“I Do Not Approve Of Your Methods!”

"I do not approve of your methods!
Yeah, well…you're not from Chicago."

Saturday:

Late breakfast at a place which will forever be remembered as the restaurant-whose-owner-ran-after-us-to-claim-a-gratuity-which-he-said-we-never-left-although-Michelle-said-otherwise-and-was-about-to-smack-him-down-for-his-troubles.  A weird situation.  It made our visit to the Shedd Aquarium even more urgent.  We needed to see belugas.

I don't know what our Saturday schedule was precisely, but I'm pretty sure it didn't involve spending ALL DAY at the aquarium.  And yet we did.

Anyway.  The Shedd was built in 1930; its interior is a divine mixture of art deco and maritime.  A zodiac of sea creatures swam above me:

There were plaster turtles…

and marble whales:

…all decorative enough to stay safe within their media, but realistic enough to threaten to break through their aesthetic dimensions.

We all wandered where we pleased.  AmyH and I saw beluga whales

and dolphins.  We were watching the tank, waiting for whales – I'm sure many of you have been in the same position – and were about to leave when we saw them.  They had such a calming effect – we were so comforted by the belugas' white grace.  A microphone picked up their clicks and singing, sounds that might have come from dead mariners, tapping out messages from their buried grottoes.

I got the story on Nickel the Snapping Turtle from AmyH (which didn't surprise me, as no on can resist talking to an outgoing strawberry blonde).  Hit by a car (the turtle, not AmyH), she was rescued and given a home at the aquarium.  X-rays revealed that she had swallowed a nickel, which must have added to her problems.  But it also gave her a name.

A small, lush aquarium.  There were penguins, which I said were like banjoes:  one you couldn't be sad while listening to it, the others you couldn't be sad looking at them.

And there were many other characters, besides:

 

Eventually we returned to our Palatial Suite to meet up with the others and decide on dinner.  It was a vexing topic:  some for pizza, some not.  I'm not fond of Chicago-style pizza, so I went with Brown Amazon and Valerae to Spring – a former Russian bathhouse from the early 1920's. 

Spring retained the old outer facade, and inside still had the tile that once housed sweating Russians.  The food was excellent; I forgot the cocktail that the others had, but it was strawberry-based and looked crisp and refreshing.  I had a sazerac – because it is an old classic, and because it had absinthe.  BrownA tried some rather toxic white wine ("This is horrible – try it!") as well.  

Back home.  Time for presents!  Arbed made post-its and refrigerator magnets for everyone to commerate our weekend.  She also brought some goodies to be given to whomever asked first.  The suited rabbit suited me, and the pancake pin I thought Boyfriend would appreciate.  The mini-whiskey came courtesy of Mariser, Milord and Kentucky:

For the tacky gift exclange, I claimed for myself a pair of Philadelphia socks from the Cap'n.  They hide my large feet admirably:

I brought a trio of gifts, the most successful being a bottle opener in the shape of a bikini-clad woman.  Milord asked for her immediately.  But first, she was passed around for everyone to observe (the destiny of many an unfortunate woman) and when she came back to me, all warm with everyone's fondling, she was finally given to the lucky Lord K.

By this time people were sinking fast.  Thick, humid weather, tons of walking, Vox excitement – it takes a lot out of a person.  And yet, Valerae and I stayed up talking until past 1AM.

(end of Part Two)

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16 responses to ““I Do Not Approve Of Your Methods!”

  1. The Shedd is great. For about thirty minutes. After that visual fatigue and crowd grumpiness set in, and your admission investment starts to wither. It is much better to spend the time sweating in a Russian bath and drinking absinthe, but I don't suppose that's really an option for a girls' outing?

  2. You have your turtles confused: the snapping turtle is just evil, while Nickel is the sea turtle that lives in the Caribbean Reef and isn't evil.I like your succinct take on The Breakfast Situation.

  3. You have to go to every future peep meet if just to chronicle it!! and yay for "sweaty russians" as a tag.
    If I hadn't changed my mind about the trip the socks would have been from me! 😉 they look fabulous! well, you make them fabulous.

  4. were there otters? I sincerely hope there were otters.Lotus Batcat is sorry he missed the big huge spider.

  5. That sounds the like the best meet-up ever!I feel sad that there are no meet-ups in this state of mine.

  6. I love the Shedd, both its architecture and its residents. I only wish it wasn't so darn expensive, but I guess taking care of so many fish tanks costs a lot. But eating out in Chicago has always been a mixed experience for me. Some places the service is dismal and the food is awful, I think because they're catering to tourists who think they're getting classic Chicago cuisine (I'm thinking Pizza Uno and Harry Caray's); but the city is also home to some superlative restaurants like Nick's on the south end. I'm wondering now about the breakfast place you went to where the owner chased you for a tip. (The owner! What a lot of nerve!) That would describe a lot of places in the downtown area. Glad the Russian bathhouse was better!

  7. Great post, and what beautiful pics!

  8. I took way more photos of the fishy architectural details at the Shedd than of the inhabitants. I totally missed the penguins, but yes, LittleM, there were otters. Only two, though.

  9. I love how you see the world.

  10. Great wrap up! I need to post the rest of my pictures as well. Thanks so much for sharing! You left out the part about the owner saying he didn't want us to tip if that's what we intended, but we owed him 57 cents! "I just want what's owed to my restaurant." I still think it was some kind of shake-down or a Candid Camera moment.

  11. Wow. We went to the Shedd for my 30th birthday, then living around the corner in SW Michigan. I did not note the architectural details at all the way I would now, so I thank you for sharing some of them.* :-)And, right on about Chicago pizza. I have never understood the deal there. Or the whole chef salad on a hot dog thing either, though that does have more visual appeal. *Just this morning, as a matter of fact, I was looking through those photos. My, I was young then. I would love to have been the person to confront the restaurant owner. So jealous!

  12. sounds like a fun time… when i was in italy i sat down outside for a resturant… i got and started to leave and the wait staff guy was after me for 5 euros which was like 10 us dollars… and i told him i was walking away… 'i don't understand'… lol… sorry but um to sat down for like 3 minutes and that isn't even worth 10 dollars…

    candy

  13. To be honest, I don't like Chicago style pizza either – Pequod's just has the most amazing pan pizza. Totally not anything like the stuff for which we're famous.

  14. Daylong or otherwise, I had to love your aquarium venture. The socks are smashing.

  15. Doug – I can deal with crowds in general, but it's crowds of children that I try to avoid. We did try to avoid them, but when we got to the Shedd, it was too late.
    MMB – Gah. I hate it when I get my turtle recollections mixed up.
    Ms. Pants – CrankySocks? Yay! Surprisingly, Spring was not perspire-y at all.
    LM – I saw one otter, and one sea lion – both fast asleep, with whiskers twitching. Batcat vs. Spider Crab? That would have been EPIC!
    Purplesque – Unfortunately, future meets will be moving progressively West – couldn't you see your way clear to come over?
    Hangaku Gozen – Pizza Uno was actually recommended to me – but I really didn't have the time to seek out any of the places that were suggested. And yes, the Shedd is ruinous.
    IG – Thanks! You Should Have Been There, without a doubt.
    LC – What – penguin-envy?
    JP – Thank you; but really, I just looked at the ceiling, the walls, and my imagination couldn't help but frolic about like a puppy.
    AmyH – Candid Camera; that never occured to me! Yeah, 57 cents – what was he going on about?
    Lily Alice – I'll admit that I was curious about the Chicago Dog, but the opportunity never presented itself. And it was too bad about the restaurant – it was kind of a cute place.
    Candy Sparks – Really, none of us were trying to pull a Dine And Dash!
    Wbaby – I love aquariums; so much beauty under glass.

  16. The aquarium sounds and looks so appealing. You squee-ers sure know how to be festive!

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