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Published: July 14th 2009
Sears Tower Time
The Sears Tower, one of the biggest buildings in the world.
Talk about a bumpy flight in. I was really considering looking for one of those hot chicken bags in the back of the seat….bleugh!!!! But I kept my composure and Scott giggled, he loves that feeling of extreme turbulence. I don’t mind bumpy plane rides but when you feel like you drop 20 metres in 1 second….that is not for me.
So we landed in Chicago and it was bucketing down, raining cats & dogs. We jumped on our Blue train to the city for $2.25 and sat for an hour until we had to get off at Halsted Station. I had a quick chat to the man at the station about the operating times and it is open 24/7, excellent, we can catch the train back to the airport at stupid o’clock on Wednesday morning.
So we humped all of our stuff up the road, got a little lost as per normal trying to find our accommodation but finally arrived at their doorstep at 7:30am. We couldn’t check in until 1:00pm at the earliest….grrrr. There is nothing worst then doing an overnight flight, getting no sleep & then having to wait 5+ hours to go to bed.
Sears Tower II
Another shot of the mighty tower!!
we dumped our bags and walked downtown. Our hostel is located in the Greek section of the Chicago ( South/Westside ) so we had to head east. I always find that funny when you ask directions in America, people say to you ‘yeah, just head east!‘.
I can only speak for myself but I do not carry a compass with me and when it is raining and overcast I can’t use my bushman skills and determine where north is when there is no SUN! So anyway, we walked over the canal and headed straight for the Sears Tower. It was still too early to go in and do the touristy thing so we walked over to a park and pretended to read our books but in fact we had a quick shut eye for about 20 minutes. I couldn’t’ pretend to read my book anymore as I was feeling a bit like some of the homeless people we had seen earlier, so we got up to go and find me a coffee. We went inside the Sears building, had to get our bags scanned and then walked around the labyrinth of shops trying to find Dunkin Donuts. We eventually
The view of Chicago's buildings and highways from the Sears Tower observation level.
gave up, I am sure it had something our sleep deprivation, as we did walk past it as we found out later on that day!! Stupids!! So we then walked around the front of the building to catch the elevator to the 103rd floor. Fifteen bucks each later, we only got to go to the 99th floor as they were doing renovations. It was quite amazing how this building was built over 30 yrs ago and still looks quite modern and it was the tallest building in the world until the Petronas Towers in Malaysia were built. After we walked around the 360 degree view numerous times in our zombie like state we then took the elevator down 99 floors and walked back over to our homeless park again as we really needed to rest or else we were going to pass out. After another quick little nap we decided to chance it and go back to our hostel and see if our room might be available at 12 instead of 1. Bingo!!! I could not have been any happier, we could go to our room. So we opened the door to our expensive honeymoon suite, 2 single beds, no
The View II
More of Chicago from a birds eye view
air-conditioning, no fan, no T.V. and we could only open the window about 30 centimetres. Scott & I couldn’t care at this point, we both needed sleep. We slept for almost 2 hours until we both woke up from heat exhaustion. Our room was very disappointing and we were paying almost $100 a night for it, so we had to complain. The lady at the front desk was really cool and she could only apologies and she put us into a much better room at the front of the complex, with a fan, with big windows that could be opened. We were both in a much happier place. Sleep :o)
Once we had another little nap, freshened up, we went to dinner at the famous pizza chain called Giordano’s. This is officially the first time that Scott has been beaten by a pizza!!! He ordered a small ( 10 inch ), stuffed crust cheese pizza and only managed to eat 2 slices. I could not believe my eyes when this pizza, which really should be called a pie came out. We both left the pizza joint with our doggy bags, unreal pizza’s, definitely recommended! So with our little fat
This ironwork structure supports the trains so that they literally run "over" the whole city.
belly’s we decided to go for a walk and find this pub that apparently has fantastic live Blues. So we walked & walked & walked, for 2 hours, we found this really commercial place called the House of Blues but we didn’t go instead. We found a little Irish bar, had a drink and called it quits for the day. Next morning, got up at 8:30, went downstairs & had our free breakfast. We were really feeling the effects of being jet lagged and decided to sleep a bit more as today was going to be a huge day. We eventually dragged our butts out of bed and walked down to hires some bikes. On the way we took some photos of the famous fountain that is in the T.V. series Married with Children. We had to walked about 2 miles to hire these bikes but when we finally got there they were $20 for 3 hours. This was way too much so we opted out and decided to walked to the Zoo which was free. We walked past 2 man-made beaches, saw a red-headed afro dude and finally got the Zoo 2 ½ later. My feet were killing me.
This was the fountain that was used in Married With Children...although I'm not sure how many people know or care.
We only had 1 ½ left before the Zoo closed…grrr. It was such a really hot day that most of the animals were instead there shelters, put it this way, it was so hot even the African animals were hiding. So we wandered around in no time at all, as there was no animals really to be seen. We then jumped on the bus, $2.25, it took us 4 blocks away from our accommodation. We freshened up, ate our leftover pizza and then caught the bus to Kingston Mines, the cool Blues place we wanted to go the night before but couldn’t find it. So we told the bus driver were it was, and he told us ‘ Oh, it is just up ahead from here a bit’.
A bit my butt…. 13 blocks of walking later we were standing outside the door. The nice guy at the door let us in for free which was great and we went inside for a chilled beer. The first band we saw was called Joe Barr & the Soul Purpose Band www.joebarr.webs.com. He had a truly bluesy voice and sang this love song without even using the microphone; his voice was
Penny loved these fire escapes...just like in the movies!
so powerful and he was an unbelievable piano/keyboardist. His set went for over an hour and then we all moved next door to another stage where another band called Quintus McCormick Band www.myspace.com/quintusmccormickband started to play. Quintus was an awesome guitarist and was absolutely mind blowing. His fingers were so fast all over the frets that Scott & I were in awe. We stayed until he finished his set and then we had to go and catch the bus back to our hostel to get ready to leave for London. We packed all of our stuff, walked down to the train station at 1:30am and caught the train to O’Hare airport. We got there around 3am and were told they don’t open check in’s until 4am…grrr. So I feel asleep for a little while whilst Scott read his book. We finally all got checked in and went to the gate to catch our flight to London town. We were both shattered even before the flight had begun.
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