Chicago Day 1: Art & Buddhist Temples

Hi Friends!!

What a weekend! I don’t know the last time I’ve walked so much in such little time and have been in this much pain, but it was worth every second!

My friend, who we’ll call D, and I left pretty early on Thursday morning even though she wasn’t feeling very well, as she was just recovering from food poisoning… yeek. Chicago isn’t far from where we started, but we completely forgot to factor in the time difference and came an hour early, which was super cool and unexpected — at least something was going right for us … read on.

We wanted our first stop to be somewhere we could get breakfast and found a nice place called Wildberry, and apparently a pretty popular one with tourists, rookie mistake. Must’ve been some pancakes. Walking in there and trying to get a table felt like a mission to see the queen. While waiting we decided to be tourist-y and check out the bean (the cloud?) and the park. We also somehow found a playground (classic) on which we spent too much time, but I give snaps to Chicago for thinking about the Children. Go you. Two hours later we left our “place” in line (64 people ahead of us!!!!) at Wildberry and settled for a different coffee shop, Intelligentsia Coffee. I was so satisfied with my Matcha latte that I gave them 5 stars on Facebook as soon as I took my first sip. Really, really good coffee. The people that worked there looked really cool too. They probably wouldn’t hire me because I can’t pull off being so hip and retro. One of the guys looked like John Mayer. 10/10 would go again & recommend to a friend. While getting coffee we were thinking about our options about what to do next. We decided that the planetarium seemed like a good fit for us. What’s a good fit? cheap. Little did we know that we were both about to become $40 poorer. (is that a word?)

Because it was such a BEAUTIFUL day out we ended up walking around a bit before making our way to the planetarium. While about to cross the street I suddenly realized that I lost D. Okay, I didn’t lose her, but I turned around and she was talking to a guy resembling a Buddhist monk with very broken, but fast, english. All of a sudden, he’s handing her a bracelet that takes 15 cents to make and she’s handing him $40. If that’s not gypsy work, I don’t know what is. I had all the power to just say no and walk away leaving her $40 poorer and me in the same stable and comfortable position that I was in. But what kind of friend would that have made me? (A smart one). But I caved ( *be more selfish, be more selfish, be more selfish*) and got my 15 cent bracelet. Then, he wanted $20 more “for his family”. No, man, sorry, who do you think I am? We walked away and now wear these bracelets as a constant reminder. Don’t get me wrong, out of all religions out there, I get and appreciate buddhism. I just really hope I funded a temple and not some random guy on the corner.

After that fiasco with our  wallets and souls feeling lighter, we agreed that we need ice cream. We found a place called Red Mango, solely because the word mango was in there, and started heading towards it. We probably looked like ducks that couldn’t make a decision, because Red Mango was nowhere to be found and we walked in circles for the longest time. After almost giving up, we looked at comments online and realized that this ice cream place was found underground. All we wanted was to eat outside — another let down. We eventually found the place, after almost walking into what seemed like an underground murder tunnel, and got our ice cream. It was okay. Very limited choices and my green tea ice cream didn’t taste like green tea. But the mango pieces were delicious. So… 5/10, wouldn’t visit again but satisfied with mangos.  Now I want mangos.

We did eat outside, though, surrounded by kinda-cool art figures made of old tires. That’s when we started making our way to the planetarium, but decided that we would make a brief stop at the Art museum. We’ve checked the prices before and knew that our temple-funding wallets can’t afford it, but decided to check once more just to make sure. We sat on the art museum steps and I felt very Gossip Girl. Turns out, we could get a student discount and it would be like funding half a temple!! FORGET THE PLANETARIUM!!!!! Having forgotten all about the planetarium and the temple (not really) we made a final decision about the art museum. Before totally committing to it though, we made a stroll down Lake Michigan, almost making it to Navy Pier… before the sidewalk quite literally ended. We headed back to the art museum.

This is when my feet started to give out. I recently got new sneakers … but they are the Michael Kors kind. The kind you wear around the city when you want to pretend that you’re sporty … but not the kind you wear when you plan on walking 14 miles. Still, props to MK — I made it FAR in those shoes and they’re cute. Anywho, the Art museum was PHENOMENAL. We didn’t have much time and definitely didn’t cover even probably 20% of it, but it really is one of the best art museums out there. 10/10 recommend.

After being kicked out of the art museum at closing time, it was time to check-in to our hotel. Half of that adventure was trying to find a parking garage and driving in circles around Chicago while we do that. Driving in Chicago is absolutely terrifying, but I get it. People have places to be and only the aggressive ones get there. Makes sense to me. Fun Fact: parking in a garage takes as many funds as it does to fund a temple.

When we finally found a garage and parked, we checked in to the hotel which proved to be the easiest thing we’ve done all day. It was quick and in less than 30 seconds we were on the fastest elevator in the world traveling to the 5th floor (How fast? I didn’t even have time to press the record button on my camera before we got to the fifth floor. Sorcery). Our hotel room was surprisingly nice — spacious and clean, with a Keurig nook (essentials). The view was absolutely amazing as well — bustling downtown Chicago. I’m totally kidding. It was a view of the fire escape and other people’s office windows. But considering we spent minimum time there, we didn’t really care. It was nice to put our feet up on the bed for a hot minute while we searched for dinner options. My feet probably would’ve left me to die in the parking garage if we didn’t rest for a bit. D searched for dinner options while I imported all of my photos, focusing more on that than on her ( shh, don’t tell her). Luckily, she picked a hibachi place without my help. We went to Flattop Grill for dinner which proved to be one of the better decisions of that day (looking at you, temple). It was one of those places where you put your choice of veggies in a bowl and they cook it for you on a … well, a flat top grill. I got lotsa veggies and a much needed (debatable?) margarita. I was hoping it would numb my feet, to be honest, but all it really did was cloud my vision a bit. I turned on my blonde and flirted with our super friendly waiter and I’m pretty sure the margarita was on the house. Again, don’t tell D. It was a lot of food, but having barely eaten all day, I inhaled the whole thing. I’d go back if I could — 10/10.

After dinner we sped walked back to the hotel, seeing as it was drizzling and had one more thing to do before we called it a day. We were soaked and cold and tired by the time we got home, but we had a second city comedy show to go to at 11pm. By the time it was time to go, we ordered an Uber and made it there with time to spare. The show was hilarious. It was an “OKCupid experiment” show and I haven’t laughed like that in a while. It was good and much needed. The actors were super, each and every one of them.   I loved their humor and there were even times when you could tell that they messed up a little and the cool part was that there was so much team work and they all helped each other out. I always say to people that if all else fails then i’m going into comedy (because I honestly am hilarious), but I do have to say that I don’t think I could do what they do. There was an afterparty after the show where you could meet the actors and I really wish we would’ve stayed to say hello and maybe even for a photo, I think I had a little crush on the Canadian actor … and I’d tell you his name if my program was close by. The show definitely woke me up (literally and figuratively) and made me wish I was in a more stable position in life, ha ha ha.

By 2am we made it home. After enduring a kinda-creepy Uber ride and making a pit stop by trump tower to see the river,  we walked home through a dead Chicago (where did all the people go?). I set an alarm for 8am and dissolved into our cloud of a bed.

 

 

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Matcha Latte. Best.

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Such a beautiful city. Can’t get over the water color.

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Miss it for everything that it is.

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Art Museum steps 🙂

 

 

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