Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Off to a Swell-tering Start

Leaving O’Hare International Airport, we were hit by the full force of the humidity. The CTA subway station was a dark, damp, airless pit of suffocation. The hour-long journey to downtown Chicago crowded in between our suitcases was slightly better.

When we finally stepped out onto the Chicago city pavement and into the light, I was dazzled by the sheer grandeur of the high-rises cutting into skies above… but mostly overwhelmed by the heat wave.

I’d only been here a few hours, but I have determined that “sweltering” defines Chicago in summer. I must now admit this is a sensation I’ve never once experienced in my 15 years living in California.

But by evening time, I had realized I’d spoken too soon about the weather. After an epically cheesy, delicious slice of Chicago’s signature deep dish pizza at Giordano’s, we were pummeled by a Midwestern thunderstorm and were forced to take refuge in Forever 21.

Other than the weather which I’m unfairly comparing to the mild California climate,Chicago is gorgeous, and the Drake Hotel is absolutely FABULOUS. We’re staying in the prime shopping district along the Magnificent Mile in the heart of Chicago. I’m so lucky to have Genevieve as my roomie for now, and we have an amazing room with the view of a spectacular stretch of Lake Michigan’s beach… and not to mention an adorable orange fuzz-ball of a guest.

Meet the new ILC Cornell 2011 mascot! His name is Cicero (:

Anyways, I am definitely warming up to Chicago, especially after it started to cool down a bit in the evening. Strolling down Michigan Avenue in the warm, moist air felt just right. We don’t get many beautiful warm evenings in the Bay Area. I was even enjoying walking in the rain (again, California doesn’t get too many warm rains). Of course, that was before the drizzle became a downpour and curbed our trip to Millennium Park.

There is just so much to explore in Chicago! The heat is not going stop us from making the most of this three-day venture.

Okay, it’s late and we have to get up early for tomorrow’s tour of Northwestern, which I am so psyched about, even if I may not seem so…this day has just been too long since 2 AM. Speaking of it, here’s some highlights of our journey from 4 AM at SFO to Chicago:

Checking in to SFO 4:30 AM

Sunrise at SFO

In the air!

Passing over the Rockies

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