Posted by: jβ˜† | April 26, 2010

First time = fun time in Chicago! (Day 1: Architecture)

Seriously. It was high time to get the heck out of Dodge a.k.a. L. to the A.

To make the most of my *temporary retirement*, I decided to finally visit one of my oldest and closest friends from grade school and college, a friend I like to refer to as Heavy D. She was going to be finishing up med school this year, and I wanted to see if I could catch her before she returned home to Southern California for good. And I am SO GLAD that I did! There really is nothing like seeing a city with a local. πŸ™‚ I originally wanted to stop by Chicago on my “way home” from New York in 2008, but the move itself was hectic enough without throwing a weekend trip to the Windy City in the middle of it all — so I held off. Besides, my visits to Miami and Washington D.C. in the month prior to leaving NYC were enough to satisfy my appetite to travel for the time being.

So FINALLY…I got to visit Heavy D before she bid farewell to a place she called home-away-from-home for four years! Woo hoo!

Adorable and cozy...remember this painting from Slattery's class in high school?

Seriously though. It was high time for a getaway. And I’m so glad I got away.

The Windy City was absolutely stunning. The weather wasn’t bad at all, albeit chilly at night and when the winds kicked up at dusk. For the most part, I was blessed with sunshine and clear skies with passing fluffy white clouds for the duration of my trip.

Downtown Chicago - as seen from the Shedd Aquarium (16April2010)

Heavy D was resting on Friday morning/afternoon following a shift that started at midnight and ended at 8am. I was more than happy to give her time to sleep by venturing out on my own via the “L” to explore downtown for the day.

Am I silly for thinking the caricature on the right is hilarious? Totally cracked me up when I saw it from the platform.

Mack Daddy wearing a Fukudome shirt on his way to a Cubs game, harassing some cute girl. (j/k!)

On the L, taking the Blue Line from Racine to Jackson.

In the early afternoon, I went on a mini-bus sightseeing tour of the city and hit all the major attractions/neighborhoods. It was the best value for the money, and although I don’t necessarily think I had the best tour guide in the whole wide world, he was quite knowledgable and had a good sense of humor. Funny thing is, he was a native Los Angeleno (although I’m not sure if the valley counts as L.A. πŸ˜‰ ).


Heavy actually gave me a brief tour of the city right after picking me up from O’Hare Airport before her shift started the previous night, and it was really stunning then. But it was nice to see the city in daylight. The city itself reminded me of a cross between New York, Tokyo, Osaka, and San Francisco all at once. Weird, I know. One thing that truly stood out was the variety in architecture — it was absolutely ridiculous, and I can see why people go there to study that art there.

My fave buildings, in no particular order:

Trump Tower

The Wrigley Building (yes, as in the chewing gum Wrigley)

The Tribune Building

The Water Tower

The NBC Building

And of course, The (Sears!) Willis Tower

My least favorite building without a doubt was:

The Corn-on-the-cob Building. Note the parking structure at the bottom. CREEPY!!!

Some other fun buildings that I saw on the tour included:

The original Playboy Mansion (please excuse the reflection of the cyclists in the window as I snapped this photo from my seat on the mini-bus!)

The Fourth (not *First*, for once!!) Presbyterian Church of Chicago, where the last scene of My Best Friend's Wedding was filmed! (Again, please excuse the poor photo quality as we were just doing a drive-by.)

And for all you baseball fans (or not)…

Wrigley Field. Like many days, the poor Cubs weren't doing so well that day. (Gotta tell it like it is! πŸ˜‰ )

Crazy Cubs fans! These are outfield stadium bleachers--built into the rooftops of apartment buildings located just OUTSIDE Wrigley Field!! Apparently, if you can't get a ticket to a game, $150 will get you into these apartment buildings equipped with not only outdoor stadium seating on the roof, but all-you-can-consume food and beverages, indoor flat screen TV viewing rooms, billiards, and whatever else you can imagine. Whaaaaat???


Oprah lived here! (Totally unrelated, but doesn't the building kind of look like a giant flask? No? πŸ™‚ )

You thought I was kidding when I warned you before my trip…this post alone is turning into a epic saga, and I haven’t even gotten to the crux of what I’ve wanted to post from this day yet! I’ll leave this entry as is for now. Still, lots more to come! Catch you later for the next installment. Happy Monday, all!



  1. i’ve always wanted to go to Chicago! Everything looks amazing. I’m so amazed that you’re a translator and get to travel the world. That is so incredible! What an opportunity that brought you. I was actually born in Japan πŸ™‚ Okinawa. I hope that I can get into that class, i’d love to learn Chinese. Thanks so much for your comment, it really gave me inspiration and motivation!

    • My parents are Okinawan!!! Woo woo! πŸ™‚ I love it when I meet people “from there”! How old were you when you left?

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