Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lots of Things to Do

So, today, I did a whole bunch of tourist-y stuff here in Chicago. I'll probably load some pictures later, but I literally just got back from our trek downtown. So that will have to wait.

The first thing we did was go to the Sears Tower- how could we not? We walked there, of course, and on the way, we passed the Chicago Board Stock Exchange (or something along those lines) and saw a bunch of people wearing funny shirts. I'm not kidding. There was this one chap who was wearing what looked like a green lab coat, but it had four purple mesh pockets in the front. Very odd. There was this little deli place on the street, and we stopped to get a bagel with cream cheese for $1.59. It was pretty much the best bagel I've ever had.

When we got to the Sears Tower, we had to buy tickets- if you're over 11 years old, you're an adult, by the way- and we watched a little movie on the history of the Sears Tower. It was pretty nifty. After we watched the movie (which I found interesting, but I'm the girl who reads past the assigned text in class books because I get so into it, so don't trust me), we got into this big elevator. The lady told us that it would take 60 seconds to get to the top, but I timed it, and it was, in fact, 65 seconds. Don't you just love all the little doodad gadgety things they have on cells these days?

The top of the Sears Tower is really fun. We were on the top observation deck, and, while we couldn't see 50 miles (it was foggy), we could see most of Chicago. You can even see the hotel from there. We could also see the roofs of most of the other skyscrapers, and there was this one that had some sort of garden on top- we couldn't tell if it was trees or shrubs or grass, but the point is that there were plants that were deliberately put there.

After we left the Sears Tower, we started walking toward the Art Institute of Chicago. We stopped to get lunch at this Mexican food place we saw. It was cheap, and it was incredibly good. If you want to know where it was, just ask me. They made everything there, too- tortillas, chips, salsa, you name it (by the way, the burritos are HUGE if you order everything on it, so you might not need to get anything else if you go there).

The Art Institute was incredible. My mom's roommate, Sandee, was the one taking me and my sister around town while my mom went to various sessions, and she majored in humanities in college, so she started telling us about all the paintings. But first, we went downstairs and looked at the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which were the most awesome things. Seriously. Apparently, this rich old lady was really into miniature things, and there's all these rooms from different places and different time periods. And when you see them you have to be sure to look all around them, because there's often little rooms off to the side that you can just barely see. The details on all the things are amazing. And it's pretty child-friendly- the rooms are all behind glass, and I saw several children down there looking at the rooms. Te ones that seemed to be having the most fun were between five and twelve years old (I'm not counting the teenagers, because I saw a wide range of interest level there).

And, of course, we saw American Gothic. It was crazy, because everyone knows what it looks like, and it's been spoofed so many times, and the original is just like what you picture it. But we went around this corner and it was just there. That was it. One of the most famous paintings in the US, and I was less than a foot away from it.

And, of course, when we were walking home, there were some people working on the rose gardens in the park across the street from the hotel, and Sandee found a pitchfork that had been left behind. So my sister and I posed with it, even though it had six tines instead of three.

After we left the Art Institute, we had to walk home. We went through Millennium park, which was really cool, because we went through the Cloud Gate (I have pictures that I will post, I promise), and across the BP bridge. We then walked through the park towards the hotel, and across the street, through what I think is a different park (which is the one across the street from the hotel), because we wanted to see this huge fountain that you can, in fact, see from the hotel, and take pictures. There was also this really strong wind blowing (they should call this place the Windy City or something catchy like that, don't you think? Although Breezy Town and Gusty Metropolis have their points as well) and so Sandee and I stood downwind of the fountain (my idea) and let the water drops fall on us, which felt brilliant. And now I'm back at the hotel. Which is pretty cool in itself. Especially with all the LLL people here- they're really from all over the place!

Oh, and I'm in the Tech Room right now. It's technically closed to the general public, but guess what? I'm a Featured Blogger, which apparently means that I can come in here even when other people can't. Which is really cool. Because that means that YOU get to read this.

Although if you have to come in to the Tech Room in order to read this, I guess that means you can't... shame, that. Oh, well. I'm not in charge here. I just work here.

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