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reflections on chicago

chicago was such a nice surprise. as someone who love new york (and visits at every opportunity), i was pleasantly taken about by some of the similarities the two cities share: world-class museums and shopping, art deco architecture, cultural activities, diverse neighbourhoods, public green spaces, and located right by the water. but i got to give it to chicago – the people are more friendly, the city is cleaner, the air is fresher, none of that hot garbage smell found in new york.

i might even go as far as to say chicago is like the best of new york, or new york lite. (god, i’m probably going to provoke the ire of chicagoans by saying that)

the trip was doubly fun because of ferris fest, celebrating the 30th anniversary of ferris bueller’s day off, a movie i’ve loved since i was young.

and i absolutely loved the art institute of chicago – my favourite thing to see in chicago. plus all the public art you find in the city.

would i visit again? for sure. would i recommend? absolutely. so when you want a change from the big apple, definitely consider the windy city.

press play to view slideshow of my trip or click here for my flickr.

for a slideshow of just ferris fest pics, press play or click here for my flickr.

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a bird’s eye view at willis tower’s skydeck

if you ever wonder what the view is like at 103 stories high, then check out the skydeck at willis tower. built in 1973 as the former sears headquarters, the willis tower is not for the faint of heart. in fact, the willis tower was considered the world’s tallest building until the taipei 101 towers, with its enormous spire, knocked them out of the number one slot in 2004. with the completion of new york’s one world trade centre, it is currently the second tallest building in the US.

still, that’s hella tall. some other fun facts:

  • it is 110 stories high
  • it contains 2,000 miles of electric cables
  • there are 25,000 miles of piping
  • the elevators travel at 1,600 ft per minute
  • there are 6 automatic machines to wash its 16,100 window panes (!)

the 103rd floor skydeck offers 360 degree views of chicago, plus there are a series of enclosed glass boxes jutting out from the skydeck, called the ledge, which extends out to four feet and gives you a view straight down to the ground.

if heights make you quesay, you can either gird your loins or find something else to do. i have as much as a rational and healthy fear of heights as the next guy (in the sense that i don’t want to plummet from such a height), but i also wanted to challenge myself and see if  i can actually be up that high and look down through the glass floor, without feeling like i want to throw up.

i decided to pull up my big girl pants and willed myself to go out on the skydeck’s ledge. not to say that it was easy peasy, as your rational mind is wrestling with your irrational fears. (in my case, too many years of horror slash disaster movies watched). but i make the tentative steps out onto the ledge, find myself drawing in a quick breath from being overwhelmed by the expansive views, above and below, and come to the realization that i’m just fine.

i’m not one for skyscraper living, but i’m also not stricken by an excessive fear of heights either. there were some people that stepped out onto the ledge, realized they couldn’t handle it and needed someone to pull them in.

my trick after stepping on the ledge? look out to the horizon first, take in the views at eye level, then slowly start looking down. i found that it helps with orienting oneself, and not quite the shock to the system.

and because chicago is awesome, the skydeck at willis tower had its own tribute to ferris bueller’s day off. there a kiosk selling t-shirts, mugs, posters and dvds, as well as, a mat marking the exact spot that ferris, sloane and cameron stood in the movie.

i think i see my dad.” ha.

i know it’s a complete tourist trap, but i’m glad that i picked the skydeck at willis tower as the last thing to do on my trip. i got there right before the golden hour and stayed until the sun set, getting some great shots.

chicago, you’ve been much fun. i’m glad to have visited.

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twisting and shouting at the ferris bueller parade

today was the last day of ferris fest and to cap off the event, celebrating the 30th anniversary of ferris bueller’s day off, we were all invited to participate in the re-creation of the parade sequence from the movie.

you know the famous scene… it’s where ferris bueller commandeers a parade float for a lip synch rendition of wayne newton’s danke schoen and the beatles’ twist and shout.

we were all sent word to meet at daley plaza in downtown chicago at 3pm. despite a rocky and delayed start (the event team was so disorganized), everything got underway eventually.

i grabbed a spot right at the front and had an unobstructed view of all the actors greeting everyone, as they were strolling into the plaza.

that was followed by the south shore drill team performing the entire full-length synchronized routine from the movie.

look-a-like actors for cameron and sloane re-created the scene where cameron thought ferris had ditched them and then were shocked as all heck to hear ferris’ voice come over the loud speaker:

ladies and gentleman. you’re such a wonderful crowd. we’d like to play a little tune for you. it’s one of my personal favourites. and i’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today. cameron fry, this one’s for you.

cue to the float with faux ferris and the frauleins, lip synching and dancing up a storm. the crowd lapped it up and joined in on the merriment. it was so fun, that they did an encore – of the entire thing from the top!

i hung out afterwards and even got a couple of rad photos – one with jonathan schmock, the chez quis maitre d’ and one of the three 1961 ferrari 250GT california replicars from the movie!

not a bad way to (almost) end my trip!