After spending a couple weeks in Sandusky with friends, I headed to Chicago to spend time with another friend. I took the Grey Hound bus for the first time ever because it was the best option with the way gas prices are right now and the fact that my truck is still in Alaska. It wasnt as bad as I thought it would be, but there were some very stinky people. I made it to my friends town in the Indiana burbs of Chicago on Tuesday night and we went out for awhile that evening. On Wednesday, I hung out with her son while she was working and had a good day with him. It was nice to spend some time with him because he is growing so fast and I dont get to she him much. On Thursday, Kassia and I got up and took the train into the city, checked into our hotel right downtown, and headed over to the Taste of Chicago Festival. The festival is basically a celebration of food. There are hundreds of food vendors from all around Chicago serving everything from pizza, burgers, ribs, and chicken to exotic food from India, Poland, Africa, and Asia.
All of the food is purchased with tickets. A pack of 12 tickets is $8. Each vendor serves only four items and one of the items can be purchased as a "Taste" portion that costs 2-4 tickets. Getting the taste portions allows you to try many of the different foods that the festival has to offer. These are the foods that I tried over the two day period that we were there...Roasted corn on the cob with butter and cajun seasoning... samosa (crisp patties with potatoes, peas, coriander and spices)... Chocolate dipped strawberries, banana, and fudge...mustard fried catfish...frozen chocolate chip toffe crunch cheesecake on a stick...potato pierogies...sauteed goat with fried plantain...alcapurria (pork filled banana dumpling)...mango cumin-dusted fries with chutney...several types of Bao (kung pao, terriyaki, and BBQ pork). All of those things were very good except the alcapurria I didnt care for much. It wasnt bad, it just didnt really taste like much of anything. And it looked like baby poop!
The festival with busy, busy, busy, but alot of fun, esp the first day. They had alot of live music and other things to do too, but we really didnt get into all of that. They did have a few big name people there like Stevie Wonder, Shaka Chan, Joss Stone, and Angie Stone, but none of them were there on the days that we were.
It was nice to spend some time in a hub city like Chicago. I kind of like the hussle and bussle of the city.
That night was the big night for fireworks. They do theres for the festival on the night of the 3rd. We got a spot and some drinks and got ready for the action. Those of you who know me, know that I am a huge firework fan and that I was really pumped for this.
Unfortunately, we picked a bad spot with some trees in the way on the bad advice of someone who said that the fireworks would be above the treeline. The fireworks were phenomenal...we just didnt really get to see much of them.
After that we went to the blues club where we saw that crazy lady dancing. I have officially put that video up on YouTube if you want to watch it there. It's still really funny.
The next day we got up and did some shopping on State street downtown. We passed this amazing building and were surprised to find out that it was a library.
After we finished shopping, we walked down to Millennium Park. They have these two structure with faces on them that spout water and all the kids were playing. The Crown Fountain displays the faces of 1000 Chicago residents.
Below is the reason that we walked down to Millennium Park...the bean. That's what I call it anyway, and I've been telling Kassia that I wanted to see it for years now. Actually, it is called the Cloud Gate and it is a really neat sculpture.
It is made of seamless steel and reflects the city and sky. I was a bit dissappointed that it wasnt better polished, but I suppose I was there during probably THE busiest weekend for downtown Chicago.
Walking under it, I was surprised to find that the inside forms this shape and the reflections of the people were hard to figure out. Can you find me?
I didnt know that you could walk under it and that gave a whole new aspect to the sculpture. It was fun and interesting to see.
Doesnt it look like a bean? Or maybe that space ship from the movie Flight of the Navigator?
Later that day, we went back down to the Festival and the waterfront in order to get a better spot for the 4th of July fireworks. I was determined to not miss them again. You can see Navy Pier in the distance past all of the sail boats.
Yes, the view of the fireworks was better, but the show itself was a bit disappointing. It only lasted 10 minutes. What a bummer.
The Sears Tower was lit up with red, white, and blue for the 4th. The building next to it had the flag displayed in the windows. Very neat! That night we went out to a dance club in downtown Chicago and danced the night away. It was a good time. We took the subway to get there and back. That's the first time I rode the subway.
On Saturday, we went to a Cirque du Soleil show, Kooza. It was a great show and the seventh that I've seen. All the shows are amazing.
If you've never seen a Cirque du Soleil show, you should. Doesnt the tent look like something right out of a Dr. Suess book?
I enjoyed all my travels, esp seeing my friends and their families, but it is good to be home. Not sleeping in your own bed for three weeks can be tiresome, but now that I'm home, I'm kinda BORED! :)
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