BootsnAll Travel Network

Chicago, my kind of town. Usually.

There is a saying in Chicago that we don’t have 4 seasons, we have 2: winter and August. Most Chicagoans have this extraordinary ability to pretend that our winters don’t suck. Ask any one of us, and invariably we will say, “It’s cold, but it’s really not that bad. Besides, our summers make it worth it.” We are all lying through our clenched teeth! It is freaking cold here today and will be all week. I guess I can’t really complain, since I’ll be in sunny Sydney in 22 days! But really, it’s way too early in the season for this nonsense.

It usually hovers around the freezing mark until January. But it is a high of 19F today, so walking to and from work it is about 11F, with a windchill of 2 degrees. Windchill is this great little term they made up to let us know that it’s even colder than we think. Because Chicago is so windy, it can feel colder than what the thermostat actually reads. And it really is the wind that makes it an unbearable 6 months of winter, that whirling arctic blast straight off Lake Michigan cuts right through your clothes. So we layer up, wearing tights and nylons under our wool pants, and once inside, start sweating profusely because everyone turns the heat up to 97 degrees.

Mayor Daley also decided in his great wisdom, to start the Block 37 project in November. Block 37 is this empty lot eyesore in the middle of the Loop, where they try to have events and parties there to make up for it being a big square block of gravel and garbage. So he has decided to finally build something there, and thought that November would be a great time to start. Unfortunately, the underground pedway that I take from the CTA blue line all the way to my work, goes directly under this plot of land. So the minute the temperature hit below freezing, the pedway was closed and I am now forced to walk outside. I know, I can hear the violin the whole 6 blocks to work. But seriously, why does this not make sense to me? Are they really going to complete enough work this winter, to make it worth closing that right now?

The other thing about the Block 37 project is the addition of a so-called “transit center,” which they are pushing to be the main CTA terminal. This will include direct transit from O’Hare airport and the Blue line. That run currently takes about 45 minute to 1 hour, depending on the time of day. They are trying to add an express run, for an extra fee, you go straight to O’Hare without any stops. There has also been talk of the ability check-in your luggage at this terminal, but that just doesn’t sound right. The security checks we go through at the airport are numerous, but now suddenly, we can hand our bags off to some CTA worker? That’s going to go over real well. Maybe they should concentrate on fixing the stations that they already have. The elevators hardly ever work, there are no public bathrooms and the stairwells and staircases are too narrow to accomodate all the people. How about fixing all that first, instead of building a new blue line which really only tourists will use on a regular basis.

Another city that knows how to cater to tourists is Washington, D.C. I spent this past weekend there, and it’s been one of my favorite cities since my first visit years ago. I love that there is always so much going on, so much to do and see. I’m sure it helps that I have friends to cart me around, but it really is a great place. Most of the museums are free, which is practically unheard of nowadays. There are constant rallies and activities on the Mall, and a great nightlife and good restaurants. I was lucky and got a really cheap flight for $98 into National, and said goodbye to a few friends of mine. We went to a Capitols ice hockey game, which I saw about 7 minutes of. I didn’t do any sightseeing this time, since I figured I’d be doing enough of that in the next year. Besides, it was cold out there too, and I wanted to see Shawnna and Dave’s new baby before I left. Boy, is he a cutie! They promised to post pictures from time to time for me to keep up with his first year. I also have news that my friend Nadia had her son this weekend. Another boy! That makes 5 boys, no girls, for my friends who have children. I guess we really want Illinois to have a good football team at some point.

This week is my last vaccine appointment, I have to get my last Jap B Enceph shot and I think my MMR booster. I also started taking my Typhoid pill today, with no ill effects so far. You have to take it on an empty stomach so I thought it might not agree with me, but so far, it’s all good. Last dentist appointment today, hopefully no cavities or other issues. I don’t have any fillings and I really don’t want to start two weeks before I leave, though with my luck that is a definite possibility.

My to-do list is still two pages long, but a lot of items are small and I can get done quickly, once I sit down and just go through the list. I still have a few things to buy, but I’m going to wait until I’m off work to run those errands. I’m hoping in my last 1o days I’ll be able to have some relaxation time, instead of running around like a crazy person.

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One response to “Chicago, my kind of town. Usually.”

  1. Tania says:

    Hey there

    I’m from Chicago and also have a blog on here. Was excited to see a post about Chicago…good to know what’s going on around there, but I definitely don’t miss the weather. I’m in Costa Rica now and flying to Brazil tomorrow.

    Anyway, say hi to Chicago for me, and have fun on your trip.


  2. Freesia says:

    Dear Lord! Will it ever stop snowing here?!

  3. Kirsten says:

    No complaints Freesia, you’ll be climbing Mt. Kili soon!

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