May 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I love living in a city that is a popular destination point for tourists.

It makes me happy to walk by the Willis Sears Tower on my way to the chiropractor and see groups milling around outside, staring up and pointing.  I still stare up too, so I get it.  There’s just something about living in a place that people vacation to that makes me feel…well, lucky is a good word.  Nothing beats knowing that I can do all the fun stuff in the city anytime I want, and not just once a year.

Tourists are also funny.  They express amazement over the fact that someone can live in the city year-round and they seem bewildered when you tell them how you get around using public transit.  They can also get really drunk, which is funny too.  Case in point: plastered guy in bar Saturday night.

I went barhopping with a lady friend of mine Saturday evening and we wound up at Nicks Beer Garden in Wicker Park (this place had some killer live music, by the way).  We were there early enough that the place wasn’t packed and we grabbed a table in a corner.  As we sat, conversing and drinking, this wasted guy walked up and sat down with us.  He was so drunk that it took us a minute to realize he was speaking English.  He told us he was from Alabama (he did have the accent to prove it) and went on and on about how much he loved Chicago and all the people in it.  He asked if we lived here and when we said we did, his eyes got real big and he looked amazed.  He then asked if we liked it, and of course we said we did again.  At that point, he mentioned (again) that he was from Alabama and my friend told him that she was from Atlanta herself.  He got so excited and his face lit up upon hearing this.  He then proudly told us that he knows where Atlanta is.  He must have been valedictorian in his senior class, with that kind of geographical knowledge.  After sitting with us for a few more awkward minutes, he thanked us for our time and stumbled over to another table.

You can see why I love the tourists.  I also love that I still sometimes feel like one myself, even though I’ve lived in Chicago for over a year now.  Sunday was a nice, warm day and I wanted to take advantage of it so I decided to pick a direction I hadn’t walked in before and set out.  I walked about 2.5 miles towards downtown before turning around and walking back, and I found some great spots along the way.  One in particular is the Dragonlady Lounge, which is a Korean/American Vegan/Vegetarian place.  Yelp gives it some great reviews and I’m excited to actually know where it’s at (and even more excited that it’s only a 15 minute walk from home).  I also found a Target, a bowling alley, a thrift store where everything was $3, two delicious looking bakeries, an indie theater and countless other little restaurants and dive type bars.

There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own city, and I plan on touring as much as I can while the weather is warm.  If you want to go tourist with me, just let me know!  We can get drunk and tell people we’re familiar with their hometowns, or we can just check out cool new places all summer long.  And if you’re nice, I won’t make you wear a fanny-pack.


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