Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicagoan dream

I spent last weekend in Chicago. A place where the rents of conveniently located, 12-foot high ceiling apartments are listed at Astoria prices. Also, the grocery stores are as big and wonderful as the grocery stores of the suburbs. It's a magical place Chicago. I had only been to the city once before, and it was in college with my Model UN team (we were representing Moldova). While we did some exploring during unmoderated caucuses (turns out, no one really missed Moldova), we were a bunch of college kids who didn't really have any idea where to go (as I recall, we ate at a Bennigans one night). As such, I consider this my first real trip to the windy city.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find my camera battery charger, so I was without a camera for the trip. The friend I was visiting had to work the first morning I was there, but it was a lovely day, so I spent most of it wandering around Millennium Park (and a bit of Grant Park) and taking grainy pictures on my cell phone. If Instagram can give modern photos the filtered authenticity of the 1970s, than my phone can make any photo have the shadowy look of early to mid-2000s camera phone technology.

 The famous bean! If this were a better camera (more of a phone than a camera really) you could probably recognize that central dot as your faithful blogger and photographer.

 Weirdly, even though it was a beautiful day, the park was not as crowded as Central Park is at all hours of the day (another plus for Chicago!). In the couple of hours I spent wandering around the park most everyone I saw fell into two categories: large groups of school kids on tours or homeless people sleeping. The people in this photo mostly fall into the former category.

 I'm not really sure what was up with this amphitheater, but it kept projecting weird noises. Sometimes it sounded like underwater whale sounds and other times it was a voice, sounding sort of like Droopy Dog speaking in tongues. There was no sign I could find to explain it.

My friend gave me tickets to one of the double decker tours around the city. I learned a lot about the architecture, but this is the only photo I took. After all, we all know what the John Hancock Tower looks like. The bus also marooned me at a Garrett Popcorn store where I got my delicious free sample of their signature Chicago mix (cheddar cheese and caramel corn). Luckily they have a New York branch too!

Speaking of things with a New York branch, I visited the 826 location in Chicago. They have a spy store (officially called "The Boring Store") to complement Brooklyn's Superhero Supply Store. My friend and I posed with a few of their clever disguises.

 You probably can't tell this is the same people from above, but remove the facial hair and we clean up nicely. This was right before we took a free water ride.

Chicago has some great public art. 

Chicago also have Hannah's Bretzel, the sandwich place that uses delicious pretzel bread. I think this would transfer nicely to the East Coast. Specifically in Astoria.

 My friend took me to a work function that served tons of fancy desserts. It was basically a cross between a prom and what I imagine a cruise ship would be like. These adorable push-pop parfaits were topped with coffee cavier. They were adorably delicious!

Luckily my friend had a fancy phone, so she got better old-timey photos than I did. The work thing had people dressed up as great moments in Chicago history. This Michael Jordan impersonator was kind enough to pose for a photo with us. My friend made a much more concerted effort at getting the ball than I did, but then you can't really jump with wine. 

Overall, it was a lovely trip and really made me appreciate what a great city Chicago is!

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