Tuesday, October 13, 2009

25 hours in Chicago

I stayed at the Palmer House Hilton and it was freaking amazing. I had a huge room on the 20th floor (there were only 25 floors, I think) with a king-sized bed and the best sheets ever, with a fluffy down blanket and five down pillows. Also, a cream and black bolster pillow and two square European pillows in very pretty, silky, spring green cases with some kind of black design. I rarely sleep in king-sized beds, and I really like them, mostly because I feel like I’m on an island. I like not being able to reach the edges! And the colors were right up my alley – spring green and cream and red and black, with modern-y and Art Deco-type furnishings, except for the (non-working) marble fireplace.

Other touches:
  • Granite countertops on the tv stand/bureau thing and on the bathroom vanity
  • Marble floors in the bathroom and a pretty basin sink
  • One of those ohmigod-is-that-monstrosity-my-face magnifying mirrors where I did my makeup and boy, did it end up looking good!
  • Excellent bathroom lighting
  • A large full-length mirror on the bathroom door
  • Way too many towels and washcloths, and within easy reach in case I felt the need to use three towels, three washcloths and two face cloths. (I guess it makes sense for a couple.)
  • A rain shower head, which was the source of much relaxation
  • A waffle-weave robe in the large, proper closet (three people could have fit in there, easily – or four friends – or four friends and someone else sitting on the enormous safe that was also housed there. I can’t imagine what people would put in such a big safe. Maybe a laptop? It stood about 2’H x 1.5’D x 1.5’W, I guess. Maybe bigger.)
  • Several Dasani coins for the water machine.
  • For washing, the hotel provided Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries.
This was all lovely, but I did notice some reddish hairs on the bathroom floor, which I removed by dampening a few tissues and swiping the marble.

I decided to eat dinner in the very comfortable bar instead of the pricier restaurant, surprisingly full of drunken 20-year-olds. I enjoyed a cheeseburger with a tasty, crunchy pickle, and truffled chips. This was when I learned that I don’t like truffle oil, or truffle dust, or the flavor of truffles much at all. It just tasted like dirt. Funky dirt. Complex, funky dirt. I had to try quite a few to make sure I didn’t like them, though. The flavor was interesting, and fleeting; I can’t describe it and I definitely would sample it again. I was a little disappointed, because I thought I was going to like it, and I wanted to. But I just didn’t. With it, I had some kind of pomegranatini with orange and vodka. It was delicious. Then I had a scrumptious crème brulée with fresh berries stuck directly to the caramel. It was sooooo goooood.

The next day I had planned on a restaurant breakfast but that never materialized (the bed was just so comfy). So I had a rice krispie treat from Starbucks. Then things were so busy at the trade show that I forgot to eat lunch (which never happens) and nothing caught my eye in all of O’Hare as I searched for dinner and so I was forced to buy a small bag of chocolate covered cashews and eat them on the plane. They were delicious. I also bought some cheese popcorn for myself and a crazy mix of cheese/caramel popcorn for Vitamin N at her request.

But the best part of the city was the buildings. They were so pretty! And the building materials were of high quality. My sister laughed and laughed when I told her the city was glittery, and she gigglingly asked me how long it had been since I had been in a proper urban city. I was so ashamed to say it had been way too long. Anyway, from what I saw, the city was not dirty, although it was quite windy (naturally) and the elevated trains were super loud. But it was not loud in my hotel room on the other side of the building. In fact, it was so quiet and heat was pouring out of both huge registers that I turned it off completely and pushed both enormous casement windows open as far as they could go, which was really quite far indeed. (If I’d wanted to kill myself, it would have been pretty easy.) I closed the blackout drapes but kept the ends open so I could catch the breezes, and the city sounds were so soothing that I fell asleep in no time.

The worst part was the traffic. It was redonkulous. But interestingly, whereas in NY the honking can be deafening, I noticed very little of it in Chicago, which made sitting in traffic much more bearable. Also, when entering the highway, cars do so on the left, instead of the right. I thought that was kind of funny.

The only bad part was that for some reason there was a problem with me not being registered for the show. I spent an hour arguing with the ISSA people and finally someone from the booth came to rescue me. How annoying!

Anyway, Chi-town was great. I can't believe it's already been almost a week. Isn't it crazy how fast time passes sometimes?

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