Granted, Grant Park - where Lollapalooza took place - is located in the downtown area of Chicago, just off the coast of Lake Michigan, but I'm sorry! I'm not a Chicagoan and dammit I doubt I'll ever be one!
It's weird though. When I got off the plane at O'Hare and rode the painfully slow subway train into the city, I noticed something: Chicago has the feel of a city. Like, when I go home, Seattle and Tacoma FEEL like cities. I've been up and down California, I've seen the best Arizona and Utah had to offer (Spoiler Alert: Not Much), and in a little over a week I'll see Houston and marvel at how THAT feels like a city. But, when you come to New York? New York is like its own fucking planet. It's so big and spread out with its boroughs of diversity and people from every nationality imaginable ... I mean, you can start out in China Town, hit Wall Street, scuttle through the sleeze that is the Village, drift through the yuppiedom that is Chelsea and Mid-town, and before you know it you're in poor ghetto country ... and you haven't even left Manhattan!
Anyway, Chi-town was all right. I saw Soldier Field from afar and the outskirts of their Field Museum (like the Natural History Museum, only set in a giant park full of giant globes posing as artwork). It's really flat, really humid, really hot and really spread out.
We stayed at the Tremont Hotel - right next door to Mike Ditka's restaurant - in the heart of downtown and about two miles from Grant Park. There was one Queen-sized bed for the four of us, so two had that while the other two rocked the floor. I flew into O'Hare at about 7:30 in the morning but didn't get around to the hotel until 9:30 or 10:00 thanks to their sad-sack subway line that went about 15 miles per hour for the first 13 stops from the airport. After the first day at Lollapalooza, my feet were full of blisters, my lower back was in revolt, the entire left side of my body was roasted ... toasted ... and burnt to a crisp, I was dehydrated, fatigued from lack of sleep, starving because I ate exactly one meal about 9 hours prior, and my clothes were damp with sweat. My ass hit that bed and I didn't move until morning.
After the second day at Lollapalooza, go ahead and compound all of those previous maladies. Cait, Gretchen, and Bianca all went out drinking at a bar while I remained in the hotel room nursing my soreness, watching one of the 12 television channels that worked, propping myself up with pillows and napping intermittently. I wish I could've gone out with them, but walking was not an option. They came back around 3am having had a blast and little photographic evidence that I was even ON this trip (that, of course, was compounded by the fact that we spent the first two days at Lollapalooza seeing the exact opposite bands; I'm not kidding, either).
After the third day at Lollapalooza, they were as tired and weak as I was before, yet I was energized and jazzed up to go drinking. Yeah, didn't happen. So, I bought a giant bottle of wine and drank a little bit of it and we all passed out watching more crappy TV. Gretchen had to stay up all night for an early flight, so I stayed up until 2 or 3am watching this crap movie on HBO.
On Monday, Bianca, Caitlin and myself went out to brunch at this vegan-friendly place. I don't remember what the restaurant was called, but I do remember what their breakfast drink was called: The Trifecta. Bianca and I shared one; it's a shot of espresso, a shot of Jamison whiskey, poured into a pint of Guiness. Deeee-licious. I ended up drinking most of it, though, after Caitlin said you're not supposed to drink alcohol before getting a tattoo. Something about profuse bleeding or something ... I really wasn't paying attention.
Bianca and I got our tattoos right after, at a place called Tatu Tattoo, by a cool guy with a limp by the name of Allie Sider. Yes yes, if you're in Chicago and feel the need to get inked, see my pal Allie at Tatu Tattoo. Look them up online, very reasonable. We ended up waiting most of the afternoon for him to do the designs and then the tattoos themselves. See, this is what he does: he draws them out until we like what we see, then he draws the outline on some carbon paper. He wets the area we want the tattoo with alcohol or something and - after shaving the sporadic hair growth - presses the carbon outline until it sticks. He goes over the outline with the tattoo gun in black, then goes about filling it in. Bianca has a solid black one, mine has shading and multiple colors of blue, so it took much longer.
After that, we went to Reckless Records where I bought a couple CDs and a T-shirt. Then, we took about 9,000 hours to get to the movie theater that was showing the movie The Ten. By the same people who brought you Wet Hot American Summer. Hilarious!
Then, we went back to the hotel, I finished off the wine and got nicely drunk for the first and only time on this trip, and we all had a rousing debate about Lindsay Lohan before falling asleep.
Today, I got up at 10:30, packed my one backpack with my shit, and got to the airport in plenty of time via the slow-ass subway. Got into LaGuardia at around 6:15, got home a couple hours later via Queens local bus line, and here I am, listening to Smoosh and getting ready to watch Entourage.