It was raining this morning, so instead of walking, we took a cab to the closest Metro Link station. That first mile was ten bucks. It was $4.50 on Metro Link for the next eight miles. At the Saint Louis Union Station, we boarded the Megabus. 300 miles later, we off loaded at the Chicago Union Station, for $12.25. When we arrived in Chicago, it had stopped raining, so we walked the last mile to the hotel, roller bags in tow. This part of the trip was free.
It is always an adventure, when you ride Megabus, at least that is what Anne told me, when we boarded in Saint Louis. Anne and I were easily two standard deviations away from the median age of our fellow bus riders. Mostly they were college students on spring break. Our Megabus adventure occurred just after crossing the Mississippi into Illinois. The driver pulled off and stopped on the side of the road, not once but twice. After the first time it was a complete mystery. After the second time the driver came on the PA and announced that there was nothing wrong, except that he couldn’t see out of the front window, because it was all fogged up. We were on the upper deck and the front window there was completely fogged too. He solved the problem by cranking up the heat to an almost intolerable extent, but it did defog all of the windows.
After we safely arrived in Chicago, we went to our hotel to check in. It is the Wyndham Blake. The building once housed printing presses and is situated in the heart of Printers Row, just south of the Loop. The building has been completely refurbished and our accommodations are pretty nice. After check-in, we turned it around quickly and set off into the city to have some fun.
We spotted numerous buildings sporting all sorts of architectural significance. There were too many to detail here. We made it as far as Millennium Park, which is new since the last time that we visited Chicago. The centerpiece there is a sculpture entitled “Cloud Gate”, at least by the artist. Everyone else calls it “The Bean”. What ever you call it, it is a marvel, as I hope that these photos convey. When we arrived, there was a throng already mugging for the camera.
We had dinner afterwards at Pizanos. We had Mark’s Special, a deep dish pizza featuring tomatoes, cheese and basil. In this case Mark’s is the possessive form, but it could be because I’m so special, at least that is what Anne told me. I had a local beer, Half-Acre Daisy Cutter. Actually, I had two, so you could say that I successfully clear-cut an acre at dinner.
It was after dark, as we toddled back to the hotel. One of the denizens of the dark tried to accost us. His weapon of choice was the truth. This panhandler’s patter went like this, “I’m not going to lie to you man, I don’t need money for food. I get $200 a month in stamps, so I’m not starving, but I cannot buy alcohol or cigarettes with stamps. Could you give me some money so I can buy a pint of vodka?” I’m of the camp that the truth in such situations is not the best policy.