Monday, July 23, 2007
I don't know how many times I woke up today. Regardless, the one time I brought myself to get out of the hide-a-bed I slept in over night (which was surprisingly comfortable), it was brought to my attention that there were steak and eggs waiting in the dining room.
[Insert from Mom: Where Gus woke up was the Evanston, Illinois, condo of our former neighbors the Leones. They moved away when Sarah was in about sixth grade, and this summer she was married! We've missed them the whole time, Sarah having been an attentive "older sister" to baby/toddler Gus. Dolores, who practices law out of her condo, made us a wonderful feast of homemade soup (I forget the Spanish name!) and steak and chicken tacos, which we ate in their backyard. After Sarah and sister Christine and their spouses left, Dolores and I stayed up late talking and looking at two sets of wedding photos and some of our travel pictures. TJ, who is returning to primary education after years in the world of computers, had an early appointment to get to, so he gave up on us. It was SO good to see them again, even if Sarah didn't remember Gus's name for her: Sassa. :-) (Hi in Spain, Sarah and Paul!) Back to Gus...]
TJ had gone off to work (he came back moments after I began eating because he left some sort of important paper behind), but Dolores was chatting with my mom. I listened, but didn't contribute much. Although it was a more female to female discussion, I felt that it still had significance - life troubles, college, marriage, all that. I still have a few years before I have to start practicing the age-old adult art of worrying. Whew.
The morning went quickly, and most of it was already elapsed by the time I rose, but after inquiring about the possibility of Evanston having a Bubble Tea shop, we said our goodbyes, and headed toward the lake, to the more established main drag of the Chicago suburb. Joy Yee's Noodle was located on Davis Street, only about five minutes from the Leone's house. Lucky them. I snagged an Iced Coffee Milk Tea (with bubbles, of course), while mom went across the street for a Cappuccino. We had both found what we considered pretty good drinks. Coincidence or not, that made Evanston fine in our books.
So, we were caffeinated, and ready to take on Chicago. Maybe.
Our goal was to wind through the downtown area by car (which mom did with a great deal of dexterity), and end up at Millennium Park.
We accomplished both. Downtown was spectacular, a marvel of a city. The high-rise apartments, designer stores, everything in powerful synergy. It's a fun city. A little intense, but fun. The expansive park area of Chicago is impressive. Perfectly groomed (the people and the park), and well placed for inclusion in the busy lifestyles that many of the yuppies seemed to run.
Millennium Park was fantastic. Created on top of a massive car garage, common areas for the city's open minded folks host vegetable gardens, sculptures, and even a massive amphitheater for outdoor concerts. A football field-sized area is covered in a lattice of huge metal pipes bent into a structurally sound network of speaker holders and as a whole, an art piece. All together, it was designed by Frank Gehry, who also contributed to the world of architecture the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington.
Leaving Chicago was a mess, and the urban sprawl (ghetto) of Southern Chicago slowed our progress greatly. I'm surprised the city could handle such a high volume of cars and not get backed up more than it did.
We returned to the I-80/90 turnpike and proceeded to what I was told to be a worthwhile side trip which ultimately got us lost and angry, in the heart of mangled Hammond, Indiana. After a few calls to a number we finally found with the new iPhone, mom discovered that it was closed on this specific Monday.
We moved on.
Eventually, we arrived in the greater Toledo area, at the southwestern tip of Lake Erie, sifted through results that Google Maps on the iPhone provided, and chose to roost at Comfort Inn. The receptionist gave us conflicting pricing, but said that we could reserve the room online right there, in front of her. And we did. But somehow, I managed to reserve the wrong room. I had no idea King beds were wider than they were long.
The only thing we can complain about within the bounds of our room is the microwave - it doesn't have an empinadas button. Thanks Lia and Emi!
Today's photo is from downtown Chicago.
We are here.