As I said, this was to be a quick trip, so we crammed a lot in on Wednesday. We were up early, and hailed a cab to go to the Field Museum. Cab drivers are in abundance in Chicago, as one could imagine, and we didn’t know what we were going to get until we were well on our way. When we arrived Tuesday night and grabbed a cab at Union Station, the driver wore earbuds and didn’t speak at all. The driver who took us to the museum was a plethora of interesting facts. He described the sights as we drove along. I liked him!
The last time I was at the Field Museum was when I was in high school and my sister took me; I was bored. I hoped that as an adult, and as a teacher, I would have a greater appreciation for all the museum had to offer. I knew that Addison would like it as she enjoys history. We began in the animal section. Every species of bird, fish, mammal, etc is represented. At first we were fascinated, but soon became bored by looking at animals. The Egyptian display, especially the mummies, held our interest. The Native American section was also intriguing, Addison and I spent some time in Native American museums in Alaska, so we were particularly interested.
Even if one has no interest in history, just the building is incredible. It is massive, well-kept, and simply beautiful. Add to that the backdrop of Lake Michigan, and one is in for a memorable experience.
And speaking of memorable, we walked along the lake to Navy Pier (a little over a mile) when we finished at the museum. The girls weren’t thrilled about this, but I was not going to keep paying for cabs when we were capable of walking. Besides, when better way to really experience and appreciate the city but on foot? We walked along with the gorgeous skyline on our left, and the crystal-blue lake on our right. Yes, it was cold, but the sun was shining and the day was beautiful.
We had lunch at Navy Pier (along with about 50 small children), browsed the shops, and then walked (the girls are loving me by now) back to Michigan Avenue. We spent a couple hours shopping (more browsing than shopping since most of the stores are expensive), and then it was time to get ready for our big night out.
After dinner at Cheesecake Factory, it was time for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! My girls and I love musicals; Bethany and Addison have always wanted to go to a ‘real’ Broadway show. And this particular musical was the one I saw in high school when the band went to New York. Just walking in the theater district was a treat for us small-town girls. And the musical? Wow. The Cadillac Theater was breathtaking, and the show was outstanding. It couldn’t have been better. Wait…it could have been better had the three women behind us not been obnoxious. They were not too bad during the show, until the end. Apparently they memorized the lyrics and then felt the need to sing along! Seriously. I can understand singing along at a concert, but at a Broadway musical? I certainly didn’t pay to hear three drunk ladies’ rendition of the finale. Other than that, the evening with the girls was perfect. It’s a good thing…things were about to fall apart.
Thursday morning. It was time to head back to reality…and a bus. We hailed our final cab, and arrived at the bus stop 30 minutes early. And waited. It was freezing and dreary, but our wait was not to be long, until the man who loads luggage announced that our 9:30 leave time had been moved to 11:00. Shit. We are on a street corner in Chicago with a lot of not-so-happy travelers, and didn’t know what to do. One of the reasons the Megabus is cheap is that they don’t have a terminal; everything is done online, so there aren’t even people to answer questions. They don’t give you a phone number to call because then they’d actually have to answer questions and explain their shortcomings. The luggage loader knew nothing. We went into the Dunkin Donuts across from the bus stop, sat on our suitcases, ate donuts, and waited; at 10:45 we went back to the stop. The temperature was dropping. And the luggage guy had another announcement. The time would now be noon. To say we were annoyed would be a massive understatement. The day before we loved Chicago, loved the diversity of people, loved the hustle and bustle of the big city. On Thursday morning, we hated Chicago, were sick of people, and found the impatience of drivers and constant honking of horns terribly annoying; we longed for our cozy, quiet, country home. And warmth. We really wanted warmth.
We went into Union Station and sat on our bags. Some young man was going around asking people for 62 cents. He was trying to get it from 100 people so he’d have $62 to pay for train fare. It was not the day to ask. Another girl came up begging for money. I really try to be compassionate, but these were young, able-bodied people. I wish I knew their stories so I could understand. As it was, I really wanted to tell them to get jobs.
The 9:30 bus finally arrived at about 1:00. Three and a half hours late. We managed to get seats together, and were finally headed home. The Megabus employees were impatient with passengers who had been standing in the cold for four hours. The first half of the drive wasn’t bad, but by the last half, I was really sick of loud people, and of young people who have no respect for others. Our area might be full of people who use poor grammar, but we are (overall) respectful of one another when we speak. Many of the people we were around on the bus threw the F word and every other swear word around with no regard for anyone, including small children. I am not a prude, but that just drove me crazy. And then there were the people who talked on phones so loudly the whole bus was in on their conversations; we needed off that bus! It was the ride from hell. Finally, we arrived in Louisville; I sprinted off that damn Megabus. We gathered our bags, and the prayed – really hard – that Bethany’s car would be where we left it. Thankfully, it was, and the tires weren’t flattened and the windows were in tact.
We kept telling each other it was a adventure. When one of us was ready to lose it, one of us would make a joke. Bethany had minor meltdowns, especially when she was sitting in Union Station putting socks on, and some woman yelled at her. We won’t soon forget this ‘adventure’. Would I do it again? The trip up wasn’t that bad. The trip home was ridiculous. The lack of communication was uncalled for. Bethany talked to a lady in Louisville who had been standing on a corner waiting for four hours, and Megabus had not contacted them at all. The thing is, if you are trying to return home, you have no place to go, and are at their mercy. Since our return trip fee was refunded, round trip for four was $40. You get what you pay for. I prefer to fly. Right now, nope, I could not depend on Megabus. Chicago, I still love.
Spring Break Chicago Trip is in the books. Next year I think ill spring clean.