Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicago is a cool city, and it’s even cooler on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (also known as Sear’s Tower). A little breezy out there on the ledge though…

Today we received great news. News that we’d be able to lend a hand in a few different directions while here in Valparaiso, Indiana (or Valpo, as it is referred to here). Yet, we wouldn’t start until tomorrow… so that leaves today for play time!

Thanks to our friend Joey, we were ‘driven’ or better yet, ‘chauffeured’ to Chicago for a full day of exploring, site-seeing, and learning. It felt a little strange being in a car again, but we quickly adapted and stopped squinting our eyes and trying to dodge the bugs as they slammed against the windshield. Soon after Joey gave up the contents of her wallet to the toll operator, we arrived at our destination.

We separated from Joey for a little bit and our first stop in Chicago was the Willis Tower to get a full picture of what Chicago had to offer. We even took a Chicago taxi simply for the sake of being in one (ya, we’re from a small city). It may be a little expensive to get to the top of the tower, but it sure is a great view. Many people get creeped out from an invisible floor 1400 feet in the air, but it’s still a floor, and what’s the big deal? If you fall, at least you get to enjoy the ride for awhile and fulfill your childhood dream of being superman. Next, we walked up Michigan Ave (the main drag) and stopped at Millennium Park to get a typical picture with ‘the bean’. Here is a shot from under the bean:

Under the Bean

Under the Bean

We tried to fit in with the Chicagoans and appear like locals, so what did we do… We bought a refreshing Starbucks iced beverage to walk around with. But low and behold, Jerry was wearing jean pants and white tennis shoes (which not many people do on an 80+ degree day in Chicago) so you could say he stuck out a tad. It didn’t help matters that Greg was carrying a bright blue backpack and brick-sized camera. We are two cool dudes.

Pizza with Joey!

Pizza with Joey - She looks fun right?

We soon met up with the wobbling Joey (recovering from hip surgery) and had a delicious deep-dish pizza at Due Pizza (same as Unos Pizza). While stuffing ourselves with only one slice, we were too busy to witness what was going on around us… Chicago’s finest came around to help out a girl in need who had been passed out in her car all day. And when awoken was obviously showing signs of… well, lot of drugs, and probably needles. It was sad thing to see but we tried not to gawk because the girl had enough to worry about already… like finding her pants.

Architectural Boat Tour!

Architectural Boat Tour!

During lunch, Joey told us how fun it is to take the Architecture Tour of Chicago (by boat) and we were quickly on board for the idea (pun intended). Thinking we had plenty of time, we took our time paying for the bill, walking to the dock… and… WHAT?! We discovered we were at the wrong dock, and also that we were supposed to be there 30 minutes before the departure time… great. Joey and Jerry were very entertained by making Greg run in flip-flops to catch the boat, but we were seconds late. Fortunately, everyone was really nice and put us on the next boat. The tour was great and Chicago is a great city and we also learned that it is very easy to nap on a lightly careening vehicle.

After the tour we met up with Greg’s old buddy and roommate, Michael, and had a blast laughing and catching up but had to quickly depart to make it in time for our dinner reservations. After another night of great conversation and a huge dinner we all wobbled back to our vehicles (not just Joey), and made it safely back to our temporary housing.

We still have another night here, but after staying with this household, it’s going to be tough to go back to roughing it in our tents.

Tomorrow, we actually get to help a non-profit!

(p.s. We love this family… and perhaps they’ll be family someday? *ahem* … Kyle?)