I was really excited for a few reasons.....#1, I love Pam.....#2, this is the first time I would be using the Metra to get into the city.....and #3, we were gonna see Cavalia!
Most of you probably never heard of Cavalia. I probably never would have if I didn't drive by all the huge billboards advertising it on the Chicago bypasses.
It's a little hard to explain....the producers call it a "poem written in the language of sound" to "pay homage to the poignant history and fascinating bond between human beings and horses".....it was written by one of those artsy Cirque du Soleil guys....so you get the picture.
I'm not a huge horse person but I do appreciate their power and beauty and Pam breeds and sells some of the most beautiful horses I've ever seen (that's her website there--check it out--its breath taking).
But I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself...
I need to begin with our train ride.
Because this was my first time using the Metra to get into the city I was a little nervous. I didn't want to screw it up... or get us lost.... or end up in Wisconsin....
We only had like 5 hours till the show....I wanted to spend the day before "practicing" riding the Metra....my husband said that was just silly....and I guess it was...but that's just the way I am.
We found our way to the station (through a construction detour-otherwise it's only a little under 2 miles from my house). We parked our car and talked to a couple people about the pay system for the parking lot and then we were ready to board.
The ride in was pretty uneventful except for the 10 college students sitting across from us who were on their way to a Sox's game. A few of them brought these coolers filled with beer and whiskey and proceeded to use the 45 minute trip in to get as drunk as they could-as fast as they could....
We ended up at the Olgivie Transportation Center....ok, the hubby was right, it wasn't rocket science....and exited our train with the deluge of people.
Deluges of people and big transportation centers are not a good mix for 2 girls with ADD. Pam and I were swept along in the current of fast moving passengers, all the while our heads spinning to try to take in everything....."oh look a haircut place!"...."a shoe store?"...."pedicures!"....."Thai food"....."oooo escalators!"
Pretty soon we where outside on the sidewalk surrounded by tall buildings and we realized....we have no idea where we are, or more importantly, what we are going to do. We were so focused on the Metra and parking and chit-chatting and making fun of the drunk guys on the train that we never really discussed what we wanted to do when we got in the city.
So Pam pulls out a map....lets figure out where we are first....I can't even tell which direction Lake Michigan is with all the tall buildings....and that's kinda how I usually get oriented in Chicago.....big lake here....magnificent mile there....I'm good to go!
We look at the map for a good 5 minutes and we can't even find the street we are on (do you realize how embarrassing this is to write in my blog for all to see?)
So the next thing I know Pam is grabbing this innocent guy walking by. I'm not ready to ask for directions and admit defeat....not to mention the fact we still haven't figured out where we even want to go! "Excuse me, where are we?" Pam asks sweetly. The guy looks at us and smiles "Chicago" he says with a little laugh. We both giggle awkwardly. "Where do you want to go?" he asks. Pam and I look at each other...."ummm, we aren't sure" Pam says. Right at that moment I don't think I can feel any more stupid....(but I'm pretty sure I do right now sharing this story with everyone). "You can probably tell we aren't from around here" Pam says jokingly..... So there's another awkward set of giggles....and a perplexed look on the guys face and I'm sure that he is thinking we are a set of fruitcakes. Pam says "well, how about you just tell us where the magnificent mile is and the west loop." With big arm gestures he says "the mile is that way" and then swinging his arm in opposite direction "and the loop that way". "Is it too far too walk?" asks Pam. And the guy starts in on a spiel about "grabbing the Blue Line". As he's talking, Pam and I have both used our ADD superpowers to tune him out. Then I notice Pam turning her head and looking up in the air. I realize what she is thinking (us ADD people think a lot alike)...."Pam, he's talking about a bus" I say. "Ohhh" she says "I thought he was talking about that "L" thing".
Now I can see that this guy just wants to get away from us....."Ok. yeah. we'll grab the blue line thanks for all your help" I say taking Pam's arm walking....to where, I don't even know.....just away from this guy and our humiliation.
As we walk we quickly decide to just go to where Cavalia is playing. We'll check it out and then find a restaurant. I've looked at the location for Cavalia on a map at home.... now we just need to find a bus stop and figure out where to get on the blue line. We walk just down the block to one of the glass bus booths and go in to look at the map. The problem is that it's been in the sun for so long that all the colors are faded. There are three lines that look the same bluish-green. Pam and I are standing there debating color hues when this girl comes up and takes pity on us. "Where do you want to go?" she asks. "Racine and W. Jackson" I say as a bus is pulling up. "I'll help you, but you need to get on this bus right now" she says as she is walking towards the opening bus doors. Pam and I look at each other and nod as we head toward the bus. It's all happening so fast...."how much does the bus cost?" I say...."two dollars" the girl answers.....Pam and I are stepping inside while fumbling through our purses.....We look at the money taking machine thingie....I see all I have is a $20....Pam asks at the same time as the bus doors close and we start moving, "can we get change?"......the big black woman driving the bus says in a stern voice "don't make no change on the buses"......I'm thinking 'how do we get out of here'.....we are driving down the street and having a hard time keeping our balance while continuing to dig through our purses....I look up at a bus full of people and reconsider my earilier conclusion that I couldn't feel any more stupid....we sit down so we can find some cash....Pam finds a five dollar bill and I stagger up and slide it into the machine.
Pam and I sit there for a moment. My head is spinning again. The girl starts talking about which way we go when we get off the bus....she also waves her arms around in big gesture while telling us which way to walk....that must be a Chicago thing I think. Then Pam asks "but how will we know when to get off the bus?" The girl smiles and says I'll let you know....and I think to myself 'I will not blog about this'....
We get off at the same stop as the girl who helped us and we thank her profusely. We find our way to the Cavalia location and find a little restaurant and have dinner. It feels good to sit and relax.....
I think that this blog is long enough and embarrassing enough for today....I will continue tomorrow with my tales of Cavalia and the place we went to afterwards (which that story could be a couple more blogs in itself).