Monday, May 12, 2008

Meeting up with more old friends

After a day full of walking and a tummy full of champagne, you can guess what we did: go back to Arlington House and take a nap! The best thing about that hostel was how the beds, despite being lumpy and possibly bug-ridden, lulled you into the deepest sleep possible. It was borderline Cinderella-esque. Here at home in my own bed, I can never make it through the night without waking up a few times, but in Chicago I slept like a rock. It was amazing. I swear there were sedatives in the mattress that seeped into your body through osmosis. Anyways that was just a long way of explaining that none of us woke up from the nap until about 9 o'clock at night. It was a pretty long nap, but at least we had digested the brie and were ready to eat again! And guess where we decided to eat... a pizza place! Duh! It is Chicago after all. We needed the experience of some true Giordano's deep dish. So I called my friend Angela who I had met while studying abroad, and we arranged to meet at the closest Giordano's. It would be just like Italy again! There'd be pizza, wine, and lots of complaining about why Italian men had such a fondness for mullets. (No kidding! It is mullet-city over there. The Itals are not the sex gods you are imagining. Trust us. Angela and I avoided being touched by them at all costs... unless the cost was a free drink. We might have made exceptions for that. Milan was expensive, you know?)

Erin, Katie J, Julia, and I all put our faces on, dawned some cute little outfits, and hurried over to the bus stop to catch the 22. It didn't come. It rained some more. The wind blew harder. It still didn't come. More rain. More wind. No bus. Finally a bus! Not the 22. I asked the driver if this bus stops at our street (Belmont), though. He says yes, and so we all got on, thinking that it probably followed the same path of the 22, at least until our desired street. We got off at our street, and I called Angela to tell her we're there.

"Where?" she asks.
"At the intersection," I say.
"Of Belmont and Clark?"
"Yea, where are you?"
"No you're not."
"Sure we are. We just got off the bus."
"What bus?"
"Angelaaaaaa, the one that just drove by!"
"I am sitting at the intersection of Belmont and Clark. I have been for the last 5 minutes. There has not been a single bus that has come by. I think you should find a street sign."
"O," I say. "We're not at the intersection of Belmont and Clark."
Siiiigh. "Just tell me where you are. I'll come find you."

So the lesson learned was to not get on random buses, but true to her word Angela found us. By the time she did, we all looked a lot like this:

I can't help but imagine how much Angela was giggling at us in her head. Here we were, a gaggle of silly girls in our cute going-out attire and spring jackets with inside out umbrellas and streaked mascara. Here she was, a native of the area in a hooded parka with knee high boots on. You could tell who the tourists were even with your eyes closed. Angela kept us motivated, even though this other bus had dropped us off many blocks out of our way, and we pushed through the misery and made it to Giordano's! When the pizza finally came, it was hard earned and, as such, tasted even more delicious than it otherwise would have. If you have never had Giordano's, it is an experience you should have at least once. I know many people who are thin crust fans poo poo this deepest of deep dishes, and that's fine. You are all entitled to your own opinion.... But I think you're wrong. That's my opinion! Giordano's pizza has so much more toppings and cheese because they bake the pizza like a pie with the toppings on the inside and the sauce layered over the outside. There is just no way to physically pack more flavor into a pizza. I mean just look at all of that yummy goodness oozing out of Julia's piece of pizza! You can't top that anywhere (certainly not on a piece of thin crust pizza)!

After we were sufficiently refueled by the cheesey goodness, we were off to explore more of Chicago's night life. Angela took us to a hooka bar called Sigara which was kind of in the Wicker Park hood. Now the only hooka bar I've been to before is Chi Cha over on the end of U street (which I was actually just at last weekend, so there will be some more DC-oriented Search for J Street adventures about that coming up soon), and so I was expecting Sigara to be like that. In actuality about the only thing they shared in common was dim lighting. Where as Chi Cha is very open, Sigara is very closed. All the seats seem so secretive, nestled back into corners created by temporary walls made out of curtains. Someone could be sitting inches away from you on the other side of the curtain and you would have no idea what they were doing. The lighting was almost no existent, provided only by candles. You felt like you were in an Arabian brothel, in a good way. I tried to snap a few pictures of the experience, but it was to dark to get anything good. Mostly I just captured us looking ghostly by the candles.

I thought we looked so ghostly, that I tried to get everyone to tell actual ghost stories. No one was feeling that. So I started it off with the story of the green ribbon, but I only got about 2 sentences in before Erin said, "O my god, Cara. Not the green ribbon story. Everyone knows that!" That promptly ended the ghost story telling. So we all exchanged crazy stories from studying abroad instead while we sipped on some pretty decent wine. We ended up not getting a hookah because we got there so late, but the lounge was so smokey that we got the experience anyway. All in all, it seemed like too short of a night, and I was sad to see Angela go when the bar closed down. I was happy to get back into my nice warm bed, though, and out of my wet clothes. As soon as my head hit the sedative-laced pillow, I was fast asleep and didn't move an inch until the sun was up the next morning.

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