I arrived in Chicago Illinois yesterday afternoon and I checked into the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I booked a two night stay so that I would have some time to explore the city in all of its decadence. Previously, the nicest hotel that I ever stayed in was the Hilton in Washington D.C., but this hotel puts the Hilton to shame. It is definitely the place to stay for people who like high thread count sheets, good food, and opulent luxury. However, it is certainly not the type of place that someone can stay at often. This is because it is so expensive to stay at the Hyatt.
I especially enjoyed that the elevators made use of the hotel keycard for extra security. My in and out privileges from the Hyatt parking garage was through using a QR code which made parking very convenient because I did not have to be concerned about an additional key. Last night when I ordered my dinner at the hotel restaurant, I simply signed for it along with the tip and had it charged to my room.
I checked the wardrobe closet and noticed that it was large enough for me to comfortably stand or even sit in alongside the ironing board and multitude of coat hangers. I then wondered if anyone had ever stood in there waiting until the maid comes in the room to tidy up only to jump out and surprise her. I’m sure that would keep her on her toes and although I would have liked to have known the answer to this question, I thought it best that I did not ask her and kept this thought to myself. Well, to myself and you as my blog reader :)
Electrifying Nightlife ✨
A late night stroll around the Chicago Riverwalk revealed party goers laughing and celebrating at small round tables several blocks in length. There was even skateboarders and people walking dogs. Some jazz music was playing in the background from the nearby pubs. I thought to myself: this must be what it is like during the Mardi Gras season of New Orleans. Some young men around my age were throwing a football back and forth to each other and they invited me to join a high spirited game. I chose to watch from the sidelines and felt that the energy was electrifying! After this, I headed back across the street to the Hyatt Regency where I went to the dining area and ordered a late night snack of chicken wings and a piping hot cup of tea. I informed the waitress to simply charge it to my room and left a tip in cash for her before retiring for the night.
Exploring the Navy Pier!
Today, I woke up early and took a yellow taxicab to the Navy Pier where I shopped, met other tourists, and went on the Ferris wheel. There was music and a jubilant atmosphere with most people not wearing masks. The view of Lake Michigan was incredible!
After exploring the Navy Pier, I then took a city bus ride downtown so that I could immersive myself in the unvarnished culture of Chicago before walking back to my hotel. I wanted to walk so that I could see the city and document what I observed. Sadly, I observed the dichotomy of conspicuous consumption transposed with extreme poverty.
While I was walking, I saw several tents set up with homeless people in dire need of funds and medical treatment. I gave them what I could afford to share and in return, they told me about their life and some of their difficulties. One gentleman played a song for me on his guitar, and I took pictures of his tent and two signs that he made as a plea for help.
I felt that documenting this part of my journey is important. This is because post-pandemic, even in a city such as Chicago, if you walk two blocks past the beauty of the tourist areas, there is more poverty than I have seen documented within the news of previous years.
Overall, it is definitely a place that I would like to come back and visit again. I was really surprised at how kind and friendly the people here are. I was born in New York City and I can unequivocally state that there are not nearly as many polite, courteous, and helpful people in NYC as compared to Chicago. Many tourists and even a few locals had offered to take my picture. I graciously accepted and I returned the favor by using their phones to take their photos.
Everyone was grateful, helpful, and sharing. It was a celebration of life and hope amongst the hustle and bustle. At Millennium Park I observed a live wedding ceremony. I feel that is apropos given that Millennium Park marks the beginning of my journey of seeing how America has changed post-pandemic, and their journey in matrimony.