Because I could fly out of Chicago for significantly less money than I could fly out of Detroit, I was forced, (sigh) to spend the night in Chi-town before I left. The big boys stayed behind since they could not miss school but the little 3 came with us and we had a great time.
The skyline as we drove in (with a nifty iphone filter applied)
My kids were deeply impressed by the hotel. (It is amazing what $50 can get you on priceline.)
After exploring our luxurious digs we hit the L-train for downtown. We soon discovered that subways (particularly elevators in those subways) serve dual purpose as urinals in Chicago.
Then we made the pilgramage to Giordano’s to officially celebrate the end of the Hunger Games.
I think we managed to eat 3 pieces among us all. Finny was super excited when he saw our lack of progress, and asked if we could give the rest of the pizza to a homeless person he had seen asking for money. He was so eager and earnest and I told him that he was welcome to do so if we could find him, but that he needed to ask the homeless person if they wanted it first, not just drop it in their lap. I explained that people who asked for money sometimes felt insulted when they were given food instead, and that if this happened, he should not feel bad, we would find someone else.) As we walked out the restaurant he ran ahead to see if he could find the man he’d seen earlier and then he ran back his face glowing with anticipation. “Mom! He is holding up a sign which says, ‘I’m just hungry! This is perfect! He is going to be so happy!” He and Gracie took the pizza over, which was still hot and asked him if he wanted it. The man’s face lit up and he thanked them profusely. It was happy moment.
We spent the rest of the evening walking around downtown on a balmy September evening (no wind!) enjoying the sites and chasing Ella who ran endlessly around the Bean in Millenium park. She fell several times, skinning her knees over and over again but man, she is tough, she barely whimpered each time before getting up and giggling giddily as she ran away with her
little Frankenstein gait.
Since our hotel was near the airport, we weren’t in our accustomed hotel location and had so much fun exploring a few different areas to where we had been before. The highlight of my night: Overheard: “In 6 months I'm going to Vegas, I'm gonna be famous man..I'm gonna put Chicago on the MAP.”
And then suddenly it was very late, so we took the train back to the hotel, (now expertly dodging the puddles of pee). On the way downtown my kids had found the train quite jarring. There was much debate between Finny and Gracie over how much it compared to Thunder Mountain at Disney. On the way home, they dozed. In just one night they had become hardened city dwellers.
The next morning Finny was able to fulfill his dream of eating on the little breakfast tray (even though we had to substitute McD’s for room service ) and I was able to fulfill my craving for a mochi ball from Trader Joe’s.
And then…gulp it was time to go to the airport.
How did I manage to say goodbye to these cute faces??? (We located the South African flag)
After a tearful goodbye I got through security and contemplated my fate in the boarding lounge. Here I am, pre-xanax. (See my travel recommendations here)
Excerpts from facebook:
At my gate waiting to board.....wish I was as bored and nonchalant as everyone around me. About to start scrabbling around for the xanax .. — at Chicago O' Hare International Airport.
found the xanax which i chugged with my $5 bottle of water- 1/2 of which I just spilled on my lap- 'aint travel grand ;)
Now appraising the first class people to determine whether they look rich and sophisticated. Some definitely yes, most, definitely not. — at Chicago O' Hare International Airport.
The business class people don’t seem particularly business-like either.
Now surveying to see whether anyone has a psychotic gleam in their eye...so far just me. That's good.
on the plane waiting for takeoff grateful for: short legs, nice seatmates...and.. xanax ;) this is the short flght only 6.5 hrs..later gators. — at Chicago O' Hare International Airport.
(Watching our progress on the little map in real time is my favourite part of an international plane trip.)
Part 2 of my excellent adventure complete! Flight was great. Amsterdam has an awesome airport, free WIFi lots of charging ports, good food and very friendly personnel. Wish I coulw explore the country! So excited to be back in a place with full doors on the toilets.. it is the little things ;) Aaron, if you read this since I can't call plz tell my mom what time I arrive in SA. Thanks! xoxoxo
Next up: Johannesburg!