Monday, June 07, 2010

Chicago, Day 1 - Navy Pier

Our first day in Chicago we went to Navy Pier. That's pretty much all we did. Drove down to the pier, almost got stuck in Memorial Day parade traffic, finally found a $20-some parking spot near the pier, and then enjoyed the pier, the ferris wheel, a cheese borger at Billy Goat Tavern, an architecture tour on one of the boats, and then wandered over to Friends Sushi about half a dozen blocks away.

Probably Eryn's favorite part of the whole day. The fountain just before entering the pier. She made us go back to it later so she could play next to it again. I was glad she was having so much fun, except that the second time round she was melting cotton candy on my leg.

You might have to click through to see the panoramic photos. This one is funny because I caught the same kid twice. It's sort of creepy.

Fun around the fountain:

What's that smell?! No vacation collection would be complete without me inappropriately enjoying the local statues.

Eryn about to check out one of the sailing ships off the pier. She was excited when they touched off their cannon.

Very end of the pier. We were getting in a bit of exercise for the day (I was tired when everything was done for the day as I topped it off by swimming with Eryn in the hotel pool where they were having "Dive In Movies." Ali asked me if I'd be willing to do a mini triathalon with him this year, so I tried a few laps of crawl in the pool. For the next two days my arms felt like they were slightly separating at the shoulder joints).

Eryn enjoying the ferris wheel.

Certainly not The Eye, but up there a ways (I think it's 1/3 the height of The Eye - we were trying to figure it out with Pooteewheet's Android while waiting in line. We bumped into some Eaganites while in line, which isn't nearly as weird as bumping into someone named Eryn two days later in the line at the Jellybelly factory. She had her name printed on her shirt).

Nice skyline picture from the ferris wheel.

Another. In case you can't tell, I really like Lake Point Tower. Looks like I can buy 1000 square feet for around $400K, and a parking spot for another $67-80K. Or if I make it big, it looks like I can get something around 3000 square feet near the top for $1.65 million.

Little hazy the day we were there.

The highlight of the stained glass museum on the pier. Certainly belongs next to the other beautiful pieces in the gallery.

Eryn at the end of the pier. I was dying to go on a bike ride when I realized the bike trail just keeps going down the side of the lake. Next time we're in Chicago if it's not winter, that'll be a priority for me, particularly as the bikes are so easy to rent, or I can just take my own and Eryn and I can start south of the city where getting dropped off isn't a problem. I realize this means Pooteewheet might have to drive around by herself which, given her sense of direction even with her GPS, might be a recipe for disaster, but she could always try to find us again at whatever location we started from.

WHERE IS ERYN'S HEAD??? My superior photography skills at work.

A nice picture of Pooteewheet and Eryn having some fun before the architecture tour.

Architecture tour. That guy talked nonstop for like 70 minutes. Amazing. I learned that if you take a train (Metra) into Union Station, right across the street/river there's a water taxi that will take you to the pier for a fee. Given how much it cost to park at the pier, that might not have been such a bad option.

River City. Bertrand Goldberg's less famous apartment complex (second to the corncobs of Marina City).

This angel is VERY proud of the dump he just took (it's called the Angel of Peace).

Eryn, worried I'm going to do something embarrassing while taking a picture of the Angel of Peace.

Friends Sushi. I had the sashimi platter and tobiko (they offered all the colors of the rainbow) with uzura on it, much to the Facebook disgust of my former classmate Raquel. It was weird tabiko as it didn't come wrapped in seaweed, but was served on scooped out lemon rind. I have to say it was better than the tabiko the next night at Tsuki, and the presentation with the cracked egg shells on top of little bits of lemon was unique.

The inside of Friends Sushi. I wasn't sure it would be kid friendly, but there was a mother and son having sushi right next to us. Eryn and Pooteewheet enjoyed the steak and chicken teriyaki, although Eryn switched with Pooteewheet when she discovered she preferred the steak. She was dubious about going, but wanted to come back the next night. I'll post about it later, but was much happier with Tsuki when we went there on Sunday night.

I took us on a final detour so I could find a four pack of Dogfish beer at a liquor store I knew to exist downtown, and in order to take Eryn past Centennial Fountain which was near the hotel I'd stayed at a few years ago when I was at an educational software conference for work. It was my belief that if she liked the Navy Pier fountain, then she'd enjoy this one as well. It was a very nice place to wind down the evening.

A beautiful picture of the fountain in panorama.

Eryn doing a ballet pose in front of the fountain. There was a big family here right before I took this picture. A bunch of relations were up from Las Vegas and they were having a great time in front of the fountain.

Eryn and Mom having a great time enjoying the end of the day.

NO MERMAIDS ALLOWED IN THE FOUNTAIN!!! Emily Windsnap would be in big trouble (Eryn's book of choice during the trip).

The fountain shoots a jet of water across the river later in the day. A wedding showed up to take pictures in saris and tuxes. Beautiful wedding party and a great place for wedding pictures.

Close up of the fountain, in case you just need some white noise for relaxing:

The fountain shooting across the river as a boat floats by. A very large speedboat (I suppose it was officially a yacht) braved the fountain later and everyone hunkered down under the rain guard to avoid getting drenched. If grins were umbrellas they would have been perfectly safe.

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