Sunday, September 20, 2009

figuring out the "L" in Chicago

Sometimes I feel like such an idiot.
I had my friends Pam and Lori here at the condo in Chicago for my birthday.

We were trying to decide what to do.
It can be so overwhelming. So many choices, so little time....

My goals when I'm in the city is always to learn and see something new.

As I've said before, I'm not very fond of shopping. I get pretty tired of visiting the same old restaurants and "touristy" places.

Lori heard of a festival being held in one of the northern suburbs of Chicago. They had food, drinks, a very eclectic assortments of bands playing for the day.

I thought this might be a great oportunity to try out the "L".

I've never riden the "L" before so I went on line to try and figure it out.
Is it just me or do they try and make public transportation stuff confusing?

The festival website that we looked at said "take the red line".

What "red line". I thought that's what they called one of lines on the bus system. I thought last time Pam and I got all lost in Chicago we ended up on the "blue line". How do you know when they are talking about the bus or the "L"?

And then the site talks about the subway (not the "L"). I specifically remember a conversation with my hubby (because he made fun of me) saying that Chicago doesn't have a subway.
Also, I thought the "L" only made a loop around a small area of the city, we need to go to a suburb that is up past Wrigleyville.

I am so confused.

So what do we do? We decided to walk down and see what we can find.

We'll call it an adventure....yeah, that's what we'll call it.

So we start walking, and talking, and walking, and talking, and pretty soon it seems like we have walked a long time. The website didn't make it look like that far.
I get out my map. And we look at it but it doesn't seem to help much.

We decide to keep walking with the thought that maybe we'll see something, eventually.

Then we see a store called "Marbles". Pam and Lori know that I love games so we decide to go in (since we are in no big hurry on our adventure). The guy that works there, named Ryan, is super nice, so I start asking him to explain the "L" to me.

He says that the "L" is the elevated train (which I knew) but that it has areas in the city where it goes underground (ahhh) and that it has an entrance just one block up. And it goes a lot farther north and south than I realized.

So we head out feeling a little more confident.

I don't know if this how it normally is but it seemed "under construction" to me. And look! A payphone! Pretty soon I think there will be a generation that doesn't know what those are.

looks like a subway to me.

smelled like one too and was really HOT!
We had some nice musical entertainment while we waited from 3 lovely men....and Pam joined in. Pam has a beautiful voice and they wanted to know where she sings professionally (She said the shower).

This was actually on the way home. On the way out there it was packed and we had to stand most of the ride (there was no way I could balance (the "L" is very jerky) take a pic and guard my purse with my life all at once).

At one point, Pam had a guy reach for the pole in front of her and get a little too cozy. She tried to ask him to move but I don't think he understood English. She handled it nicely and just grabbed his arm and moved it herself.

Have I told you Pam rocks?

Anywho. It was a nice evening. I think I'm comfortable enough now with the "L" to ride it anywhere.

I'd like to try "L roulette". Get on the "L" and ride it to different areas of the city and get off randomly to find places you've never seen before (of course you need to be careful and it would be best to do this during the day).

sorry it's blurry!


Lucky Girl said...

What FUN we had, visiting you in Chicago is ALWAYS an adventure!! Count me in for the "L" roulette, see you at Marbles!

Deborah said...

The only underground train I was ever in was Paris and then I got so lost it wasn't funny. I was only 18 at the time. Since then,I have taken the train to NYC and Washington DC, but that's different, I don't think I can go on a subway riding under a city, I'm to much of a chicken!

Pam said...

I've always lived in a either a small town or a city with horrible public transportation (Phoenix), so I have to agree that public transportation is very confusing. I can't figure it out at all.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! There's nothing quite like a girls getaway weekend.

mommyto3kiddos said...

Sounds like fun! Glad you had a nice birthday weekend! Happy Birthday btw. :)

Anonymous said...

we got on the subway in NY thinking we could tell everyone we road the subway. Simple just count the number of stops get of go to the other side get on count the number of stops and your back where you started---Wronnng,don't go back the same way it came. Be careful! KT

MamaOtwins+1 said...

I would have been lost too - glad you made fun out of it.

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