a tale probably to be told in many, many parts (i don't want to have to nail myself down to a number.)
the dotytron and i woke up obscenely early on good friday and were picked up by east end taxi (aka the dotytron's da') and taken to the airport. my new thing is to NEVER CHECK BAGGAGE. for a few reasons: a) it's annoying waiting for bags that might be lost; b) most airlines are now CHARGING YOU to check bags (lame!) c) it's a desperate bid to help us (read: me) pack light and curb my tendency to pack 10 different outfits and 4 pairs of shoes for a weekend away.
poor dotytron suffered the brunt of this new thing of mine. i packed for him and did a pretty good job. i checked the weather forecasted (that's an oxymoron and an egregious insult to tense and the english language, i know) for the weekend and things seemed pretty decent. the night before, we had the following exchange:
dotytron: i'm going to take my heavy fall jacket, it's been FREEZING here lately!
me: no! just take your fleece and the hot guy jacket (that's what we call this spring jacket of his - it really is a hot guy jacket)
dotytron: but don't you think it's going to be cold?
me: no! i checked the weather, high of 10°C and low of 2°C
dotytron: but that's cold!
me (getting increasingly shrill): look! it's going to be fine! 10°C isn't THAT COLD! it's just going to be bulky and heavy and you're going to have to carry it around all the time!!!
dotytron: but they call it the 'windy city'!!!
me: IT'S A MISNOMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dear reader: it is very much not a misnomer. as you hear recounted for you the chronicles of our time abroad and as you gaze upon the pictorial evidence, please keep in mind that at almost EVERY SINGLE MOMENT the dotytron is freezing his poor little butt off. it's SUPER WINDY! lake michigan is insane! it was really, really cold. there's like non-stop white caps on lake michigan and when we were at the planetarium, we almost got blown off our feet. the dotytron's nose was constantly running.
so i obviously felt really bad for being such a monster and in remorse, i struck a deal that will test the limits of my patience and ocd tendencies on a future trip. the next time we go away, the dotytron is allowed to pack whatever he wants.
another thing to remember is that the dotytron's left leg got pwned this weekend. remember last sunday, when we went for a run to get groceries and go for brunch on that epic day filled with hilariousness? well, what i didn't tell you, was that on that run, the dotytron was making fun of me for being a little huffy and puffy and wheezy, while he was apparently "fine." "awww lagerfeld," he said, looking at my gasping short-legged frame trying valiantly to keep stride with his lankiness, "look at how out of shape you are!" he ALSO gave me grief for being really reluctant to run on concrete and for insisting that asphalt is softer and better on the legs. fast forward to this past week.
lagerfeld: feeling completely fine, able to play dodgeball on both sunday and monday with minimal stiffness and after effects
dotytron: nagging pain in achilles tendon
this nagging pain in his achilles tendon ended up manifesting itself in giving him a limp and waves of being able to walk fine and other times of being in extreme pain. he also got pain at the back of his knee from all the walking we did this weekend (point of interest: chicago is NOT a pedestrian friendly city, outside of the immediate core area known as 'the loop'). he also got a blister on his foot. so keep in mind, that throughout most of the following adventures, the dotytron's left leg is running at a success rate of 0% (with an additional minus 25% for making him cranky)
ANYWAY, we hopped on the subway at o'hare (known as the "el" because a lot of the trains are actually elevated in chi-town) and got to our hotel. ummmm...our hotel was AMAZING! it was all super-designery faux boutiquey. here are some shots:
pretty swank, eh? that's a king sized bed mofos! those are leather pillows on the bed! and a fake snakeskin arm chair! and a tromp l'oeil chandelier on the wall! lol! all this (location was fab too, smack dab in tourista ville, attached to the house of blues and steps from the magnificent mile [which we didn't check out because we don't usually prioritize shopping on our travels]) for the princely sum of $109 USD a night (it usually goes for $350+) thanks to some insane promo code. samantha ronson was djing in the hotel's bar in a few weeks and the hotel had a BOWLING ALLEY/club INSIDE IT that had hosted the likes of p-diddy and nsync! amazing!
it was the kind of place where even though check in time was technically 3pm, they let us check into our room at 10 in the morning. amazing! then we went and got ourselves some breakfast. we went to a place called wishbone and indulged in all our american breakfast fantasies.
i had eggs over easy (another point: american short order breakfast cooks KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING. eggs over easy are over easy, like where the whites are still kind of runny. over easy in canada is mostly over medium, which is what i really want, generally), with sausage patties (WHY CAN'T WE GET SAUSAGE PATTIES IN CANADA?!??), homefries, a corn muffin, and a SMALL (yes, that's a small) side of biscuits with sausage gravy. the homefries were amazing. every bite tasted like oniony, griddly, crusty goodness. they really understand the importance of a good crust on the homefries, too. the biscuits and gravy were delicious. basically a sausage-studded, milky, bechamel sludge slumped over a split biscuit. the dotytron had some kind of scramble, with cheesy grits, and bacon and a corn muffin. the cheesy grits were so so soooooooooooo good! salty, savoury, creamy (the grits are white, the kind i make at home are yellow), bowl-lickingly good.
then we stumbled around trying to get our bearings with the transit system before hitting the adler planetarium. the planetarium shares space on what's known as "museum campus" along with the field museum (kind of like your standard, rom-type museum with dinosaurs and artifacts and stuff), and the shedd aquarium. the planetarium was obviously the less cool of them all (judging by the fact that the bus that loops around museum campus was practically empty by the time we got to the planetarium), but that didn't ameliorate the fact that we had to stand in line for almost an hour just to buy tickets to get into the place.
i was also grossly misinformed about what a planetarium is all about. i thought it was mostly exhibits about star stuff with the dome shows. it's mostly about the dome shows with some odd things to pad out the shows. this didn't stop us from doing our usual thing of making an absolute farce of well...everything.
this is us in infrared
this is me going to renaissance astronomy school
this is me asking my renaissance astronomy school prof a question
this is the dotytron as a peruvian astronomer (or something)
this is the dotytron kissing this weird hologram/projection of a creepy kid fixated on space
we saw two shows. one was this 3D symphony of animated and manipulated space stuff set to an orchestra. it was very boring and uneducational and i used that time to take a much-needed 30. according to the dotytron, there were people sawing logs all over. then we saw an AWESOME light/show thing called "secrets of the night sky" in the planetarium proper which was mind-blowingly good. at certain points, i wanted to stand up and randomly scream it was so good. this only reinforces my plan to build my ultimate fun-zone if i ever win the lottery. the ultimate fun-zone consists of a lazy river crossed with a planetarium. eh, eh? pretty solid, huh?
the dotytron and i travel in this really weird way where i spend hours and hours and hours making a spreadsheet of places to eat and do a meals itinerary (replete with coding the spread sheet entries and plotting it on a map) but then when we actually arrive at a destination, we're extremely laid back and don't do any research about the actual "must-see" sites and stuff. like, i do *some* background reading but it's pretty scattershot. we end up mostly just goofing off by being us in a different place without having to think about life stuff and laughing like idiots. most of the time we stumble upon the tourist sites while traipsing around in pursuit of one local delicacy or another. like, in chicago, we saw this famous picasso sculpture by getting lost and happening upon it:
we also bail on stuff right left and centre because in the end, we don't care. like in italy, we didn't care if we saw real david, fake david was okay. we don't HAVE to go to galleries and museums and whatnot and totally don't stress about absolutely having to see this, that or the other thing, the most important thing is hanging. this might surprise some people who would think that i would have trips scheduled down to the minute. i'm actually a very laid-back, roll with the punches, unflappable traveler - as long as we get to eat the goods.
anyway, for dinner the first night we went to lou malnati's which serves chicago-style deep dish pizza. bwong had brought me back a stuffed crust specimen (from giordano's - another heavy hitter in the chicago pizza scene) so we decided to try the classic deep dish with the full sausage patty. it was incredible. first, let's look at what our buddy lou here calls a salad:
yes, that's piles of meat on the antipasto salad. it was really good though - and i needed the vinegary cushion for the coming assault on my colon. look at this slice:
lou's has a very chunky, sprightly, oregano-infused tomato sauce, the acidity of which cuts through the solid 1/2" of cheese. overall, i think i preferred this to the stuffed crust, which seriously had like a 2" block of cheese sandwiched with a cracker like dough. this dough had a nice chew but was still super crisp-crusted and buttery. the sauce made the whole thing come together though and helped you feel slightly less gross about eating 2 slices (and seriously contemplating a third).
then we came back to the hotel to "get changed" before going out to see bill frissell but then ended up bailing on the show and passing out at 9pm for a well deserved one of the best sleeps of my adult life. it was sooooooooo good. the pillows on our bed were like, 3 feet long. my only complaint is that a king sized bed makes you feel like there's an ocean between you and we're so used to sleeping on a double that all the space left me feeling a little bereft. it's too crazy.
more on the trip, tomorrow.