Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicago :: February 2015

Oh, what a real adventure. I flew from Tampa to O'Hare (with a layover in Atlanta), and was scheduled to arrive in Chicago at three. I added a mini trip onto my Florida trip so that I could go to IKEA, eat cupcakes, and visit a couple friends.

Do you know what happened on February first (aside from the Super Bowl, apparently)? A blizzard in Chicago.

As soon as we touched ground in Atlanta and I turned the cellular service back on on my phone, there was a text from Delta letting me know that my flight to Chicago was delayed by an hour. Not a big deal to me, since the Atlanta airport is gigantic and that would give me time to get to my next gate and grab something to eat. {I treated myself to my first pinkberry.}

I sat down at the gate to eat my froyo, and I was texting my parents to let them know what was going on with the flight. I received a facebook message from the friend that I was supposed to meet up with the next night to see his wife's band, and he was giving me updates about the weather in Chicago. He was convinced that I wasn't going to get into Chicago until midday Monday.

We boarded the plane for our scheduled (delayed) departure, but then they had to add extra fuel, which took a few minutes longer than it should have, as we had to wait for the fuel truck, and then there was traffic on the tarmac (?) once we left the gate, so we got off the ground about half an hour late, I would guess.

Everything was going just fine on the flight. I finished reading my book and I listened to music, and the person I was sitting next to was quiet.

Around four o'clock, the pilot told us that we were orbiting just southeast of Lake Michigan, waiting for a vehicle to get off the runway so we could land.

Half an hour later, the pilot is talking to us again, telling us that we have to reroute to St. Louis, which is about a forty-five minute flight. Once we land there, it takes a few extra minutes before we are all allowed off the plane to stretch our legs, but we are asked to stay near the gate so that they can let us know what's going on, as they don't yet have a plan.

At the gate, everyone was trying to plug in their phones, which I thought was really funny. See, this is why I like to charge my phone every day so that it's at 100% for a while. I kind of freak out if it gets below half, and I have never let it die. As soon as we touched ground, I was looking to see about flights from St. Louis back to Green Bay, but the last one for the night was just about to leave.

After maybe half an hour of being at the gate (next to a restaurant called Grounded in St. Louis...), we were told that we were refueling and would be boarding the plane again to head back to Chicago. We couldn't board by scanning our boarding passes like last time, so we had to just show them our boarding pass and we were marked off on a list.

It took us a little while to get off the ground in St. Louis, but before long we were on the ground in Chicago, just after eight o'clock. Then the pilot told us it was going to be about half an hour before there was a gate open for us...

It was a whole hour after we landed by the time I was standing in the airport. I hadn't really had much for lunch, as I was planning on grabbing something in Chicago before going to the hotel (around three, when I was supposed to land), so I was starving. There was like nothing open in the airport though, but I managed to get a red velvet drink from Argo Tea, even though they had technically closed.

I got down to baggage claim, and we had to wait a few minutes for the bags to start coming out, as it was so cold on the rolly thing outside that it had barely been moving. Bags start coming out, and finally I grab my suitcase. It was around ten when I went outside and got in line for a taxi.

There were about half a dozen people in front of me. The woman in front of me said that she was probably going to go inside soon and just call a cab, since there were no cabs coming up to the stand, they were all going to prearranged, otherwise there were just hotel shuttles (but not for where I was standing) and limo services. The woman in front of her was a local, and she said that if she got a cab, the three of us could share. The woman who was just in front of me went inside a few minutes later, and then a few minutes after that, the local woman went to see about one of the black cars. I waited a few more minutes and then went inside myself to call a cab.

I was looking through the search results on Google, and I didn't know who to call because they either all had bad ratings or were closed at this time of day. I spotted the local woman again, and I asked her who to call. She had said that she usually uses Uber (which I don't have because we don't have that where I live), and then she said that she was just going to take the train and I could come with her if I wanted.

That's what I ended up doing, and this stranger was just so wonderful. I didn't even get her name, but she helped me figure out how to pay for my ticket and get on the train and made sure I knew where I was going. She got off at the Chicago stop, and we went over again that I would get off at Jackson and then grab a cab from there.

I got off at Jackson, and I went upstairs and had some problems getting through the turnstile with my large suitcase. I ended up talking to one of the workers, and I asked him about getting a cab. He checked and said that there weren't any, so I should take the red line (I was on blue before) to Chicago, and then my hotel was only a few blocks from there.

It was around 11:30 when I got on the red line, as the blue line train took a long time to get where I was going. I actually had to ask someone which train to get on to get back to the Chicago stop. That ride was only about ten minutes, so it was twenty to midnight when I got there. I went upstairs and outside and followed a map on my phone to get to the hotel.

Now, the streets and sidewalks had a bit of snow on them, and my suitcase weighed about twenty-seven pounds. It was almost midnight, but it was pretty light downtown there. I was near the Magnificent Mile and there were hardly any cars or people around.

I followed the map for a few blocks, and then I looked at it again and thought it was looking like I went past my destination, so I turned around and walked a block back. There was a guy outside with his snowblower, so I asked him. He didn't know, so he directed me inside the building (which was an apartment/condo complex or a hotel, not sure), and the guy at the desk in there helped me, telling me that this was 0 Chestnut, so 100 Chestnut was one or maybe two blocks up.

I went back outside, and continued on my walk. It turns out that I had been right there, only yards away, when I turned around.

I finally got checked into the Tremont at midnight. The desk clerk was wonderful and went up to my room with me to make sure that the key was working because their internet was down when I checked in. It was good that he went with me, because the key confused me, as it was just a white card on both sides, which you just hold in front of the sensor.

I got settled in and took a few pictures before crashing and going to bed.

This was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. I imagine this is what a cloud feels like.

I just really liked their carpet.

The view from my window on the 14th floor was this Presbyterian church. So gorgeous, but I couldn't quite capture it in a photograph.

On Monday, I took a couple hours to walk around the Magnificent Mile, and I did some window shopping. I actually went to Anthropolgie for the first time, and if I had a lot of money to spend, I would spend it there. Most of the reason that I was coming to Chicago in the first place was for cupcakes and IKEA, so I went to Sprinkles and picked up a red velvet for myself and some mini cupcakes for my cousin. (:

The next day, I took a taxi to O'Hare to pick up my rental car (which ended up being a Fiat, because if you make fun of people driving a certain car, that will be the next car you drive...), and then I drove to IKEA. I didn't end up getting the desk I was planning on buying, but I did buy myself a new tablecloth, a bowl to replace the one I broke, and an LED nightlight, because I dropped the one that I had gotten from the utility company. I also picked up a new pillow for the motel, and then I drove to Green Bay, where my mom picked me up and brought me home.


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