Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicago?

In yesterday's Life with Lynnie (LwL) entry, I wrote about how I had to fly somewhere in order to keep my Delta Skymiles points.  When I left off, my friend J had decided she needed to join me.

This wasn't meant to be a holiday or even a short vacation, but rather just a means to an end to reserve my accumulated travel points for future use.

Originally, I planned to visit a zoo there, maybe take in a museum and/or visit Millenium Park in downtown Chicago; I had planned to relax through the evening and later return to the airport and wait for my early morning flight back to Detroit. 

It wasn't that I was eager to see Chicago, it was more a case of just wanting to find stuff to do that would fill my time.

Once my friend J decided to join me, we discussed things to see and do.  She mentioned the only thing she really wanted to do was to take a ride on the Water Taxi.  I agreed, since it seemed like a nice thing to do.

Since we were going together, we had arranged accommodation at the Best Western Des Plaines, three and a half (3 1/2) miles from O'Hare airport, instead of spending a few hours at the airport.  J didn't think it was safe to stay in downtown Chicago and take the train back in the evening.  I trusted her judgement, so we arranged rooms for each of us.

It's a good thing I didn't have my heart set on doing anything special, because it didn't happen.  Yes, good old Murphy and his law, are still alive and well.  Of course, I realize that everything happens or doesn't happen for a reason that only God understands.

Upon arriving early Friday morning at O'Hare airport, we tried to obtain the shuttle ride to our hotel.  Talk about a screw up!  Well, it's enough to say I was beginning to feel rather frustrated.  Not just because I was upset about flying without Gordon, either (even if I was)!

Eventually, a taxi arrived to take us to our hotel.  Three and a half (3 1/2) miles is not far; the hotel had told us it would take about ten (10) minutes or so.  After about 20 minutes, I commented to the taxi driver that this was the longest three and a half (3 1/2) mile trip I had ever taken.

He then got off the maze of highway roads and headed towards our hotel.  On the way, he was kind enough to stop so we could pick up a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) one (1) day pass at a store about a block down the street from our hotel, which would allow us unlimited bus and train travel for the day. 

Speaking of the pass, both online and when we phoned, CTA told us that this one (1) day pass would be available for purchase at the airport.  It wasn't.  The shortest pass they sold at O'Hare airport was a three (3) day pass.  Frustration!

In any case, we purchased our passes at the nearby Jewel store and proceeded down the street to our hotel.  We realized that check-in wasn't until 2:00 pm.  We had been told we could leave our bags and they would store them.  No problem.

The check-in clerk was busy, so he suggested we should partake of the breakfast provided, while we waited.  It was a lovely breakfast; I even made myself a waffle!

We checked in and were shocked that they allowed us early entry into our rooms.  They were lovely!  We each had a room with a memory-foam-topped king-size bed, a love seat, coffee table, plus all the usual furniture you'd find in a hotel room, including a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, iron, etc.

After refreshing ourselves, J and I took off.

The bus that was to stop near our hotel was supposed to be covered by the pass; we found it wasn't.  It did take us to the train station in Des Plaines, where we found out that the train that was supposed to be covered by the pass, wasn't.

The woman at the wicket kindly told us that the best thing we could do would be to purchase a ticket for the train about to arrive, take it to a few stops away, get off and transfer to the blue-line train that would be covered by our pass.  We did this; sort of.

Once on the train, the conductor came to punch our tickets.  I asked him how far it was to the stop that had been recommended to us to change onto the blue-line train.  He replied, asking why we would get off at all, since our ticket permitted us to travel right into downtown Chicago on that very same train.  Since it was quicker and less troublesome, we did exactly that.

While somewhat disappointing, it was interesting to note that other than the train conductor, no one had given us correct information. 

This was shocking to me, because Gordon and I had travelled together a lot, in various parts of the world and never really experienced this kind of thing.  I kept thinking to myself:  If people don't know, why don't they just tell the truth and say they don't know!

Yes, I felt like I wasn't having a great day!  Even if I was enjoying my time with J!  I thought, okay Lord, I'll just go with the flow!  No matter how frustrated I was, I just knew God would help me through it.  Even with the heartbreak of not having Gordon with me on this trip.

Sorry; I realize I'm long-winded!  I've yet to tell you about our day in downtown Chicago and show you some pics, so I hope you'll bear with me and read again, tomorrow.


Until next time...

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