers, they just go fast (or cruise. Depends).
Since we got here in the late afternoon, we didn’t have the opportunity to do much, so we walked over to Navy Pier. Now, I hate tourist-y stuff, which is why I try to avoid places like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Space Needle, and New York City in general, but Navy Pier was just awful. Nothing to do, nothing to see, luckily the blue angels were flying around (no show, just practicing), so I figured I’d snap some photos and give my 20D it’s first real test. GUESS WHO FORGOT THEIR MEMORY CARD. Fml, people, really. (Of course I was extremely rushed pre-flight and had no time to notice, but still, such a fail).
So after regrouping and choosing where we wanted to go to dinner (of course no one agreed and half my family won’t eat ethnic food), we ended up going to the Weber Grill, one of the most cliché restaurants in town. Surprise! 2 hours wait. Needless to say we went somewhere else. It just happens to be that finding somewhere to eat in Chicago on a Saturday night is impossible. After walking around for a while we settled on an Italian café called Coco Pazzo Café. Atmosphere was nice, not great, service was good, food was a little pricey for my tastes (but it’s a major metropolitan area, its expected), and the food was mediocre. Food was cooked and prepared well, but did not have much taste, was pretty disappointing. It was late (by family standards…….. it was actually 9:30) and we just camped for the night. Let’s hope tomorrow is better.
Chicago Day 2
Today I woke up the worst I’ve felt in a very long time, but I got to explore Chicago for what it is. I walked from Navy Pier(-ish) to Chinatown, about a 3.5 mile walk (~70 blocks), so I got to actually experience Chicago. There’s a lot of cliché parts downtown in the loop, but once you leave, there really isn’t much to do, a lot of residential areas. Chicago, I’m guessing since it’s the Midwest and I’m a jersey boy at heart, so everything is slowwwww. People walk slower here. I don’t know what it is. There really aren’t a lot of places I found that aren’t really many good local hotspots for just chilling and taking in the environment downtown.
Chicago is also a really bright city. It’s not that hot, but the sun beats down like crazy. I don’t really know how it works, but the Chicago sun will blind you. I ended up
Not really wanting to walk back (especially because I was feeling awful) I called the hotel on how to get back, and they couldn’t believe I had walked all the way to Chinatown, and I ended up with my first experience on the Chicago transit authority, taking a bus back near the hotel. Of course the experience was not complete without a senile black women suffering from dementia yelling something incoherent at me.
Chicago Day 3
Today I got the chance to visit the vaunted “Art” Institute of Chicago. I might not appreciate paintings and such, but there are many in the museum that do not constitute as art. Plain white and black slabs are not art, and neither are child’s scribblings. Regardless, It was one of the better museums I’ve been to. As luck would have it, I got to go to another mediocre restaurant for lunch. It really seems like all this town cares about is meat, booze, and sports, but not in a manly way, so it kind of sucks.
For dinner we went to Ben Pao, a restaurant labeled as “Chinese,” but not one personin the vicinity was actually Chinese. In fact I didn’t see anyone of any Asian descent. The food was not asian, merely asian-“inspired,” since it was asian-american fusion. Not even. It was just white-ified asian food so it was made to look better, when of course, none of it was actually very good. The cool thing about Ben Pao was their tea selection. They offer 8 teas, most of which you’ll find anywhere, but a couple, including their “Organic Bangkok” tea, are worth a look. Organic Bangkok was exactly what it sounds like: Thai food in tea. It was lemongrass and coconut (not the peanut), and it was tasty, but did not compliment the meal.
Chicago Day 4
I went on a lot of bus tours today. Not much to say about that.
Chicago Day 5
My final day here, I visited the Mexican Museum (I forget it’s official name). Despite its small size, it was a charming museum, definitely the best of the trip. You learn a lot, and the art was, you know, art. Not that abstract impressionistic crap with no detail. Best of all, it was free.
Chicago by the Numbers
1 Restaurant I would go to again (Tasty City in Chinatown)
5 Number of athlete’s autographs I got
0 Number of those players who play in Chicago
50% Estimated percentage of which my total caloric intake was Arnold Palmers
50% Estimated percentage of which everything I ate was ice cubes