Vacation - Part III / Sub-part C - Day 2

The plan for our second day in Chicago was our trip to the Field Museum and the King Tut exhibit.

We started out early enough to deal with rush-hour traffic and to allow for any "errors" in our directions. (Since we did not do a dry "test-run" the night before.) As we drove to the museum, we got to see the "EL" train. That was interesting - public transit that actually seems to work. We did eventually hit some traffic, but it was not terrible, and we did indeed make one wrong turn. I went SB on Lake Shore Drive when I should have gone NB. A simple turn at the next exit and back onto NB Lake Shore Drive found us at our destination with time to spare.

After trying to establish if "Soldier Field" was a baseball park or a football park, we parked under it in an underground parking ramp.

The building is old. The building is gargantuan. We entered, got "established" ourselves. (Tickets out and ready, bathroom stops before we get into any exhibits, and writing our cel phone numbers on paper for the younger boys (in case we get split up).

As we made our way down to the King Tut exhibit, we stopped off at the "Underground Adventure" . In this exhibit you "shrink" down to a half-ich in height, and burrow thru the ground. Everything around you is builtto scale, and you get to see the bacteria, small critters, insect, and whatnot that live underground.

From there, we stopped at "Inside Ancient Egypt" - a display of ancient Egyptian artifacts, small models of the mummification process, an ancient Nile river boat that was recovered, stones of the same size and weight of the stones used to build the Gaza pyramids (on skids and ropes for people to try and pull). It was a great way to "wet our whistle" for the King Tut exhibit.

On our way out of the "Inside Ancient Egypt" exhibit, there was (what I considered) one of the best displays of the museum - Apparently the Museum is in the process of expansion. While expanding, they had to dig for the foundation. The Museum has a small display of items found while digging for the addition. You see, when the Museum was built in the 1890's. When they built the museum, they brought in tons and tons of landfill (dirt, debris, etc). Now while excavating - museum curators are finding a wealth of "treasures" from the 1880's and 1890's. Medicine bottles, dishware, milk bottles, basically old debris, but it was very interesting debris... A slice of Chicago life in the 1890's!

We arrived at the King Tut Exhibit, and had to walk to the end of a long hallway with roped off lines. After working our way thru this line, we were issued our "Audio Tour" headsets, and went up a flight of stairs, where got into another queue line. This time we had a slide show of perhaps 20 photos from the discovery and opening of King Tut's tomb displayed giantly on the wall. When we finally made it to the front of the line we were escorted into a small, dark room, with three jumbo flat screen plasma TV's. The room was a "sallyport" (door on each side - only one open at a time). You are provided an initial explanation of the event, thanking the hosts and contributors, etc... They ask you to turn off all recording devices, cellular phones, and give you the warning about photography being prohibited. After the employee gives her speech, she starts up a (about) 10 minute movie that plays on the big screen TV giving you the background of what you are about to see. When the movie is done, the doors on the other end of the room are opened, and you stroll into the exhibit.

I would catagorize the display as "generational". You start out seeing artifacts from what is presumed to be King Tut's grandparents. As you work your way thru the exhibit you move from grandparents, to what is presumed to be his parents, then to artifacts from his collection. Overall, the exhibit was amazing. To think that you are face to face with handcrafted items from nearly 3000 years ago, and buried in the ground for just about the same number of years is awe inspiring. The ancient Egyptians made the tombs and mummified the dead for the eternal afterlife of the deceased. It's amazing to think that they were indeed correct (or at least for 3000 years so far). King Tut has lived on thru the discovery of his tomb and mummy.

I could get into huge detail here on the things we saw, what we liked, and what we didn't like - but I wont bore you with all that. We picked up a souviner book that goes thru a lot of the history we learned, and a two page spread on each artifact.

I would have liked to have seen more actual artifacts, but the display wasnicely sized, and the selection of artifacts was also nicely done. Overall,I would do it all over again if I had to.

While at the Field Museum we also took in the following exhibits..

Evolving Planet - Earth Sciences - Grainger Hall of Gems - Hall of Jades

There was more that we "did not get to see", than we actually "got to see"... It was an overwhelming place. By the end of the day - we were exhausted. The museum closed at 5pm and we on our way.

Just as we were getting on the road to go home, we made a hasty decision to try and reach the Sears Tower. We were (after all) in the shadow of the building... Sigh... That my friends - is where the story goes sour...

I love my small town driving. I have two spotlights in my town - and my work commute is mostly freeway, with only minimal city street driving and not many lights.

Now, as we left the Museum and headed downtown, I thought to myself that this wont be so bad. I don't have any directions, or know where to park.. But it's the Sears Tower for gosh sake... I drove along Lake Shore Drive until I reached a street that I could see the Sears Tower was on, and drove into the downtown area.

Remember folks... It's 5pm - on a weekday...

As I approached the downtown area we came to a Tee in the road. Left or right. I went right. Now I had to find another way to the Sears Tower thru the tangle of one-way roads, and the... the... um... sea of people.

Never in my lifetime have I seen such a mass of human beings - all walking in different directions. A constant stream of pedestrians in all directions - as far as the eye can see. Then there are the cars. Cars, Cars everywhere... Mopeds, and Vespa Scooters, delivery trucks, cabs, cars, vans, busses... It was what I consider hell on earth. Driving thru the turmoil of motorized and pedestrian traffic was all I could take.

If you left any space at all in front of your vehicle (any space AT ALL) a motorcycle would (from 3 cars lengths back from a different lane) drive between the stopped traffic and zip into the space in front of you (that was about 1/3 the size of the motorcycle). All to get ahead 3 car lengths ahead.

Refer to the picture for the following rant...

Traffic in the intersections... My god... Picture yourself as the first car in the far left lane of a one way road (stopped at the intersection) The light turns green, and you creep into the intersection a bit. then the police man in the intersection whistles at you and has you pull up to where s/he is at. Then because of the steady stream of pedestrians, you wait. In the mean time the cars behind you have also pulled up behind you, but because you are not moving they begin to honk at you. You look to the policeman to quiet the other cars down, but s/he seems impervious to the sounds. Ok... You tell yourself to ignore the honking and you wait... and wait... and wait for the flow of people walking thru the intersection. The stream that does not let up until (and even after) the light has turned red and then green for traffic in the opposite direction. But because there are still pedestrians blocking the road, you cant move anywhere. Since the light has turned green for "left to right" cross traffic, they feel they should "jackrabbit" into the intersection, and dynamite the brakes within a foot of the passage door of your car. Because you have not moved anywhere, they too start honking their horns at you. You look at the pedestrians in the street (blocking your path), then to the cars behind you (also in the intersection on a red - honking at you), then to the cars coming at you from your right - in the intersection on their green (but can move) - honking at you), and finally to the policeman in the intersection completely unaware of what is going on - before you loose your mind... After you loose your mind, you turn to the on coming cars to your right - give them the finger, turn to the pedestrians, and start pulling your car into the crowd (hoping not to squish one of them in the street), all while you are wishing you could stick your big fat "glow-in-the-dark-cuz-it-aint-seen-the-light-of-day-since-you-were-a-toddler" white ass out the back end of your car and show the drivers (honking behind you) just how close they can get to a full moon!!! Look close enough asshole, you may even see craters! Oh, and watch out for the volcano spouting black stinky lava you impatient bastard!

When now you have made it through the intersection, you can relax...until you get to next stoplight (one block away), and GET TO do it allover again... and again... and again...

Because we were in a "Downtown" area - we could not see the Sears Tower behind the other tall buildings - due of our proximity and angle. I could not see a horizon, I lost my bearings and was unfamiliar with the area. Face it... I was now lost.

And that was where I gave up... I continued driving around like this until I found my way back to Lake Shore Drive, and we called it a day. Happily (and much more relaxed), I headed back to the hotel.

Once at the hotel, I grabbed a brochure for the Sears Tower SkyDeck. The brochure had specific directions, where to park, how to get there, and many other interesting facts... Including the fact that I was within a block of the parking structure for the Sears tower at one point...

Oh, well... Maybe tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. Sigh .... David, David, David. Why didn't you just turn your God-awful music up really loud and tune the rest of them out? laugh


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