31 October 2006 - 11:55 AM
There was another airport nightmare, which involved arriving at 8 for a 10:30 flight, finding out the flight was cancelled, getting shipped to another airline for a chance of getting on their 10:15, not getting on the 10:15 in part because having 'bought our tickets at the airport' we were flagged for *cough* intense screening as potential terrorists, finally getting confirmed on a 2:45 flight, and then waiting until 5:30 to actually take off due to a low ceiling and concomitant visibility problems at O'Hare.
Interspersed among these episodes were a lot of pacing, airport snacks, the reading of all the books we'd packed with us, some muttering about how stupid I was to have put the mitts in the checked luggage as I could have finished them while waiting and maybe made a scarf, too, and a serious discussion about trying to get on a flight to St Louis, renting a car, and driving to Chicago.
9 hours is way too much time to spend in the departure lounges and ticket lines of an airport.
Once we actually got to Chicago, we had a blast. The weather was not cold and miserable. We stayed at the Chicago Athletic Association -- apparently they have some kind of reciprocal dealie with the Army and Navy Club, of which Maman is a member -- which was very posh, very old money, very perfectly located (right across from Millennium Park). Allegedly the club has a dining room, though we didn't eat there. Friday dinner was at La Strada (order the veal).
Saturday morning, we got up, grabbed coffee and unexpectedly good muffins at the coffee shop two doors up, made a quick trip through the drug store two doors beyond that (I had completely failed to pack makeup for me and a razor for the Viking) and then hit the Art Institute, where we spent the morning bouncing from shiny thing to shiny thing. Lunch at the Garden Restaurant at the museum (utterly brilliant 3-course prix-fixe menu to complement the ongoing Silk Road exhibits -- tamarind and coconut soup, grilled lamb, sampling of desserts including a coconut rice pudding and baklava. Executive Chef Brian Williams, you and your squad of stunt cooks rock).
Then: a walk around Millennium Park, a nap, light supper at hole-in-the-wall Thai place (good pad thai), party at an almost excruciatingly hip wine bar/bottle shop/ heavy hors d'oeuvres place in a converted industrial building.
There're some photos up on my Flickr stream. I didn't take many at the museum, figuring on books and postcards in the shop afterward, but as it turned out there wasn't so much of that, so we ran back for a couple of pictures of things the Viking really liked and we'll know better next time.
Whatever bad travel karma we had must have been expiated on Friday, because Sunday's flight was uneventful and on time.
It's good to be home.