Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chicago Day 2

You ever been someplace where you know you didn't belong but had no way of getting out so you might as well make the best of it? Steve and I found ourselves in that exact situation on Tuesday. We were heading to The Museum of Science and Industry, Steve's particular choice for places to go in Chicago (we'd hit mine, yesterday). We took the El into Chicago, figured out where the Loop run was and got onto the Green line towards Cottage Grove. We were patting ourselves on the back for forging our own way instead of taking the bus like the Chicago map suggested after all on the map the museum only looked about 2 blocks from the El station. As we were chugging along high above the ground, we started seeing abandoned, boarded-up houses and apartments; never a good sign of a thriving neighborhood. It only got worse the more south we went. Hmm. We got out of the El and started down the street, after all it was only going to be two blocks. How bad could it be? We were getting eyed up and down, but we just acted like we belonged there and kept on walking. Two blocks passed and three, and we started that realizing that perhaps the map wasn't to scale. What could we do? We just kept walking (and praying). Steve saw a non-local bus pull off to the side of the road and then heard someone calling out to us. We jaywalked across the street to him. Although he wasn't supposed to and he acknowledged that we could keep walking if we wanted to, he offered to rescue us. He said we stuck out like a sore thumb in that neighborhood. We readily took him up on the offer. I called him our angel. And we rode with him the rest of the 3 miles it would have taken to get to the Museum. He told us to take the bus to get back to our hotel and not walk through any more strange neighborhoods and that we had two mouths between us to ask for directions instead of going off on our own. Advice we will heed in the future. No more pride for us!

After arriving safely at the Museum, we bought our tickets and started exploring. I'll tell you right now that we didn't finish it. We'll have to return. First we got onto the first diesel train ever. The Zephr traveled from Colorado to Chicago to take part in the Chicago World's Fair. It got there in 13 hours with a top speed of 112 miles per hour and an average speed of 77 mph. And we learned that the Museum itself was the one remaining World's Fair building. All the rest burned down. Next we checked out the only captured German u-boat in existence, the U-505. The picture is Steve in front of the U-505. The exhibit was fascinating. It told the story of the German u-boat control of the Atlantic, our defense tactics and then the bold decision to capture a u-boat intact and the inherent difficulties of that task. It culminated with the U-505 itself in all its bullet-riddled glory. We spent a good 2 hours exploring this exhibit alone. Then we realized that we were hungry and headed to the Brain Food Cafe before it closed for the day. We looked at an exhibit that held pictures of our solar system's planets and sun gleaned from 40 years of space photography from the various space probes (some of them sent off by APL). We explored different extreme weather conditions like avalanches, tornados and tsunamis and then the museum closed! The audacity! We weren't done with it! Guess we'll have to plan another trip to Chicago. :0)

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