When Travis invited me to stay with him at the Jesuit house on campus I was bit nervous – like with anything a bit new. I’ve been to church, Christmas Eve mass, and had many discussions, religious and on a variety of other topics. With this pending trip though I soon got over the nervousness as I realized I know virtually nothing of what my cousin does, outside working with troubled youth and studying philosophy.
Up arrival Friday, after battling through what looked like Seattle traffic, we were at the Jesuit house. Checking into the room I hurried to put on a wrinkly white shirt and blue sport coat to look halfway presentable for mass. Not being anywhere familiar with procedure and song, I followed Travis’ lead and stood awkwardly in silence during song. I felt okay as guest but there is always a part of who wishes to participate.
Mass was really good and the building and architecture more amazing than I thought. Afterwards, everyone made there way downstairs for a toast to new recruits and a professors tenure. Drinks where served and I was being introduced to many folks. So far, I’ve remember one name of a short pudgy Irishman named Ryan, also a Jesuit, who sang some and made me laugh like no other. Maybe that is why I remember him. Or it could be that he had a tie on with the coolest knot I’ve ever seen. Either way, he is rememberable.
Today I awoke to breakfast and a bit of a hangover, from the dark beers at the Norse Bar, folks I didn’t, and food I desperately wanted to eat. After chow and getting to know more and more folks, hard to keep everything straight when meeting a large group, Travis and I set out for the city. Riding the Red Line on the “el” (elevated subway) into downtown Chicago was interesting. Not for the people but for the architecture. It is odd to see so many homes/buildings all made out of brick.
The city was great and the people a bit on the crazy side. Seen a young kid, 19/21, looking like he was going to die on the sidewalk as well as many wasted folks but we kept walking. We walked to the river and see it dyed green, I was more impressed by the police boats, took photos of the cool buildings, parade, skylines, and then arrived at the Field Museum of Natural History. Walking in my boots, people that know me know my boots were not made for walking, for about 4.5 miles, will give a person time to rethink their style. We did the tour, 3-D Waking Sue movie, took a bazillion (yes, that is officially a number) pictures, discussed history, science, the evolution of our species and the hope that society will not destroy itself.
Time for food and a street vendor had a tasty, maybe because I was starving, Chicago style dog. It was good but nothing beats Seattle’s Downtown Dog. Now it was time for a cab because I couldn’t walk to the Navy Pier for more touristy stuff. Cab driver couldn’t drive yet we made it safely to our destination. We walked through the pier but being that it is still winter outside it wasn’t all the impressive – summer would be better.
But on the highlight side, a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant was open, haven’t been to one since Maui in 2011. Travis had never been and I recommend a 1 1/2 lb cajun shrimp bucket. Yes Yes Yes! It was so good and I could have kept eating them but we finally ran out and it was time to get back and rest. Hoofing it back to the “el” we prepped ourselves for the crazies.
The train had its fair share of super drunks and one guy that had been being an asshole to his girlfriend he was so crunked. Needless to say I was happy to be off that ride.. Travis and I can back and did some work; with me entering a listing and him a bit of studying. It felt good to get the feet up. So so good. Then we went out an shared a large pizza while chugging the water. 2 beers on St. Patrick’s Day is a personal best for me – in a good way.
The two items I noticed about Chicago I have share are 1. The city and river are dirty with garbage and litter (disgusting) and 2. People here drive and park like crap (seen cars put their hazards on and leave their vehicle in the street while others banged into other cars just to squeeze into a “parking” spot). Interesting difference in Chicago culture when compared to the Pacific Northwest.
End note: I am no skinnier with that long walk as I’ve not been starving LOL