Day 3 of Trip to Land of the Wealthy

After seeing Saturday consumerism in action in Chicago I have changed the header to more correctly reflect American culture. We are staying one block off Michigan Avenue which is known as the Magnificent Mile. While the buildings in Chicago are quite impressive and often beautiful, the Trolley tour guide today said it is known now as the Magnificent Mile because of all the stores especially the expensive branded ones like Gucci, Armani, etc. It is just one Mile of shops.

We managed to sleep the night through at least last night. Both Helen and I woke up at around 6:30am this morning and the kids emailed at 7am to say they were also awake. We decided to have breakfast at a very nearby cafe (at the bottom of our hotel actually). After breakfast we finished watching the 1st half of the S.Korea v Uruguay game. We agreed to meet Janet at 10am in front of our hotel and we all went to the Levi store (which had a lot of items at 50% off). However, it was so hot and humid this morning that buying jeans just didn’t see the right thing to do be doing so while we (Janet, Helen and I) all tried on some jeans none of us ended up buying any. Helen and Janet then went off shopping together and I went off with the kids. Not entirely sure what Helen and Janet did because when Helen got back at 12:30 she hadn’t actually bought anything but she had managed to go the Cheesecake Factory though!

On the other hand, we went to the Bose store followed by the Apple Store. We had passed the Apple Store on Thursday but there was a line (they don’t know what queue’s are) to actually enter the store. That is because the Iphone 4.0 has just been released. However we were early enough today and managed to get it. We played with the Iphone 4 which I have to say is much better than the Iphone 3 – it is smaller, lighter and much better looking (sorry Marcus your phone has been supplanted). We also played with the Ipad which really is an Ipod Touch on steroids. Not sure that I would ever seen the reason for buying one of them. They are actually quite bulky as well. The kids and I enjoyed playing around though. It is incredible how successful Apple is in the US. You have to book an appointment to see an in store consultant and by the time we arrived there were no appointments left with one type of consultants and for the other batch (never figured out the difference) the earliest appointment was 3:20pm (and it was probably around 11am when we were there).

After Helen returned we headed out to catch the Trolley again to complete the city tour as we never finished it yesterday. It was an enjoyable hour and due to a Food Fair in the park they took us on a slightly different route which resulted in us having a great view of the city across Lake Michigan. I think Stephen and I both got some good photos. The only hiccup was when the Trolley driver misjudged one of the turns and he went over the curb. I was sitting about half way down and immediately he started turning I could tell he was going to do it. He hit it really hard and there was a large hiss as the air came out of the tyre. That didn’t deter him and he merrily continued on the tour with the half flat tyre. When we got out about 5 minutes later we could clearly see a gash in the tyre. He must have noticed the effect on the handling but he just continued onwards.

After a quick visit to the Herschey chocolate store (we got a free chocolate from the Trolley tour) and then a visit across the road to Ghiradelli’s for an Italian ice-cream, Helen and Chloe headed off shopping (as mothers and daughters do) and the boys went back to the hotel to watch the end of the USA v Ghana game (as fathers and sons do). Helen and Chloe got back just after the match ended and we just spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel. At 6:30pm we decided to go and walk down the Navy Pier to meet Janet for dinner. Navy Pier is the place that I spent 2-3 days hanging around after Sept-11. For those of you who haven’t heard the story, I was stuck in Chicago from Sept 11 to Sept 14 after the terrorism events. I was with a colleague (James Louw) and James and I spent at least one day down at the Pier trying to kill time (it was deserted then). Today it was teeming with people which made it almost impossible to walk down the Pier. We found a place for dinner and sat outside enjoying the warm weather and the atmosphere.

The plan had been to stay for the 10:15 fireworks at the Pier but we just couldn’t see ourselves up still at the time (even though it is now 10:25pm as I type). We headed back to the hotel and decided to call it a night. We leave tomorrow for St Louis and have to leave the hotel at around 10am to catch our flight down to St Louis.

Some additional observations about America:

  • Dressing in the same clothes is a must do family thing. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, matching shirts for boys & girls is obviously the thing to do. Even teenagers and mothers wearing the same clothes. Helen reckons it is because they don’t wear a uniform to school and so haven’t gotten the dressing like everyone else out of their systems. I am a bit concerned that when we meet our family tomorrow they will be dressed the same!
  • If Janet reads your blog, she will take it one step further and get photographic evidence of my observations. She has 2 pictures illustrating my point about women needing to wear longer pants – though both of the ones she has don’t demonstrate the tree stump theory (though she might take up that challenge now).
  • It is easy to waste your money in America (actually really easy). Helen and Chloe went into a store called ‘American Girl’ which is a store for doll (like Bratz etc) but in this store you can take your doll to have it’s hair done (for $25) or it’s ears pierced. No I am not kidding – it is a 3 floor store with everything you could want (and a whole lot of things you couldn’t imagine wanting) for your doll. The staggering thing was that there was a line for the hair salon.
  • Yours from the Temples (and one Greener) in Chicago.

    Peter

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