Published: December 30th 2006December 23rd 2006
Getting up at 4:30 on a chilly winter morning isn’t exactly our idea of fun. If it is , however, a question of catching a flight to meet some of our famous oops ! favorite relatives - well that’s a whole other ballgame . Newark - Pittsburgh - O’Hare, we land in Chicago around 2 p.m. fretting that our tickets said 1:15 and Bubul Di (cousin with whom we’re staying , yes I know we’re awfully lucky to have relatives who live in great places ;-) ) would be waiting for over an hr . Then we realize Chicago is on central time which is 1 hr behind New York so its only 1 p.m locally! Bubul Di wastes no time in starting our sight-seeing tour as she takes us to some scenic places on the lake-front before taking us home. Well, home too in her case is a very scenic lake-front location in a place called Lake Bluff, which is nearly an hr from Chicago.
The next morning , we set out to explore downtown Chicago. Its cold. And windy. And fun. We take a walking tour near the river, seeing the Chicago tribune building and the Wrigley building
Outside the Shedd
The tallest building in the background is Sears Tower
among many others. Strolling down Michigan avenue feels a bit like NYC with less crowds and noise. Some last minute Christmas shopping later, we drive down the Lake Shore drive which is well a bit like Marine Drive ( all right, any sea-type view next to wide roads with “drive” in its name reminds me of Marine drive. once a Mumbaikar always a Mumbaikar , I suppose )
Christmas eve is spent at home with everyone watching a classic movie “ It’s a wonderful life” , which apparently is a part of the quintessential American Christmas experience. The movie is simple, moral and enjoyable. I am really really hoping for a white Christmas ! and I think Chicago is my best bet for catching some snow this yr . Darn global warming , though !! coz I wait through-out the Christmas day but don’t even catch a flurry of snow !!!
If the snow let down , Bubul Di and family more than made up for it. Thanks guys, for the best Christmas ever!!
In the morning, we all gathered around the fireplace and opened our presents, including the ones in our stockings from Santa. After an enormously
lazy and pleasant day, there was high activity in the evening. At sharp 6:30, Kerrie and Kevin’s Grandma arrived and soon we proceeded to have a very grand dinner. We really admired Grandma for her tremendous energy levels.
Wait, it isn’t over yet!! 26th morning and we were still in Chicago (making this our longest trip so far in U.S) In between Sanjit’s work schedule, we found time to go to the city again. This time by train. From downtown station, there is a free trolley service to the Museum area. The driver was something of a sit-down -comedian in his own words. He kept us thoroughly entertained, and we could’nt help but wonder in how many places would you get such a great experience absolutely free?
We visited only one place for paucity of time - The Shedd aquarium. And in hindsight that was a great choice. Firstly, the aquarium’s location at the very tip of Chicago affords great views of the city’s skyline. And then there is the aquarium itself. We saw a 20-min Dolphin show which was absolutely delightful !! full marks to the trainers and the Dolphins for a spectacular performance. We also saw
the Beluga whale and lots of lizards including the Komodo king which at 10 feet, is the largest / heaviest lizard in the world.
Back home, I spent a wonderful evening chatting with Kerrie and Bubuldi. And next day, well we hate to get up at 4:30 on a chilly winter morning but vacations do come to an end you know. Bubul di, Larry, Kerrie, Kevin, Himu da - you guys are simply great !! and I cant end this blog without mentioning Putinhead - whom both Sanjit and I were obsessed with for the entire trip. Check the pictures to find out whose Putinhead.
There are more photos below