For Neha Sharma of Yamla Pagla Deewana fame, vacations are a time for shopping, eating and exploring. She managed that and a whole lot more when she travelled to Chicago for some quality sibling time.
My older sister and younger brother study in Chicago, so my younger sister and I booked our tickets for a visit. Soon enough, we were off for some brother-sister bonding. Our siblings there have a flat, so it was very convenient and fun staying with them. Chicago may not be the most popular place to go on vacation, but even the most boring place is fun when I’m with them!
The plan for this month-long holiday was to explore some places beyond the Windy City, like Las Vegas. But it turned out there was just so much to explore in Chicago itself that we had no time to venture out elsewhere! We wanted to do and see everything Chicago has to offer, so Las Vegas would have to wait. We spent our days sitting on the beach, sunbathing and doing absolutely nothing. In the evenings, we ventured out to the many restaurants that offer great music. My vacations are holidays in the truest sense; I avoid all work.
Over the course of the month, we saw all the popular sightseeing spots, including Buckingham Fountain and the Shedd Aquarium. I enjoyed examining Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, Cloud Gate; its different sizes and shapes are fascinating. One of the most memorable experiences was the Six Flags adventure park, which had some very scary rides.
I found the people of Chicago very friendly and helpful – quite a refreshing change! Every once in a while,
I would run into Indians who recognised me – always a nice thing. I’m a big foodie, so I tried to go to every restaurant I could. We tried something new every day, including an array of cuisines from Italian to Japanese. Though I’m not a huge fan of Chinese, one of my sisters is. A few Chinese friends from her college took us out to try authentic fare in Chinatown, and we felt like we were actually in the Far East! Of course, I had to try Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza. We sampled the wares of two restaurants – Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s. You absolutely must try this stuff! Some of the other restaurants I recommend are Girl & The Goat, Spiaggia, and Chipotle. Having heard a lot about bubble tea, I was keen on trying that, too. Though I followed my diet as much as I could, I cheated a bit during this trip and had some really fattening food, including a huge, delicious waffle!
There’s plenty to do in a place like Chicago. We took salsa lessons for free at a club hosting a salsa night. I love the dance, and here I got the chance to enjoy it. In Mumbai, I don’t get to relax or have a late night too often, due to work. When I travel, I try to set aside as much time to do just that. But I did plenty of shopping as well. I think the US is a great place to shop; you can find great things at reasonable prices. Street shopping is fun, especially for shopping buffs like me! Jewellery hunting is especially exciting and, if you have a good eye, you can find some really interesting stuff.
I wanted to buy loads of clothes, and I succeeded! My sister bought me a special Louis Vuitton
bag – one of the most precious things I came back with. Wabash Street, famous for its jewellery shopping, had a few stores running sales, where I managed to get some great deals. We didn’t forget the most important thing, though – chocolates! We bought a big bag.
We didn’t get to watch anything at the Chicago Theatre, so I really feel like I missed out on something. That’s definitely on my list for the next time I visit; I can’t wait to see a play there! Despite it being a long holiday, I didn’t have enough time to see everything I wanted to. I also missed out on the Magnificent Miles Lights, a light and fireworks show over the mystical blue air and water. I plan to go back as soon as I can!
Sometimes, the simplest things in life are the ones worth cherishing. My fondest memories of this trip are a beautiful walk by the beach, a good run in the morning, catching the sun, and spending time with family.