Well hello dear reader. Sorry I've not been especially vigilant at updating my blog. I am simply been too obsessed creating my mini films.
So. Today is Monday and I'm currently typing this from 30,000 feet as we travel the three and a half hours by plane from Chicago to Las Vegas.
Before I crack on with the current doings - I should really bring you up to speed on our time in Chicago - as I seem to remember leaving you on the plane before we even landed.
So in Chicago after we'd got safely to the hotel before Darren landed - we struck out for a walk. It was VERY humid. We happened across the airshow - which we'd spotted on our approach to Chicago in our cab. And spent some time watching that. You will see my awful attempt at making a video - at the bottom of this page.
After we'd spent some time looking at the aerial spectacular - we walked back towards town - and Sarah treated us to a delicious lemonade off of actual freshly squeezed lemons - and we got talking with some strangers whom recommended a couple of restaurants for dinner. And after googling and trip advising them - we realised they were safe for consideration, and not some sort of swingers club etc.
Then it was off to the T-Mobile shop for me to get SIM'd up with my phone of American-ness. Or should that be cell?
Unfortunately we were in the shop some time as Chris was making quite a meal of setting me up. Note to self - check credit card on return to UK to ensure I've not been debited 900 times.
So with new SIM installed it was back to the hotel to await Darren's arrival.
He was a bit delayed - but made it in one piece. And no sooner had he arrived than we were off to Gibsons for dinner. And no sooner had we arrived at Gibsons to be told it was a 90 minute wait, we were off to Charmichaels. And no sooner had we arrived there to be told it was a 90 minute wait we were off to Tavern on Rush - and took our high top table seats. Hurrah.
Then it was time for flashback to San Francisco circa 15 years ago when Fiona ordered some delicious twice cooked homemade, handmade chips to accompany dinner. Image our surprise when crisps turned up. Doh! Chips is american for crisps - as opposed to Fries being american for Chips. Rookie error. They were delicious nonetheless.
By this time if I'm honest I was flagging a bit - being up for nearly 24 hours will do that to you.
So after a stroll back to the hotel it was to bed at about 1030pm (or actually tomorrow at 5am if like me you're obsessed with the time difference). Needless to say I was wide awake at 3am. Thankfully I drifted off and woke up again at a more reasonable 8am.
We ended up in the restaurant next door to the hotel (with connecting door) for our brunchy breakfast. Ditkas. (43 of 8,500 restaurants in Chicaco on Trip Advisor - so passes my threshold test). And in an effort to be vaguely good I had oatmeal for breakfast. Followed by omelette. Which whilst not good, is not entirely bad. It's all about the choices. Delicious ones at that.
Then it was off to the 360 Experience at the top of the John Hancock Tower (see accompanying video). The most amazing views. Of what is fast becoming one of my favourite cities (needs to lose some of the humidity). And no sooner had Fiona picked up the souvenir photo of us at the tower - it as all aboard the open top bus.
Now I don't know whether it's a getting older thing - but what would have been horrific as a child - I really like an open top bus tour. You really can get to see far more than you can cover by foot, hear about town from a local, and get the geography of the place straight in your mind. Despite being in the blazing sun for much of it - I was willing each stop to be in the shade (rare) or we'd get up enough speed to create a breeze (rare again) - but it really was a fab trip. Heartily recommend.
After alighting bus we may have called in Ghiradellis chocolate emporium for humungous ice cream treats (for my throat) - and it was back to the hotel - for cocktails - really? To be fair I had a lime and soda whilst eying up Sarah's raspberry martini cocktail.
We were on our river cruise in the evening so after much debate about dinner location we ended up at Ditkas - which seems to have become our location of choice - Me and Darren both had the Maryland Crab cakes - and FIona and Sarah had steaks. All totes delicious. And having had cocktail envy an hour or so before - I had the raspberry martini. Hmmm. Refreshing.
The river cruise was fantastic - our host spoke non stop for 90 mins on the architecture of Chicaco and the River area. Got some amazing photos. And some not so amazing photos. Again would v much recommend the twilight cruise (off of architecture tours, not off of taylor lautner). Again comfortably passed by trip advisor threshold - as this is certainly top 10 things to do.
Again - tiredness started to kick in so we were safely back at the hotel and tucked up in bed by 1030.
(keep up - we're nearly up to date)
This morning I was awake at about 0630 and crept off to Starbucks opposite the hotel for a vanilla latte (hotel room coffee was not super) - and unsurprising my crashing about woke up darren. And for his drink (off of him living there) I had to write it down - as its tricky for me to remember how to order. Repleat with coffee it was back to bed for a couple of hours for me and off to the pharmacy for Darren to collect some allergy medication (bandying the phrase 'I need to get some drugs' is not perhaps the most appropriate).
Food once again came in to view as we had 'continental' a the hotel (oatmeal followed by scrambled eggs and potato, off of corned beef hash for me).
And then it was time to pack and leave our first location. The cab to the airport was summink else! it was like taking part in the stunt scenes of 'The Fast & The Furious". I think all of us were doing the involuntary foot braking motion as he drove about 6" from the back of the car in front. Still we were at the airport in no time - so near death experience means we have time to do all we need to (generally drinking all our water before security, and going for a wee once we are thro security).
Bit of a delay boarding the plane as there was no sight of the pilot. (And they are freaking telling us this over the tannoy). And to add to that delay there was a queue of airplanes waiting to take off due to stormy weather.
So now you join me in seat 14B on our American Airlines flight. I've just had a 'snack pack' containing the tinyest of tiny packets of tic tacs. Such fun.
Anyhow - I shall leave you now - And undoubtedly there will be a no less thrilling update from Vegas. Avec Showgirls (and that's just Sarah and Fiona!). So brace yourselves.