8.15.2010

Chicago Air and Water Show



I really could no longer pass up the famous Chicago Air and Water Show.

Last year we got there too late because the significant other felt we should leave in the late afternoon, plus take the train and the water taxi...which although super fun, got us...there late. I am not seeing that experience as a learning opportunity... I'm pretty much convinced that he sabotages things like these because he sees no value in them and wants to avoid them. Alas, no such luck this year >:oD

A few years ago we accidentally happened on the show when we were taking some family through the architectural boat tour and I thought, gee this could be fun! But hadn't really had a chance to plan the trip downtown to really capture the experience of the air show until I applied a little brain and brawn to planning.

So we woke up early on Saturday and rushed downtown right after the significant-other unit's weekly half-hour guitar lesson. Me driving meant no one to blame for a late arrival to this year's show...no one but the traffic. Once arrived, we thought we were going to be able to see the show from the Tribune Building's terrace, but alas, the North Avenue beach and Oak Street beach, the points delineating the run of the show, were way to the left and lots of buildings inbetween meant nay luck.


We took up and headed for Navy Pier. We stood by the (shady) North side of the pier just off the taxi area and got a much better view, yet it was WAY far out there still. Not to mention we were in the middle of a pedestrian walkway. So we just gave in and took a cab out to Oak Street Beach, which provided the optimum viewing experience.

Now mind you, it was way crowded, sandy, and at 90F plus heat index it hardly was comfortable. We did find a modicum of shade which we optimized to its full extent. We also took advantage of the shady, tree-lined portion right next to Lakeshore drive for a quick bite of lunch...alas I lost the rest of the family when I went back to not miss the action in the skies.


Notwithstanding the uncomfortable heat (and resulting sunburn!) and standing for hours and hours or else sit in the shade away from the action or on the sandy cement, the show was really worth it. I'm a dedicated nutter, I know.

Those folks who took advantage of the VIP seating at the Oak Street Beachstro had the benefit of an ongoing WBBM commentary, comfy seats, shade, and ceiling fans. Alas the price ($65 per person) far exceeded the benefit in my eyes.

As the Blue Angels were closing up their show, we began walking back at the continued urging of the significant other unit. We walked back on Michigan Avenue to the Hancock Tower where we took a quick stop at the Best Buy store to check on an appliance my niece needed. Alas, that store is an abbreviated form of the real Best Buy so they didn't carry what we were looking for.

The walk from there to the Tribune Building was agonizing, but slowly but surely we managed. Probably a walk a downtown dweller makes with their eyes closed, yet lack of daily practice makes mine sinew squeak.

When we got home about an hour and a half later I was, what the British call, knackered: completely exhausted and broken. And yet in the lucidity that comes with these surreal exhausted moments, I realized the last time I saw an air show was exactly ten years ago plus a month or two.

During the Blue Angels show after 4:30,  before we decided to walk back to the car, I heard someone near me ask one of the young kids walking around selling programs in fatigues (hot weather and fatigues? ouch!) when the stealth would make an appearance. The answer was Sunday (doh!). I wish I could have gone back on Sunday, but oh my aching sinews...

This is definitely one of those experiences meant to be shared with like-minded and like-passionate folks...my niece probably was as uncomfortable as I, yet she was pleased to have witnessed the show. She and I both bought our own set of programs. The programs came with a special insert on the Blue Angels, a program delineating all planes showcased and their backgrounds, and an awesome wall calendar.

All throughout our trapseizing in the shade or sitting on the cement, the significant other preferred to hide behind the restaurant, in a shady area and take a nap...a four hour nap that included calling me periodically to announce that he was napping...oy vey.

I really really liked the air show and hope to make this a recurring experience.