I got back from my trip to Chicago yesterday and passed out last night. Today, I spent all of day participating in Fourth of July activities. Because of all of this, I’m about 6 or 7 (gotta calculate that) days behind in my blog post writing. Because of that and my desire to become a better storyteller, I’m going to detail each of the days of my trip in the next few posts. I’m hoping I can remember everything that happens and that these posts will be able to serve as a record of my trip. Maybe I’ll do this for future trips as well!
I mentioned my first day (Sunday) in Chicago in my last post but didn’t really go into much detail. We came to Chicago via bus, which is a terrible idea when the drive is supposed to be 11 hours, bus drivers don’t know where they are going, and the bus is at a constant temperature of -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Just to be explicitly clear, the bus ride was not enjoyable nor restful in the least. We left on Saturday night around 9 and arrived at about 11 o’clock Central time in Chicago, so roughly a 13 hour drive. It was a fairly uneventful bus ride other than the kids from the other school playing Left 4 Dead way too late into the night and keeping me from sleeping and a friend of mine roller blading on the bus.
After unloading from the bus, we placed our luggage in some locked room (our rooms weren’t ready) and began our exploration of the mystical Chi-town. It began with walking around looking for a good place to eat. We found a Mediterranean place called Mezza with reasonable reviews on Yelp. Following Google Maps, we walked around a building several times before realizing that the restaurant was in the mall food court that was located inside the building we had been circumnavigating. The food was nothing to write home about, but filled us up while we played Five Card Bluff until our rooms were available.
After moving our stuff to the too-small hotel rooms and calling different sides of the beds, we entered the city again, this time with the intention to visit Millennium Park and the famous Bean. Our walk showed us various roads, buildings and intersections, all of which looked beautiful to me. Nothing about this city seemed to look bad! In the park, we saw all sorts of cool stuff like the Bean, some cool fountain things with faces on them and a former library with amazing architecture. I took pictures throughout. With hunger building, we began to walk towards a Chicago-style pizza place called Lou Malnati’s, where we found an excessive wait, leading us to go to a burger joint called Shake Shack.
I had heard about Shake Shack a few days before on some podcast with decent praise among a description of their concretes — combinations of ice cream and a slew of toppings. Despite the availability of only one type of veggie entree (a mushroom burger), I thought it was a good idea and boy was I right. I had a super delicious concrete first called the Shack Attack, which the menu describes as “Chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough and Mast Brothers Shake Shack dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles.” It was divine and the burger was decent, too.
Afterwards, we headed to a meeting with the rest of the members of Georga FBLA to learn about the basic rules of the trip. It wasn’t long before we headed to our rooms to play cards until we fell asleep.