May 29, 2006

This Is Where I Bore You With Holiday Snaps (Again)

I arrived back from Chicago this evening, safe, sound, and a little exhausted from my 6am awakening today. My mum arrived at almost exactly the same time, so I am now gorged and mostly immobile from a very trendy and expensive Montreal dinner.

I only actually spent one day in Chicago, proper-- Friday I hung out in the suburbs with my friend Erin, and Saturday and Sunday I trekked all the way out to Peoria to visit my other friends Caitlin and Tim. Peoria is mildly famous for being where Al Capone stashed much of his illicit hooch back way back when, but nowadays has little going for it except for Caterpillar's global headquarters and a lot of gang violence. We spent most of the time lounging by their neighbourhood pool and drinking strawberry daiquiris.

Nonetheless, I have a couple of different Chicago stories and snaps to share, so I'm going to break it up into a couple of different posts. Today: my first two hours.

Erin's training to be an audiologist in Northwestern's graduate program, and had classes to attend on Thursday, so she dropped me off in Evanston at about 8am and I was left to make my own way into Chicago on the El ('El' as in how one spells the letter 'L', though I realise that to anyone who speaks Spanish that probably looked like 'the The'). I arrived just to the north of downtown and immediately sought out a Starbucks (where else?) to get some much needed caffeine and form a plan of action.

First stop was a short walk along the lakeshore, which was a beautiful watercolour of washed out tones, despite (or maybe because of) the gloomy weather.



Next up I ducked into the Hancock Centre to get a view of the city from their 100th floor observation deck (I picked the Hancock Centre rather than the Sears Tower on my guidebook's recommendation, and because it has a dirty-sounding name). It was a lot like the CN Tower, in that you pay a lot of money to get to the top and upon arriving there you think: "So this is what the city looks like from high up. Huh... Well, that was fun, time to go, $12 well spent".

Actually, though, it was $12 well spent, because from the observation deck I spotted something I knew I had to visit: this freakin' huge McDonald's:



Will you look at the size of those golden arches?! They are breathtaking! Now, this— this is a McDonald's that says: "Go on then, eat at Burger King. I fucking DARE you."

Actually, the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's, as my guidebook later informed me, not only has some big-ass branding on the outside, but also features table service, designer European decor, larger-than-usual price tags on all the menu items, and an adjunct museum showcasing memorabilia from the Fifties onwards. It even has a song written about it. It's enough to make you sob golden yellow tears.

That's all for now.

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