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.

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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
IMG 6275 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.

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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.


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
IMG 6453 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: