Okay, here’s another double so I’ll try and make my descriptions short and snappy!
Day 22 was a part day in New York and part day in Chicago. Our flight was at 1030 or so and thus we were at the airport at around 0830. The version of uber that my sister-in-law has doesn’t tell you the fare of the trip until you’re done and it appears in your bank account and so when we got the bill for this one, even though it wasn’t that large a trip, it was a little shocking. But we move on.
We couldn’t check in to our hotel until 1500 and we’d also gained an hour travelling from the east coast to the central region of America so we dropped our bags at the hotel and went off into Chicago to kill some time whilst we waited to check in.
During our time of waiting we went for a bit of a walk around our surrounding streets, went to Millenium Park which is an easy walk from our hotel, lay down in the park whilst waiting for a jazz band to set up (there was a free jazz festival on in celebration of the labor day weekend!), went into a couple of stores, watched an amazing street artist, had some dinner and then went back to watch some more of the jazz festival. As it turned out John Schofield was playing (a world renowned jazz/rock/fusion guitarist!) My sisters-in-law eventually left and so my wife and I stayed for a good hour longer and watched the rest of John Schofield and then stayed for a couple of songs of the “Latin Jazz All-Stars” and were privileged to see “Candido Camero” play with them (this guy turned 95 on that day and played the bongos).
Today (day 23), started with me getting up a couple of hours earlier than the rest and having a Bible read. I started my time in Starbucks (sure the coffee isn’t fantastic, but I’m an introvert who likes routine, so some time to myself with a coffee and my Bible was A+ as far as I was concerned) and then moved into the lobby area of our hotel which for an inside reading place was pretty Kool, it’s a pretty spot. Then I went up and returned to the girls who were getting ready. After breakfast and teas and coffees at “The goddess and baker” we went to the Navy Pier and, among other things discovered our inner child by having a ride on the ferris wheel and also a set of swings thingy. Interestingly you aren’t allowed to swim around this peer as there’s quite an under current that pulls you under the pier. Sadly more than once there have been bodies discovered underneath. Apparently we were all a little tired after that so we had a 10min nap on the lawn outside.
Following this we went to some shops. The others bought a few things but I was shocking and bought something from the first three stores we went to! Little things sure, but still 3 from 3! Then we went for another coffee and tea at the aforementioned place and from there my wife’s twin, my wife and myself parted ways with the eldest sister-in-law and we went to see “Ray’s Music Exchange” as seen in the Blues Brothers movie.
I have talked previously about how my father prior to our departure told me to “…practice situational awareness” and in a previous blog I have mentioned how at one particular moment I did so and we all decided we ought to leave that place. Well compared to 47th street (the location of Ray’s Music Exchange), that former place was a street paved with gold! Yes, at the place in San Diego it looked pretty scary and there were lots of homeless folk, likely to have had mental illnesses and quite possibly were drug users. But at 47th street there were 2 armed cops (at least one of which had a bullet proof vest on) as soon as we got off the railway platform, there were many buildings that were desolate, there were angry looking folks just standing and pacing on the street corners looking as if imminently something very untoward was about to happen. My sister-in-law was warned by a kind lady that “This is a very bad street”… Yes! We saw the music exchange. No! You don’t need to put that on your bucket list. Or if it is on your bucket list, put it last. All jokes aside (and we did make a few about sticking out like EXTRAORDINARILY sore thumbs [I’ve never felt so white in my life], that had perhaps also been run over by steam trains and not just been hit with a hammer), I couldn’t help but think that it was a rather pleasant fact that we had survived this experience unscathed, but there are folks for whom that is their life. 24/7. Some of which have only themselves to blame, some of which just don’t know any better and some of which through no fault of their own somehow find themselves in that situation.
It seems a hopeless situation, it certainly is a very sad one. It is my prayer that the glorious and powerful gospel of Jesus Christ runs rampant in these parts and that these neighborhoods are completely changed to His glory.
After travelling back to our nick of the woods on the train (I’ve never been so happy to be on a train!) we went for a walk to a fountain that my wife had seen from the train which was very pretty and worth it, met up with my eldest sister-in-law and then went and got some deep dish pizza!
PUT that on your bucket list, scrub out 47th street and put deep dish pizza on! This was enjoyed by all J
The two sisters-in-law then went and watched an improvised comedy show which was reportedly quite good and my wife and I went back in the direction of our hotel room but on the way found some table tennis tables and had a bit of a game and also another park style game.
Now we are all on our beds, except my wife’s twin who is at the gym… it’s also 2242!
God bless y’all.