Monday, 30 July 2012

Chicago, IL Day 2

Chicago, IL Day 2: Monday

Monday morning we were up and rearin' to go at 4:00am stupid o'clock or, as my father like to call it, dark o'thirty. Our train left the station at six so we needed to get there for five, hence the early rising. We needed to eat a quick breakfast at the Hampton Inn and they were very gracious. Breakfast was actually already set out so we grabbed something quick, a lemon loaf slice and danish for me, as well as some juice. They also provided us all with breakfast on the run bags. There was a blueberry muffin, a water bottle, and an apple in each paper bag with a sticker on it to seal the bag.

We took a taxi, which had been arranged the night before with the concierge, to the train station and began boarding at 5:45. We were actually at the opposite end of the train and so had to truck our way to the other end, along with everyone else. My cousin's French teacher was also taking the train to Chicago, which was a not-so-happy surprise for him since he doesn't really like her. I found Amtrack not to be as nice as VIA Rail, although it was cheaper.

We crossed dozens and dozens of roads, at which the train felt the need to blow its horn/whistle/sound device every time. This became annoying VERY quickly. Our first stop was in Lapeer, Michigan. It quickly clouded over around 7:17. We saw a double rainbow (DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!!) which was pretty cool.

Very faint second rainbow

Our second stop was in Flint and it started to rain at around 7:25. It didn't last long though and we were soon through it although I wish it had lasted longer. Our third stop was in Durand. On our way to the next stop I saw an outdoor ice rink (with no ice, obviously) outside of Charlotte in the middle of a field. We then stopped in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Dowagiac, Niles, and New Buffalo before entering Indiana. We entered the Central time zone and became time travellers, going back an hour.

Now, around this time I felt Nature's call and made my way to the bathroom at the front of the train (Warning: description of bathroom here). It was very shaky and the lock wasn't very well marked. When I closed the lid and flushed it sounded like a bomb had gone off and the lid moved, which was very terrifying. When I pressed the sink pump water went everywhere and the hand drier didn't work so I had to use hand sanitizer to make sure I was totally clean when I got back to my seat.

We finally arrived just after 1:00pm EST, 12:00pm Central time. We took a water taxi up to Michigan Ave, which was $3.00 per person one way. We had a hard time finding the water taxi launch since there was construction and everyone we asked gave us different directions. Now, keep in mind, we were tired, hot, and were carting around our luggage all over with us. None of us were especially happy at that time. We grabbed a car taxi and took that up to our hotel, the Hilton Suites.

The rooms were very nice. They connected so that we could hang out with our cousins after wandering about in the heat all day which was very nice. When you entered the room you were faced with a sitting room that had a couch, a chair, a desk, a wall-mounted TV, a sink, and a fridge. To the left was a door into the bathroom and to the right was the connecting door. Also to the left were the double doors into our bedroom. The bedroom was nice and large and the bathroom was pretty decent, for a hotel bathroom.

After dumping our luggage we went shopping along the Magnificent Mile, which we were only a block east of. There were some great shops along there, both expensive and inexpensive, along with some great sales.

We ended up eating at Gino's, a pizza place raved about that was on Man vs. Food. I personally found that we had decent service, although it could have been better. My brother and I shared a thin crust cheese pizza. I have definitely had better. I may go as far as to say that the Little Caesars Pizza we normally order tastes better. It was overpriced ($13.95 American for a 12' cheese and $14.95 for a small deep dish cheese) and I did not see why it was raved about so much. My dad ordered the beef calzone ($9.95) and he said that the panzerotti at Tony's Pizza is WAY better.

After eating we went back to the hotel and watched some TV before heading off to bed.

Quote of the day: Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced. - Aldous Huxley