I don't know if I can appropriately encapsulate everything I did yesterday without the assistance of the pictures we took on the cheap disposable camera, which haven't been developed yet (but when they are developed, I am not sure how I will be able to load them on ART COLONY, so I may require assistance). That said, this was our schedule yesterday--bear in mind that this was my last day of "break" where I don't have to work or attend some stupid meeting or go to class, which is why I did this in the first place:
6:30 AM: wake up: Biff takes a shower while I get dressed
7:10 AM: remember in a hurry to purchase disposable camera: catch #15 bus
7:30 AM: get to AMTRAK station, purchase round-trip tickets from Chicago to Milwaukee and vice-versa
8:00 AM: get on Hiawatha train
8:05 AM: train leaves station: Biff begins to drink energy drink and consume powerbars which we had brought to eat in Chicago
8:45 AM: I drink my energy drink and eat a luna bar
9:37 AM: We arrive in Chicago!
9:40 AM: We are lost in the train station. Not sure where to go, we ask the guy at the Hertz rent-a-car booth if there is anyplace we can get a map. He is rude. We look at newspapers etc. shop and they don't sell maps either. We say "Screw the map, let's get going." Our plan is to hit the Shedd Aquarium. Everything else is up in the air. We begin walking randomly.
10:20 AM: We see the Sears Tower. Biff wants to go inside, except we went in the wrong entrance, so the security guy directs us to the "Skyplace" where the public goes to view the Sears tower.
10:30 AM: We fork over an obscene amount of cash to get inside. We are forced to pose in front of a green-screen for a digitally-produced picture of us in the "sears tower." We are then herded into a small, dark room where they torture us with an incredibly hokey "educational film" about the Sears Tower, which is in reality about everything except the Sears Tower. It could've been produced as an educational film for the Midwestern Agriculture Board, or the Society for the Acceptance and Propagation of Ridiculous Stereotypes and Bad Synth Music.
10:47 AM: We are finally freed from the film! We are then taken into an elevator to go up to level 103 (not 110, which is the highest level--I felt gypped somehow)--and during the 60 second ascent, we are subjected to yet another film, this one a Pixar computer nightmare about 2 bumbling pigeons.
10:49 AM: We are really high up in the air! The Views are incredible! Picture time! Yay!
Until they start playing even worse cheesy music.
10:53 AM: We have to get out of here. Jumping out of the window isn't an option, so the elevator down is the only way.
10:55 AM: Took elevator down. But in the meantime, we were forced to go through at least 3 "gift shops" and they were trying to sell us the cheesy greenscreen picture! Nooo! I won't buy anything from you, highway-robbers!
11 AM: We are free! Thanks to the Sears Tower's height, we were able to orient ourselves towards the Shedd Aquarium and the Lake.
11:30 AM: We walk all the way through downtown on our way to Lake Michigan. Spotting a Jamba Juice along our route, Biff suggests that we buy one on our way back. I say yes!
11:45 AM: We cut through this beautiful park next to the lake, where I see what I think is a festival...but then we started wondering why all these people were milling around aimlessly like zombies. It turned out that it was some kind of music video shoot, I suspect it was for a country band since 4 out of the 5 members were wearing rhinestone-studded black cowboy suits and the 5th was dressed like Pochohontas. We avoid the music video shoot, and continue to walk by the lake.
12:10 : We arrive at the Shedd! Yay! We wait in line to buy tickets. A scary adolescent behind us starts saying random things. It was weird. We get our tickets and get to go inside.
12:15-1:45: Fishes!!! I love the Shedd Aquarium, and Biff had never been to Chicago or the Shedd or anything and he loved it! We got to see everything--turtles, anacondas, cichlids, angelfishes, poison dart frogs, the coral reef(s)...in the special exhibit on the rainforest, I tried to scare Biff by showing him the giant cockroaches. He scared the pants off me by showing me the Goliath Bird-eating Spider. There were giant eels and anemones and pirahnas and lots of rainbowfish. We got to see the Beluga whales and porpoises and sea otters too, but we liked the "fishies" more. And then there was the special, vaunted CRABS! exhibit that we just kept on making silly jokes about.
1:50: A very businesslike homeless guy takes our picture. We give him $2.
2:00: We start walking towards Navy Pier, naively assuming that it is next to the lake so it should be easy to find. (*I should've listened to you, Pedro! Navy Pier is a tourist trap! but still)...
3:00 PM: We get to Navy Pier. Our legs are really hurtin.' I get us Chicago Hot Dogs and put all the fixings on them--relish, mustard, ketchup, hot peppers. The wind blows a hot pepper smeared with mustard on my new jeans, so now i have a mustard stain on my knee. At least the weather is lovely and we get to sit outside and enjoy our hot dogs.
3:15: We wander around inside Navy Pier, which is weird 'cuz it seems like Chuck E. Cheese for Adults. Although I got an adorable golden Maneki Neko as a souvenir (our only souvenir of the day, besides photographs, memories and aching legs :). We sat down and listened to some jazz performers for a while. They are talented, but dangerously on the verge of sounding like Muzak.
3:35: we walk all the way to the end of Navy Pier and find that half of it is closed off to the public due to construction. Heading all the way back, ahoy! We stop in Millenium Park which is TOTALLY AWESOME and would impress anyone--there are these 2 gigantic glass-brick structures which have water running continuously down the sides, and they have these faces projected from within them, and the faces will spit water at the people going by...it was impressive. We saw a cop on a segway. We sat down and rested near the Art Institute, hoping to watch the cop actually use a segway, and he did.
3:50: On our way back, we notice that Chicago Bikers are very pugnacious and view pedestrians as feeble scum to be eliminated or terrorized. Chicago drivers believe this as well.
4:30: We stop in DuPaul university's student bookstore/giant Barnes & Noble and relax for a little while because our legs are like jelly. We find this totally awesome book Fresh Fruit and vow to buy it at some other time.
5:15: We find the Jamba Juice. We get the gigantic-sized cups of Razzmatazz and Mango-a-Go-Go for Biff and Me, respectively. We sit there and absorb the fruit-molecules of delicious goodness. I am now understanding Biff's cravings for Jamba Juice. Why, why, why don't they have any Jamba Juices in wisconsin??!?!! I love this place!! We get to people-watch out the window, and that in itself is fascinating.
6:10: After leaving Jamba Juice feeling like we are happy frozen popsicles, we begin to wander about again. We find a totally awesome record store, where Biff makes friends with this employee who also loves electronic music and who tells us about 2 other really cool record stores that we can visit, but unfortunately we don't have enough time to take the "El" to go to them.
6:30: We stumble across a totally mixed-up protest of various things: Anti-abortion protestors with huge mangled signs, Anti-War protestors, Anti-Bush protestors, Pro-Choice protestors, all in the same space. Biff tells the Anti-Bush protestors "way to go!' and the woman running the anti-Bush protest comes over and starts chatting us up about this Nov. 2nd thing, and we say we can publicize it to our friends & acquaintances in Wisconsin. We were having a cool conversation, when all of a sudden the police were riling up one of the protestors, so the woman we were talking to had to go.
6:40: I insist on getting us another Jamba Juice. One is good, 2 is overkill. I know this now. our distended bellies full of juice goodness, we walked around some more and saw this totally hilarious Pawn Shop/Hotel/Smuttily-titled Chicken Shack ("Grills Gone Wild"?) and we had to take a picture.
7:05: We go back to the train station and wait for the 8:05 PM train back to Milwaukee.
8:05 PM: We are on our way back!! I take a nap on Biff's shoulder. There is an annoying businessman sitting behind us yakking into his cell phone at the top of his voice about how he judges people based on whether they like BLTs and Beer or not. What an idiot!
9:30 PM: We get to Milwaukee!! YAY! Oh, I am filled with appreciation for our scrappy, small city. I am also filled with aching leg muscles. We wait for the #15 bus, which isn't coming.
9:45 PM: Bus still isn't coming.
10:05 PM: Bus finally arrives.
10:17 PM: We are home! I set up the gold Maneki Neko with our other black & white maneki neko.
10:25 PM: Heat up some cream of mushroom soup. Biff eats some cheese. Our feet hurt.