So we made it to Chicago on the train after 22 hours. That’s the first long train trip I’ve been on and it was very chill and they served me a steak and a beer so I can’t complain. We arrived in good order, checked into the hotel midst a lot of chaos as everyone was looking to get their bearings. The convention layout is a bit confusing with 2 towers and a building connecting them and an endless array of escalators and elevators not up to the task but I suppose we’ll get it figured out in time to leave.
Once we located our fan table we decided to wait until the next day to set up since we only had a few hours before the concourse was going to close. Chris and I spent the rest of the time wandering around the dealer room which is much bigger than last year with a lot more book peddlers on hand. So many books, so little money. I found lots of books to lust after but the prices were a mite too steep for my wallet. I dearly love a signed first edition but I love my wife more so I had to be content to window shop.
Whilst we were busy shopping Rico went looking for a panel. Being a teacher, “The Hunger Games in the Classroom” piqued his interest. The argument was put forth that The Hunger Games, and indeed YA fiction in general, dwells in the gutter for all the attention paid to it by high schools and universities and that it should be considered as fodder for college curricula. It was a WTF moment that he could not let pass without comment so he proceeded to make his contrary opinions known. Rico correctly, and annoyingly, pointed out that it’s written at a 3rd grade reading level and that no school concerned with it’s reputation, i.e. all of them, would consider such a possibility. He carried the point and consequently made no new friends that night.
We got together again and made our way by bus to “First Night at the Adler Planetarium” which was really great. The drive over showed us our first real glimpse of Chicago and I have to say this is a gorgeous city! The architecture is just beautiful in general with lots of old buildings mixed in with tasteful newer styles and the planetarium is no exception. It’s the oldest building of it’s kind in the western hemisphere with the addition of a huge modern wing with a sweeping view of Lake Michigan on one side and truly stunning view of the city on the other. We toured the exhibits (including a superb display of antique astronomical instruments), watched the show (where an alien entity tried to put us to sleep with it’s lilting sonorous voice) and enjoyed the light snacks on hand before we headed out for some real food around 9pm.
On our list of things to do while in Chicago is a series of eats that the city is famous for. Deep dish pizza was item number one and we found Giordarno’s just a few blocks from the hotel. The walk was pleasant with a lovely breeze and since it was 20 degrees cooler than back home we enjoyed it immensely. The pizza was delicious and ridiculously filling which is pretty much what you want from a pizza so we went back to the hotel with full bellies and called it a night. All in all a great first day at the con!