Friday, April 26, 2013

Where the hipsters go, where the tourists go

This is my last Chicago post, I promise. Just humor me - I don't get out much. Our last full day in Chicago was Sunday. We had made some loose plans as far as what we wanted to do that day. We knew that much of the flavor of Chicago comes from its many diverse neighborhoods. We also knew it was best to avoid the ones where people are frequently, you know, shot.  So, we decided to head to Wicker Park. We had several guide books (Rachel is better at planning than I am) and had some ideas of places we wanted to see. Rachel had the cab driver drop us off at a coffee joint called The Wormhole. I am not a coffee drinker so I sipped some apple juice while she worked on her caffeinated beverage. After that, we walked along a few of the main streets in Wicker Park. We stopped in a toy store, a hipster joint called Reckless Records, and a book store called Myopic Books. I bought a book for my husband but nothing for myself, mostly because the book I bought him was a thick hardcover book and I'm too much of a pussy to carry around too much heavy stuff.

We browsed a few more shops - thrift shops and also high end "if you have to ask you can't afford it" boutiques.  I didn't ask and knew I couldn't afford it. It's always a bad sign when there are only two of an item on a given rack. For lunch we stopped in an Irish pub called Pint. It was casual and the food was pretty good. We dug it. After lunch, we hoofed it a few blocks to a place called The Boring Store.  It bills itself as a place that sells spy gear. However, all sales fund a writing program for kids.  What's not to love about that?  I picked up a couple of little trinkets, including some bug-eye glasses for my daughter.

Once we were all shopped out, we hailed a cab and headed back to our hotel to drop off our stuff and to take turns wearing the bug-eye glasses. Endless amusement.  Now, we know that Navy Pier is super touristy but we decided to go anyway.  Rachel wanted to buy Chicago tee shirts for her crew at home and I was game for whatever.  So, we hailed our umpteenth cab and headed over to Navy Pier.  We did a little shopping and walked all the way down the pier to take some photos.  Then we walked back up, but inside the buildings this time. There was an interesting stained glass windows exhibit so we checked that out. We had heard about the wonders of Garrett's popcorn, so we felt obligated to buy some when we happened upon a Garrett's popcorn shop.  I must say it really was extremely good. I can see why people are willing to stand in long lines for it.

Initially we thought we would eat at Navy Pier but as it turns out, we weren't interested in the restaurants they had there (mostly chain restaurants, which we could find anywhere).  We pulled out our phones and started Googling. We decided to try a Mexican restaurant called Zocalo. Instead of getting two main dishes, we ordered a bunch of small plates and shared everything. We drank margaritas, of course.  Rachel's budget for this trip was nearly ten times my budget, so she bought dinner and I, being the good friend that I am, let her. She knows I'd do it for her if I had the same budget.

We ended the evening with another long swim in the pool.  We got a lot of use out of the hotel pool. We were particularly relieved that the pool was on the sixth floor so that we didn't have to walk through the lobby to get there. Nobody likes the post-swimming walk of shame through the lobby.

The next morning, it was time to head out.  I needed to get home and Rachel was headed for Kentucky to take some photography side trips. She is a photography student and hopes to get her own photography business off the ground. She drove me to my friend's house to get my car. It took a while to get there, in as much as I entered the wrong address into the GPS on my phone. But, we finally found it and before long we were both on the road. I stopped at an IKEA on the way home. I didn't buy much because I'd already wasted too much time getting lost that morning.  IKEA can easily become an all-day affair. Oh, and when I left IKEA I did run a toll because it was an unattended one that had the audacity to ask me for $1.90 in coins for the coin basket. Fortunately, they have a system where you can go online and pay it within seven days.  So, I took care of that when I got home. Because I am a goody-two-shoes, that's why.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must turn my attention to planning a birthday party for Her Highness. 

Geno's

Wicker Park

A few of my friends are qualified to work here

See? Endless amusement.

Do you like how my lipstick is all "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

Navy Pier





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