It takes laser like focus to write a quasi adequate essay for a contest and obviously mine has been wired in. With all that attention devoted to writing the best literary work I’ve ever created though, I missed updating you on my Chicago trip! The REALLY good news that everyone’s been dying to hear is… yes, Erin is in fact a woman. Phew! Now, let’s go back to the beginning…
In true Chris fashion, I realized on the way to the train station that I had forgotten my book. Four long hours with nothing to do but look at my phone which would have intermittent service… ugh! But as I was getting on the train, I met a really nice lady. She was traveling by herself and we sat together.
Susan (my seat mate) and I got to know each other for the next hour or so. I found out that she was a mom, author of a breast cancer devotional called Praying Through Cancer and a survivor of breast cancer herself. She found out that I was meeting my friend-stranger.
After a while, we resigned ourselves to our work. She had a lesson she needed to work on for her church group and I had over 1000 words of my essay to finish.
The view from the train wasn’t always the prettiest but this one was great. We stopped for a few minutes while more passengers boarded and to pass the time, I let my brain ponder on some random thoughts…
- there’s way more leg room on a train than on a plane
- how did they manage to make the lighting in the train’s bathrooms more unflattering than dressing rooms?
- how many people have fallen down the stairs from the upper level to lower level?
- bra’s are so not overrated, particularly if you’re over 50
- what would people do if i just started doing push ups and jumping jacks?
- could i single-handedly start a workout revolution on a train?
- what’s the ruling on Amish people riding trains?
I finally arrived and after a short taxi ride to our hotel, I met Erin at the Starbucks across the street. I know what you’re wondering… was it weird? Truthfully??? Not in the least bit. It was completely natural and fun, like we’d been friends for years. Because we have been friends for years.
After a quick lunch, we headed directly to the Willis Tower which used to be the Sears Tower. The elevator ride was a little stressful going up. We were crammed in like sardines and it just kept going and going up. Right about the time I thought my brain might explode contemplating how we STILL weren’t to the top, the doors opened.
It was about here that Erin started telling me about the book she had read in her research of Chicago before the trip. I think she said it was The Devil in the White City. Which is a book about a horrific serial killer who used his hotel to torture and kill his victims. This information fueled me to have a terror filled elevator ride later that weekend when I had to ride alone to the 5th floor of our hotel which was the ONLY floor with an ice machine. Oh… it was also the ONLY thing on the floor besides three black doors. I could just picture a crazed mass murderer stepping out of one of those doors holding a blow torch and an evil smile. Ready to maim and murder me. It was all I could do to suppress a scream by the time I retrieved my ice and the elevator doors opened again. My imagination gets away from me sometimes…
It was actually easier to step out on this glass floor to take the picture than riding in the elevator which seems strange. I think it’s because my brain can’t really fathom how high up this is but it can feel like a caged animal as I’m trapped in a metal box for the longest ride up and down I’ve ever experienced.
Just like at Disney, to exit you must walk through their gift shop. It was filled with Abe Lincoln memorabilia which confused me until I remembered that we were in the ‘Land of Lincoln’.
Nothing honors a dead president better than putting his face on a shot glass… don’t you agree?
I’m not huge architect nerd but I do enjoy a pretty building.
We went shopping on Michigan which was jam-packed full of people. In one afternoon, we managed to see 3 people who had collapsed on the sidewalk. And I thought I was a hard-core shopper!
These two pictures were the window display to the Lego store.
This is a 5lb chocolate bar that Erin picked up for her kids as a souvenir. Yes, you read that right… 5lbs of chocolate.
Now, I know this picture is pretty blurry but let me tell you… it’s incredibly hard to walk behind someone and take a decent picture without tripping. Which is exactly what I did. I get the pimp Santa and his 2 hoes but I gotta say, the bunny threw me off.
We went to the John Honcock for a drink and to enjoy the view.
And attempt to take another picture of us. We asked our waitress but apparently it was above her skill level.
A city with no shortage of tall buildings or a great place to view them
Erin had a brilliant idea to get us tickets for Second City. It was hilarious and I loved every second of it.
The next morning, Erin had to leave to catch her flight early. I was left to wander around the Windy City alone for about 8 hours. I came across an outdoor German Christmas Village with tons of shops and food vendors. I finally found Emma and Gerrit something good for a souvenir, a snow globe for each.
This was a cart that we had seen a puppet show out of the a couple of nights before. I was so tired from the busy weekend and walking around by myself all day, I considered climbing inside for a nap. Instead, I hailed a cab and headed to Union Station. It had been a great weekend but it was time to head home.