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I just blew in from the windy city
--From "Calamity Jane"
Breakfast: Oatmeal, cinnamon toast
"Eyes of a Child"
YOU CAN TAKE THE CITY OUT OF THE GIRL
29 March 2004
In the many, many years after we moved to Davis, I always pointed out that when I got back to San Francisco again, my "city genes" kicked in. I always felt alive when I was in the city and knew that in my heart of hearts I would always be a city girl.
However, it was so nice to get home to a quiet city, without tons of people and activity and all that goes along with a big city, it may be fair to say that time has finally taken the city out of this girl.
Still, it was nice to have the chance to spend some time in Chicago and to get to know it. For those who have read the first two installments of the Chicago story, I will mention that I went back and redid them and included photos, if youre interested. Its always a better story when you can add photos to it!
The plan today was to start the day by doing a work out at the hotel gym, on the 42nd floor. I also thought it would be a good place from which to take photos. Weve been to hotel gyms before. I remember working out in a hotel in Ashland with my friend Mary and visiting the gym in Eureka when we were there for Andy & Sandis wedding. I knew my way around a hotel gym.
Uh. Not quite.
We got off the elevator on the 42nd floor and were greeted by a desk, a stack of fluffy white towels, hotel residents wearing hotel bathrobes, and a desk clerk who looked like she could have served in the SS in Nazi Germany. There was also a very big sign saying that for a mere $10 we could work out. However the Spa Nazi could tell that we werent serious, experienced health club fanatics ready to fork over big bucks for the privilege of working up a sweat. Having spied my camera, she whisked us away to an empty room with a nice view window and I took a few pictures. Then we slunk out of the workout room before people could charge us for taking photos.
Today was to be a low key day after our museum + 2 show day yesterday. The hotel is directly across from the river, so we decided to walk down the steps to the river level and walk along there. A lovely walk. It must be beautiful when all the trees start to leave out and the place gets a little more life to it.
We walked down as far as Michican Avenue and then climbed back up to street level again to walk Chicago's Magnificent Mile.
I've discovered that this is a city which is rich in architecture and I spent most of my time looking up at buildings, the tops of which were beautifully decorated.
The Hammacher-Schlemmer building has bits of material from several different famous structures all over the world imbedded in the facade.
We walked down as far as the water tower, which celebrates the memory of those who died in the Great Fire (didn't see Mrs. O'Leary's cow, however).
If you are not into shopping as a sport, the "Magnificent Mile" is nice to walk once just to say you've done it. It's like seeing the Las Vegas strip, if you're not a gambler. Once you've seen the casinos, there's not much of interest.
The Magnificent Mile is filled with world-renowned boutiques, designer stores, and all sorts of places to get all sorts of things that I can't afford, would never buy otherwise, and I am almost certain would not fit me to begin with.
The most interesting thing I found on the walk was the guy who'd set himself as a one man band, practically. He had 2 saxophones, a clarinet, and a boom box and he alternated which instrument he played. Since we hold saxophonists and clarinettists in the highest regard, we had to cross the street to make a donation in his bucket.
We had lunch at "flat sammies" (which is a flattened sandwich, we discovered) and by the time we got back to the hotel, it was time to leave for the airport.
We took the train and were fortunate that we left as early as we did. The train brought us into the farthest point from our gate as possible and probably required another mile of walking to get to the gate. We arrived quite early, but just ahead of a line of storms that was coming in from the east and causing all sorts of delays. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:45 and left an hour late. We had arrived around 5, so had a lot of time to wait.
We sat sandwiched between a group of high school LaCross players from Vermont and a school choir from a new performing arts school in Sacramento and it was really an intereting mixture of kids. One should always travel with a band. The choir eventually ended up seranading everyone in the waiting room with several songs they had performed at a competition they had just participated in(and won) in New York.
We also found a very interesting poster in the waiting area.
We lucked out on the plane and to exit row seats, so for the first time in I cannot remember how long, we finally had some LEG ROOM and I found that made all the difference in being able to sleep. I got two big chunks of sleeping time on the plane, waking up when they passed out or "snack box." I swear they went to a rummage sale for food samples. Our box consisted of: a bag of potato chips, a package of crackers with cheese, oreo cookies, raisins, and a mini Toblerone bar.
The flight was, thankfully, uneventful and when we arrived home, it was to the new, completed bathroom, which is gorgeous.
I just discovered it is 2:45 a.m. and I think I'm going to take myself upstairs and go to bed before it's time to get up!
It was a good trip. We did fun things, but I'm glad to be home, and glad that this former city girl is back in her quiet neighborhood once again.
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