Thursday, September 25, 2008


I have a lot of mixed feelings about the Windy City. While I love the culture and diversity of the populace, it's also where I was first mugged. Which is pretty much how my Chicago experiences always go. Awe and body-blow.

I should've known something was gonna go wrong with this trip from the moment we got to the Greyhound station. It's 2 am, Lucas Oil Stadium is standing across the street being the several hundred odd million dollar waste it is. And directly outside of our gate was a deranged, homeless black man performing judo on the bus mall. Jake's stepdad really pulled through for us and got us the already cheap tickets for free.

The ride up was very uneventful. Ryan ended up asleep with a t-shirt over his head, and I ended up asleep on him. As far as I know, Jake and Tiffany just played Gameboy. We got into the station at 5:20 Chicago time and laid around on the bus for a while. After several minutes of awkward somersaulting in the seats, we decided to just start our day. Mistake number one.

We set out for Michigan Avenue and the Red line buses immediately. It's worth mentioning that I've never experienced better weather in the city than that morning, and I'm always stunned by how empty the streets in Chicago are before 7 am. Aside from the solitary jogger we didn't run into anyone walking through the financial sector. When we got closer to the Magnificent Mile homeless people started to turn up en masse, mostly glued to benches. Jake was pretty anxious to do something, so we just decided to eat at McDonald's because some of us were getting cranky.

Now after we left the McDonald's we crossed the street to look at the Rainforest Cafe and I have to say I nearly shit my pants. On the concrete in the back alley was a pool of red liquid that was the general size of a body. I'm sure it could've been someone dropping a pig or something (do they still carry whole pigs around?), but I've never been so scared of a puddle in my whole life. We quickly made it out of the alley and headed towards the buslines.

Thanks to my fantastic navigatory skills we ended up 4 blocks from where we were supposed to be, and I had fostered the ire of one of my comrades. It certainly wasn't hard to do considering the amount of sleep we all had. With all of us tucked comfortably on the bus to Chinatown the tension was expelled. There isn't a whole lot to do in any part of Chicago until at least 9 am so we just went to the Wal-green's, got some novelty candy, and hunkered down with a Chinese newspaper. I think I have retained no more than 100 characters from my Chinese classes so it was a brief read.

9 am -
We can finally do stuff! We hit pretty much every shop in Chinatown and dropped far too much money. I know that Pokemon stuff isn't Chinese but Ryan bought the cutest apron with the 1st generation family on it. I bought 2 pairs of kung-fu shoes (aka slippers), a keychain, and a bunch of haichu. I was going to bring some home to Kate, but I ate it all waiting for lunch time to come around.

Jake and Tiffany ran off at some point so I'm not really sure what they did for that period. When we all got back together we went to the mall. We grabbed some ginkco fruit from a tree hoping that we would be able to plant some back at home. However, the smell was just disarming and Jake and Ryan threw it away (I think?). We ate at the best Chinese food for lunch, I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant. They were the best rice cakes I've ever had, and I've had a lot. We remained occupied until 2 or so and headed back to the bus stop. Thanks to me and Ryan's poor judgement we ended up over at McCormick. It was the wrong direction.

We decided to just walk back to the Greyhound station. Mistake two.

It was only...oh, I don't know. 6 fucking miles to walk through winding city blocks on 1 hour of sleep in a 48 hour period! I'm going to cut this part out because it was seriously the most stressful hour and a half of my life.

So we make it to the bus station and make it onto our bus. The fucking bus breaks down on the way home! I have never had such awful luck in my entire life. End.

No comments: