Even though I was there for "work" we managed to pack quite a lot of fun into a few days.
We arrived Thursday and after setting up the booth and getting settled in the hotel, we found our way to a jazz club called Buddy Guys. The Chicago R&B Kings were playing and they sounded incredible. They were your "typical" R&B group... except the blues guitar player. He was hands down the best guitarist I have ever seen play.
Somehow I don't think we'll be seeing him in the limelight anytime soon, though, given that he weighs probably over 300 lbs, is a ginger and sports pig-tail puffs.
I think he just doesn't have what the judges on American Idol call that "star quality"... Too bad for those who will never witness what his magical fingers can do. I'm sure he makes his girlfriend very happy.
After a long day at the tradeshow, Friday night we ordered the "Chicago's Best Pizza" from Giordanos. I kid you not, the thing weighed about 10 lbs. Apparently Chicago deep-dish is something you have to do. I was not a fan. I guess having a weeks servings of carbs in one meal is not my thing?
Saturday night rocked. After the tradeshow, exhibitors and buyers were treated to an open bar and private concert by Keith Urban. I'm not a huge country fan but holy hotness he is beautiful. And Australian.
Afterall, I do like dogs and beer. I'd probably do just fine as a country convert!
After the show we decided to take a 'shortcut' back to the hotel, but somehow managed to get lost in the underground of Chicago. Every 'exit' sign led to another staircase or tunnel and after wandering for half an hour among fiber, tunnels and electrical conduit, we came across this Mason sign.
After the last day of the show we headed downtown to explore the city - all I can say is I was impressed. I was expecting dangerous and dirty (see below) but it wasn't at all.
Clean, vibrant, beautiful architecture, impressive history... good times!
Monday after packing the booth up we headed uptown to Wrigley Field to catch a Cubs game! We sat in the bleachers where all the cool kids were and enjoyed a few drinks.
There were seagulls on the field, which made me think of that time Randy Johnson killed a bird with a 95mph fastball.
We had more time in the city Monday than we expected, since our flight was seriously delayed. Apparently Southwest needed to make sure the plane wasn't going to spontaneously tear open before departing. Fine by me.
All in all I'd say it was a pretty great (long) weekend.
Much better than the last time I was in Chicago 5 years ago...
After graduating from college I set out from Durham with all of my posessions and Mr. Bondi crammed into my Ford Explorer, heading home to Seattle.
Being a frugal college student, I was looking for a cheap motel. I pulled into the first one I found. There were some questionables in the parking lot, so I hurried inside to book my room.
The first thing I noticed was the window covered with bars. Not a good sign. I thrust my credit card at the clerk through the little hole in the barred windows, who then proceeded to ASK ME IF I WANTED THE ROOM HOURLY OR FOR THE WHOLE NIGHT.
Granted, I had been driving for 10 hours... but it is seriously disturbing to think I looked that awful.
No, I will not be sucking cock for crack, thank you very much.
Meanwhile another 'customer' is waiting in line behind me. And by customer I mean pimp, complete with the mouth full of gold, dreds and snakeskin boots. And by behind me I mean about an inch away from licking the nape of my nake... Breathing hot nasty breath on me.
I was actually scared for my life... and seriously regretting leaving Bondi in the car. I actually pondered what Bondi would do if I never came back for him!
I explained to the clerk that I was 'lost' and out of gas, and asked if there was any safer place to stay nearby.
"He said sorry hun, you're in south Chicago on a Saturday night. Everywhere is gonna be pretty cranky. Your best bet is to go to your room and lock the door."
That's comforting, I thought, as I wondered if he meant crank as in meth, or crank as in the sound my neck will make if I stand in front of pimpdaddy for another second and he decides to kill me.
And with that, I took my key and proceeded to my whore den, where I was surprised not to find a crack rock waiting for me on my pillow. I heard no less than three gunshots during the night, but I survived, no doubt thanks to Mr. Bondi, who dutifully growled and barked at the door for the duration of the night.
What a difference 5 years makes, Chicago!
And speaking of, I am currently on the way to Duke for my 5 year (oh.my.gawd. where has the time gone?) college reunion. No worries, though, I'm not driving back.