Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicago-Day 4 (Part 1)

Today (day 4 that is) was the first day at the gym where the transition from showing my ID and room key was mandatory, to handing it over for a very quick glance, to flashing it and finally, just an obligatory half-reach for the pocket.
My morning adventure was to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. While on the maps I have, it appeared off the beaten path, until I traveled there, I had no idea just how off the beaten path it was and I mean both literally and figuratively.

It started with a short walk to the brown line train which I rode to a place where I can transfer to a green line train. Now because I often forget to factor in the scale of a map, my assumption was that since the museum was abut an inch and a half or so away from the green line station where I exited, that I could walk the rest of the way.

To confirm my optimistically mediocre sense of direction, I approached the woman in the booth at the train station and asked, "the museum is in that direction, right?" "Yes sir, take the bus directly across the street (she forcefully pointed to where the stop was, literally, as she said, directly across the street)."

"I was planning to walk ma'am, thanks for your help." She got this look of deep concern as her pupils seems to dilate instantly. She stared me down and barked, "Sir, you don't want to do that, please just go across the street and take the bus...trust me." At this point, I felt compelled to take her at her word and as soon as I turned around to cross the street to the bus stop, it became a bit more evident why she was so insistent on me taking the bus. The fact is, I happened to be standing in a part of town that was, well, here's what one sign read, "PLEASE NOTE THAT FOR THE SAFETY OF ALL, THIS STREET IS UNDER CONSTANT VIDEO SURVEILLANCE." Another glance and I saw no less than four police vehicles strategically positioned on patrol and then there was the general complexion of the storefronts and housing, I was clearly not in Oz.

There were other tourists at the bus stop and we all just waited patiently for our ride to the museum. I believe it was the number 55 bus that arrived within ten minutes to carry us to our destination but the show was just about to begin at the very next bus stop where confused about civil rights man (CACRM) boarded and added a bit of texture to most of the remaining ride to the museum.

CACRM was rambling on and on about "the white man", ""the black man" and "especially those white trash mo's." He started right at the front of the bus after paying his fare then proceed to rant loudly throughout the bus ride right until his departure a few stops before the museum.

The Museum of Science and Industry itself is quite large and impressive and my only complaint is more general to all such museums. I just don't appreciate that when you must pay an admission to somewhere, that it doesn't include all of the attractions at that location. There were a number of add-ons, none of which particularly interested me enough, the included exhibits were vast and plenty but it's just wrong in my mind to have "premium" attractions. That said, it is a very nice museum, I spent several hours working my way through the many exhibits and enjoyed my time there very much.

For my way back from the museum, I found a bus that headed North, into downtown Chicago where I planned a return trip to Portillo's, where I had my Chicago style hot dog yesterday. Todays mission, the famous Italian Beef sandwich.

More later...

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