December 9th, 2002

sideview, obamame_sideview

Tales from Chicagoland

Since I seem to be waiting for CAP's web site to download to my local machine here and that'll take a while, let me settle in and offer up some details of the last few days, i.e. the period since I posted that "I'm so stressed and f the world!" thing late Friday night / early Saturday morning.

For all I feared it would somehow degenerate into disaster or anxiety attacks or us both getting sick, the trip Caleb and I made to Chicago ended up being quite refreshing. I think the fact that the streets around Michingan Ave. are apprently deliberately scented with cocoa sums up how nice a place Chicago is and can be. Caleb I still are trying to figure out if the scent comes from the sewers or if there are hidden sprayers, but we smelled it at the corner even when there was no nearby coffee shop and nobody drinking cocoa, so we figure Mayor Dailey simply thought up another way to make people happy.

Anyway, to the actual trip (yep, it's stilllll downloading, even with this broadband connection), we arrived around 10 on Saturday morning with very light luggage, barely a change of clothing for each of us, and took the train up to town from Midway. I like the CTA a lot, both the trains and the buses, which seem to go everywhere and run really fast even. Caleb and I got weekend passes which gave us $9 for unlimited rides and I'm sure we must have road it worth $20. After 20 minutes or so, we arrived near our hotel and got out, where we were instantly about to pass out from all the incredible, just CHICAGONESS of it all. Found a full-size grocery story in the bottom of new skyscraper, got some hot chocolate nearby, scooted over to the hotel, a 1920s relic that was oodles cheaper than any other hotels around there but perfectly adequate. Our room wasn't ready so we decided to head out for a while and come back. Not like you can't easily amuse yourself!

So for around four hours I guess we went around and had fun. We went north to Lakeview (?), the really gay area that to me kind of like Virginia Highland here, only a lot more dense with townhouses and a lot more gay I guess. We found a great noodle place called Joy's -- the only gay-Asian-owned-and-operated restaurant I've ever come across (and yeah, I do am East Coast, so I admit this is probably not a total rarity). It was really good food! The guy at the table next to use turned out to be from Atlanta and we updated him on how Atlanta is still trying but not "there" yet. After that I had to go to Body Body, the circuit boy shirt store we used to have a branch of in Atlanta. I got a nice tight circuit boy shirt along the lines of what I bought from there a few years ago -- they last forever since I guess they're meant to endure many stenuous hours of sweaty dancing in clubs. From there we went on a walk through that neighborhood and maybe a few others. Finally we caught the #36 Broadway bus back to the hotel -- went right there.

I guess this is all getting too detailed and ho hum, so let me move on to highlights for the rest of that day. Our hotel turned out to be just fine and adequate for our needs and verrrrry close to all the wonderful shopping. We found that Chicago/Illinois liquor taxes must be way lower than Georgia's, as all the liquor in the supermarket (hey, and in Georgia, they can only sell wine and beer) was wicked cheap -- $10 for a big bottle of Amaretto, like $18 for a big Frangelico. Other stuff was not so cheap but I bought it anyway. At Carson Pirie Scott I went all hedonistic and bought a gorgeous black silk blouse and a full 1950sish velvet skirt, both on sale. Caleb and I went into a lot of stores and then finally, when we got hungry, took the 36 up north again. Caleb found us another Thai place, since he was dying for Masomon (sp?) shrimp, which he found. The place we went was a college dive with a Russian waitress but it was OK food. After dinner we ended up walking for a while, since the bus wasn't coming, then finally we made it to the hotel again, where we enjoyed the hot water for baths and watched Spanish-language TV.

Sunday was a lot more stressful for me and had PMS going on (so fun to be with!) but I guess it was all right -- we were in Chicago, anyway! I slept kind of late so we had to rush to get our first thing done, which was getting ready to check out of the hotel and run over to Mass at the local cathedral. We left our stuff with the hotel and then, yeah, went to mass. That makes two weeks of church in a row for me. I may develop an allergy quite soon. The service was spectacular in that it was all traditional with Latin singing even, absolutely wonderful music. The priest made a great comment about how the church should pray for peace and the protection of "freedoms within our own country" -- pretty pointed stuff. No talk about bankruptsies for certain dioceses located in the Northeast, however. Caleb was quite satisfied with the service. Then it was on to hedonism again, pretty much spending the rest of the afternoon shopping and eating. I got new high boots from Nordstrom -- 2 1/2 heels :)

Then we got our stuff, hauled it to Midway, and flew back to Atlanta, where we made a distinct PLONK! as we lanked in this small pond.

Tomorrow: My First Day at My Nice New Contract Job