Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kayaking Part 1: Our group

Ok, I've wanted to go kayaking for sooo long and I finally had the chance!!! We started out on the gravel for our brief lesson but don't worry we didn't stay there for long! It was an evening trip so we started around 8:30 and got back just before midnight. Halfway through we had a fun treat . . . but you'll have to read about that in part 2!

This is my housemate Jeannie in the front and another friend Rocio in the back. They tried the double kayak - but not me, I did all by myself and it was so great!

Here's Jen. We were waiting for all the members of the group to catch up. Most of the time the kayak's weren't so close together, but it wasn't unusual to be running into other kayaks. Thankfully I never tipped over!!! I was a bit concerned about that, mostly because the Chicago river wasn't know for it's cleanliness =) But I still got quite wet from water dripping off the oars - not sure if that meant I was paddleing wrong or not?

And Alicia.

Phil, Dan and Tara were also part of our group but I didn't get any photos of them. What a fun group. Yeah for Jen and Alicia going on this adventure, I never would have known about it without them!!!

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Kayaking Part 2: On the water

So, here is where we started on the Chicago River - nice an peaceful, not too many other boats out on the water - but we still tried to follow the rules of the water and stay to the right!!!

Then we get into downtown - it was amazing to be kayaking through downtown, the best view i've ever had!!! I wanted to take so many photos, but it was hard to get the camera out of the plastic bag, keep my oar from falling into the water, keep my camera dry, keep my boat from drifting, get the right setting on the camera, stay still enough to not tip the kayak and then get the camera back in the plastic bag.

So, once we got close to Navy Pier the water traffic picked up and we were in a traffic jam with boats that were much bigger than our little kayaks!!! Our rule of staying to the right didn't help us when the other boat was trying to dock on the right where we were sitting! But we made it through and reached our destination - here near Navy Pier!

And we made it just in time for fireworks!!! Our group connected kayaks and enjoyed sitting on the river watching the fireworks! Definately an unforgettable kayak trip - probably my favorite Chicago memory!!!
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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th!!!

Celebrating the 4th in Chicago can be so much fun!!! Well, technically this was the 3rd - but close enough and the meaning is the same =) I was able to go downtown to meet up with some friends and watch the fireworks from the lakefront. What a view and what a great fireworks show! But wow, the crowds of people are unbelievable! Here is the view in the daylight from our spot on the lawn - Navy Pier is there but hard to see in this photo.

This is my friend Regina - we're just chillin' and waiting for fireworks to start.

Here is the rest of the gang - Maria, Regina, Angela, Renee and Lawrence was there but wasn't around when I took the photo.

While we were waiting there were a few surprises. One was these globes that are all along the sidewalk that encourage environmentally friendly habits - very educational! Then, we were attacked by bugs. They weren't mosquitoes, but very annoying - people were doing anything possible to keep them away - jumping jacks, running, screaming, fire, hiding under blankets, waving things in the air, and still the bugs covered the blanket that we were sitting on, covered us, felt like they were in your mouth if you talked . . . very unwelcome guests to our celebration!!! The photo below was taken during this bug attack - and as a bonus there is a globe and the Sears Tower in the background. Nevertheless we survived and they lessened slightly just before the fireworks show started, so that we could at least enjoy that!
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Happy 4th Cont.

For some reason I couldn't get all the photos into one blog . . . so here is the best part, the fireworks!!! They were beautiful and choreographed with the Grant Park Orchestra playing in Grant Park. From where we were we could just hear the music over the speakers, but it was beautiful!!!

Here is a downtown before we met the sea of pedestrians trying to get home after the show . . .

This is just a glimpse of the millions of people rushing for the "El" trains. Every street was packed with people - you can see them in beteen the 2 rows of lights, it's unbelievable to be in a crowd that large and see so many people in one place.

On the actual 4th I was able to spend time with a friend and her family and friends at a cookout and swimming in the pool. As we were driving back to my apartment on the express way, there were fireworks going off in every direction all around the city - that was actually quite spectacular as well. Then we continued to see great fireworks from our back deck as people set them off all around the neighborhood and nearby parks, we had such a great view!!! Amidst all the celebrating it's easy to forget the reason for it - how thankful I am for my country and the many sacrifices that have been made for our this country's Independence!
Happy Independence Day!!!
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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Dumpster Diving and New Housemates

Ok, so dumpster diving in Chicago can pay off from time to time, but how often do you really find something that you need and something in good condition in a dumpster???
Well, this couch was in an alley near our apartment, somebody was throwing it away - and there is NOTHING wrong with it. And better yet, we needed a couch! The catch was getting it down the street, through the entrance way and up the flight of stairs into the apartment. I'm sure we could have won something on Funniest Home Videos because it was sure quite a site to see my roommate Becca and I trying to manage this . . . but all in all, it was worth it!!!

Here are my new housemates - Becca and Jeannie. They are great - we were out celebrating Jeannie's B-day

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