Sorry, bad cliche. But while I used to just fly through O'Hare, now I love to leave the abominably familiar airport for the less familiar but much more interesting city of Chicago.
It was a last minute 4 night trip that almost didn't happen. Flights were hard to come by, hotel space was tight
, and we all but gave up. I worked out a celebratory birthday dinner with some friends on the last night, so we soldiered on. Vacations are such
a chore ;-).
Four days using only public transportation - quite a change for this suburbanite. A couple of planes, a water taxi, a bunch of trains, too many buses, and a lot of stairs. No cars. It was hot. I think we dragged some NC weather with us. There was a thunderstorm our last night, so we when we left, the weather was much better. You're welcome.
We'd never noticed Buckingham Fountain on our previous visits, but we saw the 100+ foot vertical jet of water from the water taxi, and splashed through the spray on a later day. My camera never left the room, so I swiped this pic from a tourism site. We went to the Field Museum for our educational requirement - did you know we're still in an ice age? I didn't. Sue the dinosaur was smaller than I expected, but amazingly complete. The snack bar employees lacked the basics of competent service, but that's all I'm going to say about that.
While waiting for a bus back from the museum, we watched the participants stream into Soldier Field for the opening ceremonies of the gay games. The only thing that made it look different from any other sporting event were a few lame protesters. We did joke about a new version of drag racing (Oh! I broke a heel!)
We had two evening shows scheduled - Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, and Blue Man Group. People kept asking which we liked better, which was like comparing apples and basketballs. Both were great though! The Chicago run of Martin Short's show was just a brief warm up for Broadway, so if you get a chance, see it there. It's a musical loosely (quite loosely) based on his life, with much of it just made up for laughs. Irreverent, a bit bawdy, and fun! In many ways, he reminded me of Clay's recent tours. It had all the necessary elements - singing, a bit of dancing, some chatter, a little local humor, and audience participation, but I just can't see Clay singing the lyrics to the song that I kept hearing all weekend - "Big Titties" (it was set in the hospital nursery just after Martin was born, so it's not quite as bad as it sounds). However, this one? Maybe...
As my wife said to me,
just before she said no,
"If you need nightly stroking,
do a one man show!"
Click on the pic for some videos on the official site. It really was quite fun.
I don't have a performance bone in my body, but his quip about audiences being similar to Methadone struck me - They both make you feel good, but the audience members have their "judgement hats" on. It must be scary out there on that limb.
We'd seen Blue Man Group in Vegas where they were perhaps a bit more polished (and playing a much larger stage), but it was still very fun, and quite worth while. It's interesting that they can convey so much without moving their mouths. No talking, no smiles, no giggles. Just the tilt of a head, a deadpan glance, a pause. Very interesting. They have a good bit of audience participation (for the entire audience) and a couple individuals are brought up on stage. Shy folks should stay well away from the aisles!
One afternoon we did some shopping on Michigan Ave. Oh, who am I kidding; we were there for Ghirardelli's, but I did succumb to a Fossil purse. Marshall Field's gives out of towners (out of staters?) a 15% off coupon if you go to the 6th floor customer service and request it - nice!
Eli's Cheesecake was also on our "must do" list, although after our 1 1/2 hour public transportation debacle (original meaning) we weren't quite so thrilled (we missed the one daily public tour). We got tossed outside because of a fire alarm, and I chatted with one of the employees and got ourselved added to an afternoon group tour. Yeah!
The ChiPRoC is excellent at crashing manager's receptions! We hadn't had more than few drinks between us the previous few days, but...I think we made up for it that last night. We moved on to a deli around the corner and closed that place down as well.
I lost my little travel wallet on the bus to the airport (I hope whoever found it and didn't turn it in needed the money more than I do). No strip search required at the airport, but I did get patted down quite thoroughly. And we paid less for 5 days of airport parking than our friends did for one evening's parking in Chicago. Yeah, I enjoy visiting Chicago, but it's always good to be home.
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Fame Becomes Me
Blue Man Group