The True Un-told Chicago Story: Highlights

Allow me to re-intro­duce my self… my name is Ho…”

So yes yes, long time no write. Its been real­ly visu­al as of late­ly. The week after Chica­go was just “back to real­i­ty” even though it was a short week, for me at least. We took some new and old cowork­ers (who were leav­ing) out to Buca on Howard. That was fun, even though it took up a bit over 2 hours for an hour planned lunch on a Fri­day. Any­ways, things were busy and what had to be done were done for that week.

Mean­while, I almost missed my stop get­ting off the bus this morn­ing at the Trans­bay Ter­mi­nal. Thank god to this dude who woke me up. I was com­plete­ly knocked out with my hood­ie and iPod on. Its just that the 20–30 minute usu­al com­mute that I take have been going up to 30–45 min­utes. Its real­ly the stu­pid Bay Bridge con­struc­tion that have been going on late­ly. I guess they close the 5th Street and Har­ring­ton Street exit which caused a lot of bot­tle­neck for com­muters going to work in the city start­ing last Fri­day.

Any­ways, I guess I was doz­ing off in the bus while lis­ten­ing to John Mayer’s Room for Squares. Just haven’t heard that in a while. That and I just need­ed some­thing mel­low for the morn­ing being that I am freak­ing sore from play­ing lots of soft­ball this week. Prob­a­bly close to 7 hours of it. Yah, hard­core… 8 for 11 at the Alame­da Pick­up Soft­ball (Sat­ur­day at noon) and 2 for 3 at the Daly City league (West­lake Park, Sun­day after­noon).

In rel­e­vance to the top­ic at hand, I’ve been mean­ing to write about Chi-town for days now. But I just haven’t had the time because of oth­er stuff. Any­ways, it was real­ly good times at the City of Wind. Hope to do it again some oth­er date in the future. I real­ly hope that I can catch a Cub­bies game at Wrigley Field before they win a World Series.

Fri­day, 9/2: Hipoc­ra­cy With­in Our Midst
Bright Early Smile

Illinois Pandora's
Back­track­ing to last-last Fri­day AM, Jenn and I took a cab to the air­port for about $25 (includ­ing tip). The dude was cool but I think he was try­ing to get some more mileage on us. Thank god I remem­ber the shortest/fastest way from Big­gy’s pad through Otis (the street).

Any­ways we got to the Oak­land Air­port and through secu­ri­ty with ease. We also got on Group B for seat­ing with South­west which was real­ly weird because we checked-in online at 1am. I didn’t real­ly think peo­ple do that too, at least not that many.

So fast for­ward to the most excit­ing part of the morn­ing, the Group B line dilem­ma. Yes, what a dilem­ma it was when this lady tried to be all high-and-mighty for leav­ing our lug­gage un-attend­ed. The sto­ry starts when we got in line. We put our lug­gage down, and I told Jenn to just get some cof­fee and break­fast for us as I stay there and watch our stuff. So she goes and I put the stuff down in line, walk over 5–7 feet away to an emp­ty seat and chill. Time flies slow­ly, and after 10 min­utes I got up from my seat and grabbed my iPod in my cam­era bag; and walked backed to where I was sit­ting down.

So min­utes passed and new peo­ple got on line. Two ladies fol­lowed the gen­tle­man behind my spot with­in a 5 minute span. Fast-for­ward­ing to about near board time (which was at 8:45am), Jenn came through with the bagel and some cof­fee. As I got up from the seat, took off my head­phones and walked over to the line where our bags where, the two ladies spoke out. Lady #1, the one that was orig­i­nal­ly behind the gen­tle­man (and now in front of Jenn and I) said to me, “you shouldn’t leave your bag­gages unat­tend­ed. We were gonna call secu­ri­ty…” yad­da yad­da yad­da.

Lady #2 I guess was in re-assur­ance of what the the first lady was say­ing. So I replied as I was gaz­ing at the gen­tle­man (who knew I was there from the begin­ning when I got up and got my iPod), “Oh, I was just a cou­ple of feet away.”

Lady #1 replies, “But still…” blah blah blah. Still try­ing to get her point across. Mean­while, I was think­ing about the dude behind us. Didn’t he tell them that I was there? Any­ways, I then said, “Ok, grant­ed. But weren’t you orig­i­nal­ly behind him?” [got ‘em]

She then blabs and try to be Lady Jus­tice, when all she can be is a hypocrite—one of the things that I hate most, with a pas­sion. I stood there think­ing, “Does [Sher­win] real­ly have to choke a bitch!?!?” (~Chappelle’s Show) haha. I also start­ed think­ing on how fun­ny it would have been if Big­gy went with us, oh man… that would have been a sight to see.

Being the grown up (between this 40–50 year old lady and I) I told her, “you know, its the week­end. Have a good one.” No one is about to ruin this freak­ing week­end, no one. Not some­one who is bitch­ing about fol­low­ing the rules and not fol­low­ing com­mon cour­tesy, as well as com­mon sense in that sense.

Fur­ther­more, as we were board­ing the plane. As Lady #1 found a seat as you walk-in to the cab­in, she just blurts out, “I need help with my lug­gage” Jenn and I were like (at least I was), “Are you kid­ding me? You aren’t even gonna say PLEASE, or at least be sin­cere about it?” I swear, she said it like every­one near her were her ser­vants. Damn.

So I just help anoth­er man push her bag into the space above. Fun­ny thing is, she didn’t even say “thank you” to either one of us. “Ain’t that a bitch?!” (~from most of Samuel L. Jackson’s films).

Oth­er stuff for Fri­day were: Giordano’s, H&M and meet­ing up with Cat and Olivia (for bar-hop­ping and some Chica­go dogs at Hogie Hut).

Sat­ur­day, 9/3: Trekking of Chica­go
Chicago by the Lake

Stop Motion Kapoor's Bean
Sat­ur­day AM? More like Sat­ur­day noon. We pret­ty much got home around 4am. Even tough it was only 2am CA time, we were still tired and need­ed much rest for the upcom­ing day. We pret­ty much dis­tin­guished Sat­ur­day as our Tour Day of Chica­go, and can I tell you the places we went.

But before start­ing the explo­ration, Joe­ma­ma, Jenn, Cesar and I went to this 24hr. cafe called Tem­po. Yum­my stuff might I add, but the lady that was serv­ing us seemed to be not on point with our food. Any­ways, after our brunch, we met up with every­one to ride the Red Line to head towards the Chica­go Jazz Fes­ti­val at the Grant Park area.

While on our way, we stopped over at Mil­len­ni­um Park since its near­by. There were a lot of cool and neat stuff there to see like: Crown Foun­tain, Kapoor’s Bean (aka. Cloud Gate), Jay Pritzk­er Pavil­ion and the BP Bridge to name a few. How­ev­er, what made our tour of Mil­le­ni­um Park (to me at least) was the per­for­mance by Gin­garte Capoeira.

Capoeira 6134

It was just plain awe­some! Makes you think how far we can take the human body to and to what extent we can define nature’s law of grav­i­ty. Its both a cre­ative and pow­er­ful form of the mar­tial arts. Not to men­tion, music is involved and deeply root­ed to it… “Parana e’, parana e’, parana.”

After the per­for­mance, we made our way to Grant Park to quick­ly check out Buck­ing­ham Foun­tain. This fountain’s pop­u­lar­i­ty lies with­in the intro for one of the most enter­tain­ing fam­i­ly tv-series of all times, Mar­ried With Chil­dren. “Love and mar­riage, love and mar­riage. Go togeth­er like a horse and car­riage This, I tell you broth­er You can’t have one with­out the oth­er.” Oh man, mem­o­ries of “No Ma’am”, “The Nudy Bar”, “Big ‘Uns” and Kelly’s girl friends. Oh the laugh­ter and dra­ma of the Bundy fam­i­ly.

Mean­while, the Jazz Fest had great enter­tain­ment and food. Most­ly every­one stopped over to get some fun­nel cake topped with a scoop of ice cream. After that, we pret­ty much head­ed back to the hotel (Dou­ble­tree Suites on Delaware St.) to get ready for din­ner and the night-time fes­tiv­i­ties.

For din­ner, Group A went to Cheese­cake Fac­to­ry (locat­ed below the John Han­cock Tow­er) and Group B went to Ed Debevic’s. I went with Group B. It was a weird place. I guess the wait­ress aint sup­pose to be all “Pleas­antville” on you but just straight-out blunt. Either way, the food was good. I ordered the Roast­ed Chick­en din­ner meal, and that got me full.

After­wards, we just met up with every­one at the Sig­na­ture Lounge atop the John Han­cock Tow­er. Drinks and desserts were expen­sive. I ordered a dessert which wasn’t all that for $8. I’d say the dessert cakes over Cost­co would prob­a­bly worth it. And thats a whole, huge cake and not just some dinky slice of a slice of cake. Any­ways, it was just chill. Too bad they had to split us up in two groups because seat­ing is hard to come by for 16 peo­ple (giv­en).

These Crowded Streets

After a cou­ple of hours, a bit after 1am (Sun­day), we all head­ed back to the hotel. I guess it was just a lot of walk­ing for the day, so every­one was tired. How­ev­er, a cou­ple of peo­ple head­ed to Tem­po for some mid­night snack. Joe­ma­ma and I went for a walk with our cam­eras. I bor­rowed Lou’s tri­pod to help me get some long-expo­sure shots of Chica­go. I’d say most turned out pret­ty well. Oth­er than some secu­ri­ty con­cerns by a guard over at John Han­cock Tow­er (which we total­ly under­stood because of the height­ened secu­ri­ty alert) our night-time pho­tog­ra­phy ses­sion is a must for a town spe­cial­ly known for its archi­tec­ture.

Sun­day, 9/4: More Walk­ing
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IMG 6298 Butt Dart
Sun­day came up fast. By the time we woke up in the morn­ing, we all knew that there are a lot of things too see that we wont have time to even check out. But what would a Chica­go trip be with­out eat­ing at Kitschn’s. We were gonna roll to the one at Roscoe but it was just too far from where we were locat­ed. So we took a cab for a quick ride to the one on Riv­er North.

Most­ly every­one ordered their famous“Green Eggs and Ham Sam. The best thing that I tast­ed from the restau­rant would prob­a­bly be the Tiramisu Twinkie. Damn. That suc­ka is just daaamn bad for you but its so daaamn deli­cious.

With that, we were enroute for the Sears Tow­er. On our way to take the train, Belle dropped her sweater with­out even know­ing it. Light bulb… and whats a bet­ter way to enter­tain our­selves by pulling a prank out on Belle. So we all passed Belle’s sweater to the back of the pack, end­ing up with Joe­ma­ma. And the rest was just his­to­ry, hilar­i­ous his­to­ry in that case.

IMG 6316

Get­ting to our des­ti­na­tion, we prob­a­bly were in line to go to anoth­er line for about 30–45 min­utes. After that, we then saw a 15-minute short film about Chica­go and the Sears Tow­er. Then, got on the ele­va­tor which shot up 103 floors up in about 15–30 sec­onds. Come to think of it, after com­ing out of the ele­va­tor, I felt a lit­tle dizzy.

But it was all for­got­ten by the awe­some view of Chicago’s cityscape. Too bad it wasn’t all clear. That, and the win­dows weren’t cleaned recent­ly. Maybe its just because that we were on the 103rd floor. I mean, come on, you’ll have to pay me a lot of dough to clean just one side of the build­ing that way up.

Any­ways, after being amazed by the view and rem­i­nisc­ing a bit about the scene in Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off, we head­ed down and out of the build­ing. Some went back to the hotel to relax, and oth­ers head­ed to go check out the Riv­er Tour by Wen­del­la. So we all took the train.

The most fun­ni­est part of the ride was prob­a­bly almost los­ing Joe­ma­ma in the crowd. You just got­ta imag­ine that each cab was packed by peo­ple. I mean, it just wasn’t fun­ny see­ing it at all. I guess the humid­i­ty of the tun­nels were get­ting to em, and they just need­ed to get to some­where else. Any­ways, Joe­ma­ma didn’t get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get out when every­one couldn’t get in a cab. There were no cell recep­tion at all and the exit that we were sup­pose to get out at was under con­struc­tion. But alas, Joe was a troop­er. He even went back to the hotel, wait­ed for our call to meet­up, and arrived at the des­ti­na­tion spot before us—which was about a cou­ple of miles to walk. Far if you’d ask me. I prob­a­bly would’ve tak­en a cab.

Riverview

The tour was great and quite educa­tive. It pro­vid­ed every­one with a lot of his­to­ry about Chicago’s past, its present and future. Not to men­tion, a great alter­na­tive per­spec­tive to the one we saw from above the Sears Tow­er… a per­spec­tive from the ground-up. One fact to take note of was prob­a­bly when the tour guide asked us why Chica­go is called “The Windy City.” I quick­ly replied (just to her, as she was next to me), “because every­one has gas.” Oh schnaps, oh schnaps… a lit­tle gig­gle was good. But she stat­ed that its because of the ever-chang­ing pol­i­tics in the city. Like a wind, it comes and it goes; no con­crete des­ti­na­tion of where it’ll end up at.

Oth­er stuff for Sun­day evening were:

  • eat­ing at Sushi Sam­ba and pay­ing a $400 bill ($100 gra­tu­ity and tax!)
  • par­ty­ing at the Funky Bud­dha while think­ing that it was $10 cov­er for every­one, and lat­er find­ing out that its $20 for guys and $10 for the ladies
  • last but not least, pack­ing our stuff and spend­ing our last night in Chica­go… *tear*

Mon­day, 9/5: Gino’s and Good­bye
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Ponder and Ponder Want to Touch the Heini
For Monday’s sched­ule, we planned an hour or two for peo­ple to go do what they want and just meet up at Gino’s East at noon. A cou­ple of peo­ple went to Nike­town, Urban Out­fit­ters and H&M (again). But it was real­ly hard to buy a lot of things as our lug­gage space was lim­it­ed to new things. Any­ways, Gino’s East was good. I think that their crust was bet­ter than Giordano’s. That and their restaurant’s atmos­phere was cool. Prob­a­bly the best way to describe is that “the writ­ing is on the walls”.

…and they all went back to Cali and lived hap­pi­ly ever. Till then, don’t wor­ry, be hap­py.

From my mind to yours, there’s noth­ing more than a great vaca­tion if you can laugh out the ter­ri­ble times with friends. For exam­ple, walk­ing lost in Chica­go to go to a club with a bunch of girls wear­ing high-heels. Awe­some, good times.


Extra tid­bits from Chi-town trip:

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