No, I'm just going to blog about CHICAGO! And my imaginary friends who accompanied me.
My husband came with me to Chicago (he's real, not imaginary) a few days early and we stayed downtown so we could do some sightseeing. I knew once I got to RT I wouldn’t set foot out of the hotel (okay I did once, but that was just to go buy more wine, hence the above noted taxi ride) and I wanted to see some of Chicago since I’d never been there.
I have to tell you one of the main reasons I wanted to see this city is because I’ve written a couple of books set there – Breakaway and Rule of Three. Yes, I wrote books set in place I’d never actually been. These days with the internet it’s surprisingly easy to do. Of course you can include a lot more detail and description of places you’re more familiar with.
In Breakaway, Jason Heller plays for the fictional NHL team the Chicago Wolves. He takes Remi on a date to Navy Pier. He takes her on the Ferris wheel and builds a stuffed bear for her and they eat at the Billy Goat Tavern. In fact, the book takes place in the spring, at the end of the hockey season when his team is struggling to make the playoffs, which is pretty close to this time of year!
I started to tell this to my husband and he just gave me a weird look and said, “You know they’re not real people, right?”
And I laughed and said, “Of course I know they’re not real people!
Except they are real to me. I didn’t say anything more about it, but I was still thinking about it as we wandered through the little shops and as we had lunch. I guess it added a little to my experience. J
We also went to the John Hancock Observatory, on the 94th floor. What an amazing view from up there! Lake Michigan was beautiful, although the beaches were empty. And that reminded me of Kassidy and Dag and Chris in Rule of Three. Right down there was the beach where Dag and Chris rubbed sunscreen onto Kassidy’s body! Ahem. Yes, I know they’re not real people either.
We took a boat cruise to look at the Chicago skyline and learned a little about the history of Chicago. We had deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno. We went shopping on Michigan Avenue and I drooled over the Jimmy Choo shoes in Nieman Marcus. We went to Millenium Park. And we went to Buddy Guy’s Legends, a blues bar. I found Chicago to be a very clean city with friendly people and beautiful architecture. In fact one of the reasons I think I liked it so much is because it reminds me of home. It turns out that at the turn of the century, the city where I live (Winnipeg) was one of the fastest growing cities in North America, being a central hub for the railroads. Many architects from the Chicago School came to Winnipeg to build buildings (Jase tells Remi about this in Breakaway). Winnipeg has stood in for Chicago in a number of movies, especially movies set in older times, because we have a neighbourhood where all those turn of the century buildings have been preserved. Also, Winnipeg is known as the second windiest city in North America. :-)
I’m so glad I got to be a tourist for a few days in Chicago. Some day I will definitely go back and see more of it! And I’ll probably write at least one more book set there so I have more imaginary friends there.
Anyone else been there? Live there?What do you think of Chicago?