Monday, April 4, 2011


I have to cast my mind back to early March now. The accumulative work load didn't permit me to attend to the blog as often as I would have liked to, and with the home girls visiting for a week things have been pushed back. Mid terms/papers are at the rear of my mind, so here is my latest travel tale. 

I was heading west once again, but to Chicago, or Chi-town as it's colloquially referred as. There is something so magical  at a of height of 10,000 feet where America becomes minuscule gold and silver interlocking chains, all the while blinking bulbs of hard and soft lights paved our air route to America's 2nd city.  I had been told that Chicago resembles New York in a 'city' way- that they mirror each other in a metropolitan sense, and I wanted to head over so as to get a feel for these competing cities.

'My Kind of Town'

Much like the subway in New York, the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) system in Chicago is accessible and convenient for a first timer- the blue line takes you directly to the center. But had my NY subway skills not been so well honed, navigating the Chicago system would have been second to none. Most of the subway routes are overground, except for the red line. Not that you see the most interesting of things, but in the pitch blackness, I rippled with laughter at a sizzling 'Hooters' sign winking its 'O's at me! The subway cars run in between the highway roads, on a slim line, stopping every couple of minutes. Gaining proximity to the center, the subway began to thread the Chicago grounds more intimately, lacing around residential neighborhoods of hip and fresh taste. I was heading to Diversey to see my cousin Christina, whose cozy apartment finds itself among the trendy types. Although not smack in the center, the apartment grasps the city and cozy life in equal measure- perfect. The best part of the subway lines are that you see the city up close and personal. 'The Loop' is the downtown district, where the subway nudges past office towers, gyms and shops, giving its riders a visual route to their destination. 

Christina and I in 'The Loop'
The weather was not on par with my liking- especially for the early/mid days of March, but as the saying goes: beware the Ides of March. I'm not sure Shakespeare intended for this warning to concern itself with the climes, but for all intents and purposes, I will lay it on thick. The brutality of winter had given me, what I thought to be a final kick into the ass end of the season- hmmm..right now it is pelting down with frigid frost dangling on the bus window.

Below is a gallery of photos I took, attesting to the Chi-town glory. 

Classic Brownstone

'The Bean'
Because my cousin was at work, I was free to my own devices and started to tread the city, everything in a 5 block radius of Michigan avenue. Michigan Avenue sports the same reputation as 5 Avenue, it is a fashion hot bed for the keen fashion bean. But the spitting snow reduced my capacity for further exploration, I stayed within the safe confines of downtown- I never got to experience the Navy Pier and beyond.
The Infamous Hot Dog
A lot of the prolific spots are major gathering spots for tourists and locals alike: Sears Tower, Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier; Millennium Park, 'The Loop' and the mouth watering array of restaurants.

It's not just a Chicago thing, but an over arching America thing. Food is simply unreal here. Be it a cart on the street, or a fancy schmancy high rolling Meat Packing district food haven, my unbridled food consumption has hit an ultimate high here in the U.S of A.

Everyone kept harping on about the 'Pizzza' and the 'Hottttt Dogggggzzzz' and how I haven't experienced Chi-town without munching on the former and latter. Now, my love for NY pizza is unmatched with any other 'pizza', but the deep dish voluminous splendor is a close second to the number 1. One piece is an actual meal. It's a thick strata of cheese, pepperoni, goo and goo. A tummy filling, tummy enhancing, tummy aching bit of goodness. The hot dog on the other hand, is of modest portions and fillings, namely the fillings: green veggies and only a slither of sauce. Both go in my good food books, but below is the beast of all breakfasts. One morning my cousins Christina and Phillip and I went for a smacker of meal.

Going All Out Baby
America at its most humble. NOT. What is worrying on my part, is that I wiped the plates clean. America has exercised my nibbling capacity, and stretched it to full on monster munching. Needless to say, the combo of Eggs Benedict and French Toast/Pancake piles gave me the mother of all food babies to the point of implosion- I was due to travel back to NY later that day, uuuhhhhh.

Most of the trip was spent rekindling with my cousins (plus Marc who came a day later) over food and more food and tarot card readings. The weather had put a crimp in my sight seeing, but Chicago left me with a very good impression, it's no New York but a smaller, gentler version with more breathing space.


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