When the bus slowed I surfaced from my book and noticed that there was a LOT more traffic. We’re getting closer!
And there’s one of my favorite sights; the Chicago skyline. Get out of the way truck; can’t you see I’m trying to take a picture here?
Here’s a slightly better picture of the skyline.
Usually our Friday schedule is pretty much the same: clinic at Vander Cook, a little free time, Lunch, a Museum or educational something, another Museum or educational something, Supper, some semi-free time in a local landmark (Navy Pier, Sears Tower, etc), then the hotel for a little more free time before lights out.
However, once again another school snagged our morning clinic time so our usual schedule got turned all topsy-turvy, with free time in Chinatown in the morning and our clinic in the afternoon.
I’m not fond of afternoon clinics because the kids are squirrelly and sometimes have trouble focusing on the music. However there are advantages to a less rigid morning schedule, like having time to stop at the Oasis Starbucks! and getting lots of free time in Chinatown.
I’m in love with the breathtaking gorgeousness of Chinatown.
Since our J. Crew commandeered the seats in the very back of the bus they’re always the very last ones off the bus.
Come on guys, let’s go; we have shops to browse and goodies to buy!
Our first stop is a bakery Teacher and I visited the last time the band was in Chinatown.
Jo-Bear bought a giant bag of fortune cookies. We bought a giant bag of chocolate fortune cookies, some almond cookies to take home for the boys, and a giant almond cookie to munch on before lunch. Yum!
<The sign speaks for itself.
Most of the shops we visited had shelves crammed floor to ceiling with Chinese goods.
With the occasional familiar American product sprinkled in the mix.
One of the most unique – and memorable – shops we visited sold fresh fish and meat. I doubt that any of the boys have ever seen fish, seafood and meat displayed out in the open like this; I know I haven’t!
The shop had a pungent odor that hit you the moment you opened the door. Although all of the fish and seafood was on ice and looked fresh, the smell made me question how often and thoroughly the area was cleaned. It’s probably a cultural thing – everyone says Americans are clean-freaks.
But I prefer to buy my fish without the heads, thankyouverymuch.
The boys were intrigued by a large bumpy fruit we’d never seen before: Jackfruit.
I wanted to be a good example to the boys so I didn’t immediately bolt out the door like I wanted to, but after snapping a few photos and making a quick circuit of the shop I was ready to move on.
The next shop we was a feast for the senses. Full of wood and gleaming tins of tea, it smelled as beautiful as it looked.
We took a slight detour up a side street, hoping to find more shops, but turned around when we realized we’d entered the residential area. On the way back we noticed this little guy chirping his heart out on the sidewalk.
Everyone who knows me knows I have a massive bird phobia, but once I realized he was a baby and not likely to fly in my face I crept forward to take a couple of close-ups. Then I retreated to a safe distance in case he found his wings and decided to fly away. Darn that Hitchcock and his movie anyway!
The next few shops had lots of goodies for us to ooh and aah over. Come on, smile boys!
I could easily buy Christmas presents for so many family members… Except I know for certain I’d lose them between now and December.
The shoes caught my eye and made me think of Princess.
Aren’t they just gorgeous?
This warrior made me think of my brother Ike – I’ll bet he’d love it.
And of course there’s Hello…
Oooh – Sparkly!
What was I saying? Oh yeah – there’s Hello Kitty stuff all over the place for Angel Face. I think the Hello Kitty dressed up as a pink dragon is especially cute and wish I’d bought one. Oh well…
Several of the shops had a shrine in the back; I wanted to ask about them but didn’t want to be rude.
As we passed the Chinatown Public Library we saw a poster advertising an exhibit of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy. Of course we couldn’t pass that up!
The fact that we all wanted to find a restroom and public libraries have public restrooms was just a happy bonus.
Teacher knew a little about Chinese characters and was able to identify month and date characters for us, and was able to explain enough about the process that the boys were interested We weren’t able to spend a lot of time in the exhibit because there was a group of school children scheduled to be there shortly after we arrived, but it was a worthwhile stop.
Goodbye Dragon. I would’ve liked to spend more time exploring your library but it’s almost lunch time and I’m hungry!
To be continued at House of Fortune…