Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicago visit

Art Institute - Chicago IL

Memorial garden - Park Ridge IL

Church across from Hancock building on Michigan Avenue - Chicago IL

Walgreens & McDonalds signs - Niles IL

McHenry Country Club - McHenry IL

Garden at Millenium Park on Michigan Avenue - Chicago IL

"Bean" statue at Millenium Park - Chicago IL

Chicago River near CME & Opera House on Wacker Drive - Chicago IL
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This posting is from Chicago - my ol' home town! Well technically: I was born here but have only lived within the Chicago city limits two times up near Edison Park on the edge of the city.
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Above are a few random snapshots of places I've been on this trip.
I haven't been back for two years after moving to Auckland NZ in June 2007. I feel a little bit like a tourist - but of course I remember to drive on the right hand side of the road and I remember where everything is! Chicago is an easy city to navigate. If you know where Lake Michigan is you know which direction of travel you are on. Easy peasy.
Why a picture of Walgreens? It is probably the store I miss the most. Say if one needs a decongestant - bingo: go to Walgreens for a variety of over the counter medications. In NZ - for some meds - a sick person has to go to an official chemist open 9am-5pm and explain symptoms to someone who will then sell you the medicine. Sick at 10pm? Sorry only a trip to the late night grocery store which may or may not have the desired meds. Not that I am doping up all the time but the convienience of Walgreens is really what I miss living in a smaller city on an island.
Auckland has what we need - but not the PLETHORA of stores - restaurants - bars ETC that the huge city of Chicago and surrounding area can offer. It is quite easy to see why 9.6 million (recent census) people live in and around Chicago.
It is DARN flat here for LOTS of driving one has to do to get around. Cars and people are EVERYwhere and many streets are 4 or 6 lanes. Most of Auckland driving is 2 lane windy roads up and down the hills. Things are much closer together though in Auckland.
OK - back to what is happening in Chicago. Had lunch at Portillos today with an old co-worker. She's lost her job along with 6000 people at the old company she and I used to work at. The economy is TOUGH here right now. It does NOT seem on the mend. However - both LAX and O'Hare airports were JAMMED with people streaming through on their travels when I arrived last week. So people are still flying all over the country.
Last weekend I met friends up in McHenry at the club they belong to after their golf game. It was a nice club and boaters could pull up to access if desired. We went back to their house and barbecued on a lovely and warm summer evening listening to an abundance of crickets.
Random pictures and touristy video clips I took covered:
  • Motorcyclists wearing no helmets (not required in Illinois)
  • LONG and FLAT roads
  • Squirrel and chipmunk at my sister's house in the backyard (these mammals not found in NZ)
  • Landmarks and highrises such as the Berghoff - Millenium Park - Sears Tower and pictures of the Chicago Loop
  • Gardens in full force on hot 80F sunny days
  • My sister's neighborhood
  • Family and friends (of course) -> young nieces and nephews growing like weeds
  • Our old house and neighborhood
Upcoming places I'll be also visiting the next few days meeting family and friends include lots more restaurants...
  • Hackneys - Glenview
  • McHenry Country Club - McHenry
  • Original House of Pancakes - Wilmette
  • Portillos - Elmhurst
  • Red Robin - Warrenville
  • Olive Garden - McHenry
  • Eggsperience - Bannockburn
  • Barnabys - Niles
  • Club room at the Drake Hotel - Chicago
Phew... They'll have to - what's the expression - "roll me" onto the plane since I'm eating & drinking quite well the 10 days I'm here. Two restaurants in one day even on a couple days! ... to hell with any dieting this trip. Crikey.
It is fun though and time has been flying by at WARP SPEED as I rush around trying to visit people. In fact - I gotta run.
Places to see and things to do! Rush rush rush - the vibe of Chicago in FULL force. :)

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