08302000

August 30, 2000: Chicago, IL

This is definitely a day for the travel books: Call it "See Chicago in One Day." We went for a late breakfast at the Corner Bakery (a chain which is also at Union Station in D.C. and Calabassas, CA). From there we walked to the Buckingham Fountain while singing "Love and Marriage". (If you have seen the opening credits of "Married With Children" you know why we did that.) We saw the fountain, then went to the Art Institute of Chicago where we saw a special exhibit on pharoahs. Very interesting.

After the Art Institute we went to a poster shop across the street to help Peter find a poster for his newly decorated living room. No luck. By this time we were hungry so we stopped at a place called Max's for a Chicago style hot dog. Chicago is famous for its Vienna beef hot dogs, but to be honest I couldn't tell much about the hot dog itself; only the toppings (mustard, tomatoes, oregano, onions) were distinctive to me.

 

After lunch we went back to the Art Institute where Peter settled on a poster, then walked up Michigan Avenue to the Magnificent Mile of shops. Peter bought new sneakers at Niketown from a yenta named Greg. We continued walking up the street and browsed other shops until we got to the Marshall Fields department store, where we stopped for coffee and tea. After coffee and tea we did a little window shopping at Marshall Fields.

After leaving Marshall Fields and the mall it is attached to, I suggested we go to the Hancock Observatory. Peter wanted to go to the observatory at night, but I said we should see go while we could still see the lake because the view of the skyline against the lake is impressive. It was after 7 so by the time we got up there the lights were just starting to come on. We could see the view of the water which Peter liked, then we waited to see the city at night which was incredible. So that was a win/win situation. Peter was very pleased; he said the timing was perfect. And I was pleased too.

 

We ended up meeting a couple of guys from Germany at the observatory, though Peter did most of the talking. Later I found out that talking to Germans on the road is not something Peter is comfortable with; most Germans are not as inclined to ask each other where the are from and what they are doing here as Americans are when they are abroad. So I no longer ask every German speaking person on the street, "Entshuldigen Sie, wo kommt Sie hier?" (Excuse me, where are you from?)

Anyway, from the Hancock Tower we could see the Ferris wheel of the Navy Pier. Peter had never been on a Ferris wheel before and I hadn't been on one since I was a child. So we walked back down to the Navy Pier (thank God we didn't have to walk all the way; there was a free trolley that went by). We also got information from the trolley driver about when Giordano's pizza closes (10 p.m.).

 

We went on the Ferris wheel which gave us another lovely view of the city. We would have stayed for the fireworks, but that would not have given us enough time to get pizza. So instead we hailed a cab and went to Giordano's. Excellent stuffed pizza. Very interesting waiter as well, a foreigner who was overly polite. Of course being language teachers Peter and I could not help but speculate on his language training, his cultural differences, and his sense of culture shock.

We got back to the hotel at about 11:00 and I think Peter wanted to go out and do more but I wasn't feeling well and just wanted to crash. So that was the end of the day.

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