Friday, 31 August 2012

Day 2: Stolen Stones and Stars

Today started with a rude awakening. Well I say rude, but what I really mean is that there is only supposed to be one 5 o'clock in the day and it's not supposed to be before lunch.  Jet lag is a cruel mistress; however, since pretending to sleep didn't seem to be working either we abandoned all pretence of it in favour of an early start.

We decided to have breakfast at the Corner Bakery Cafe near our hotel where we sampled delicious french toast, something delectable called apple chicken sausage (no we don't know what an apple chicken is either but it was yum), as well as Cherry Coke on unlimited refill and this was all before 8:00am.

Having set ourselves up for the day food wise, we ventured across a bridge that makes the millennium foot bridge seem stable to find the Chicago Tribune building.  This was one of the Chicago sights featured on Billy Connolly's Route 66 program.  It's an office building that has small pieces of stone embedded in it from famous buildings from all over the world. Each has an engraved description and we photographed as many as we could find.  What is particularly hilarious is that some of these buildings are national treasures e.g. Houses of Parliament, the Parthenon, the Taj Mahal, Edinburgh Castle.  One wonders truly if they got given these pieces or if they were purloined in some fashion.  We could do an entire blog full of all the pictures but we won't.  Here are a couple of the most mindboggling and when we get a round tuit later we'll post a link to a facebook album where you can browse the rest.

After the exhausting work of photographing pieces of rock in the hot sun, we decided to get a drink and fell upon the Argo tea cafe which was helpfully also embedded in the Chicago Tribune building.  Rachael got very excited because they served "bubble" tea but lost me somewhere in the enthusiastic description so I chose a sparkle tea instead.  This turned out to be a mistake because whilst the sparkle tea (white tea with raspberry) was both refreshing and delicious it was no where near as fantastic as Rachael's White tea and vanilla bubble tea. I had never before heard of bubble tea but I shall be seeking it out back home in London.  It has chewy bits in the bottom and it's a cold tea that has milk in it. No really. And it's still amazing.

At this point we spotted a nearby Walgreens and decided I needed to prop up my meager nail polish collection (stop sniggering at the back) as well as pick up a few other bits and pieces we probably didn't need.  Somehow we experienced the absolute extremes of customer service within 5 minutes with one assistant who couldn't do more to help us and another who's answer to a polite question about stamps was "thats not my job". No really.  Next we wandered down to the Nordstrom mall and after a little more shopping in Benetton, where Rachael bought a belt and I had to be physically restrained from unfolding things, we headed back to the hotel in the midday sun as the convention officially started this afternoon.

On the way back to the hotel we got a little sidetracked by a bar and decided to get another drink (did I mention today was really hot?). Sitting outside and watching the world go by we had good intentions of only getting drinks, but when we saw "disco fries" on the menu we knew we could not miss the chance to sample Poutine style fries.  For the uninitiated basically this is fries with melted cheese and gravy, but trust me when I say it's 100 times more awesome than that description suggests.

Worldcon is a strange and interesting beast.  Rachael spent the afternoon with children building rockets and then launching them. I blew off the opening ceremony in favour of more interesting things on the internet and a bit of a rest before the evening's outing to the Adler Planetarium where the convention had free run of the place for the entire evening.  The exhibits were interesting and the CGI on the planetarium show was fantastic.  Of course Rachael had a few quibbles with content but there was also lots of squeeing "that galaxy is one of mine... LOOK!". 

One of the remarkable things about the Adler is its built on a peninsular on Lake Michigan away from the city centre, and the views back towards the city are nothing short of spectacular.  We could have spent hours just photographing the city skyline from there alone.

Chicago is proving to be so much more than I expected and I love it.



  1. Yup, just playing catch up! Jetlag is always a bummer. Some people seem to be able to sleep in, but I never can so I sympathise with you over the 5am start.

    I can't wait to see more of your photos of the Chicago Tribune building! It's hilarious and I have to wonder, too, if they got permission to take the stones they did. I wonder whose idea that was...?

    I love Planetariums and that one looks awesome - what a fantastic setting! And that's a beautiful photo of the Chicago skyline.

    The comment about Benetton made me laugh! Also, can I say, I squeed on seeing Rachael's teeshirt - it looks like a good fit. :)

  2. MEAGRE nail polish collection ???? *guffaws*

    Sounds like you're having a blast so far :)