Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chicago Part One

I have a lot of photos from Chicago that I'd like to share. And, okay, some stories too. So I'm dividing the days into a few different blogs, and I'll do one big ole slideshow at the end. I hope it's interesting!

Our story begins with airports. My "little" (okay, he's 24 now) brother, Austin, and I met at Oakland's airport (which, though still easier to get around than SFO, is currently under major construction in the front, and so a little hectic), then flew down to Long Beach (don't ask), and on to Chicago after a 4 hour layover.

In Long Beach, you just park and walk down the tarmac-y area to your gate. So quaint!

These pushy sparrows kept us somewhat occupied for almost 4 hours... very cute. But not totally confidence-building about the Long Beach airport in general - at one point they told us that our boarding was delayed because of an "incident out front", and everyone in the terminal looked a little distraught... but that was all we heard of that. And while I'm glad the folks working there could smile and relax a bit... it was a little TOO relaxed for my taste. But the birdies were charming.

Even though I personally left the house at about 9:30, our final flight didn't get in to Chicago until around 11pm local time, so I was a little sick of traveling by that time. Luckily my friend Jackie, who we stayed with, picked us up at O'Hare and took us on a crazy midnight car tour of downtown Chicago. Somewhat delirious, I took no photos of that, but had a great time smelling the chocolate factor, go to upper and lower Wacker Dr., and hearing Austin reference the filming of "Batman Begins" dozens of times. Oh, and parking on the "Cubs" level of the parking garage - I didn't realize (or care) how many sports teams Chicago has!

Jackie took us to her apartment in beautiful South Chicago (no, really, it was gorgeous!). Then it was off to bed with us, pretty quickly.

The next day we hung out with Jackie and her boyfriend Marcin for a little while before he had to go to the lab and she led us to HER lab (and on a lovely Hyde Park-area tour). They're both Grade students in various Science depts (okay, both in bio genetics... I think) at the U of C. So our tour was awesome.

First of all, the apartment: I got my own guest room, which I LOVE, and Austin got to sleep on the couch, which he seems to love even when there's a perfectly good bed available. The apt. has a little balcony, and a big fluffy white cat, which resulted in this tale:

Cat on balcony one day (boy that's high up!)

Cat falls off balcony one day (check out the sad little scratches on the stone). Aren't they supposed to have super excellent balancing skills?!

Yikes! She's fine though. Safer, but still curious. Also, now she's on a diet, and the balcony railing is blocked off.

Now for the science lab. What Jackie does, has something to do with the study of fruit fly embryos' genes. There is a funny story about when she accidentally showed up at our college reunion, maybe 1000 miles from Chicago, with a vial of fruit flies just like this one - but I'll spare ya.

Fake science:

Then a beautiful walk all around Jackson Park, the U of C campus, and the various locations where the 1893 Chicago World's Fair took place.

And some cool rundown stuff:

Some crappy (get it? that's the name of a fish!) fisherman catching too small blue gills and just dangling them from the lines cause they were too squeamish to get them off to throw back :(

Jackie tried to save it but it was stuck good:

Squished mousie:

Bird feet prints in concrete:

Then Jackie went back to the lab, no doubt to squish more embryos, and Austin and I hung around on the point next to the lake for awhile. So beautiful!

It was HOT so we dipped our feet in and rued ourselves for not bringing our suits.

To be continued...

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