Thursday, September 07, 2006

Accidental Tourist

Yesterday my husband and I took a one-hour architectural boat tour on the Chicago River. Our “guide” was extraordinary in terms of enthusiasm, knowledge and his ability to dispense so many specifics while we could still detect each building in his repertoire. He made everything clear and interesting.

I was surprised by the number of new structures along the river since my last visit and in awe of the artistic and brainiac talent that, decade after decade, steps forward. To build a towering building with meaning, purpose and style, now that is something.

I haven’t taken that tour for probably thirty years, perhaps more. After all, I live in the Chicago suburbs so why would I act like a tourist in my own back yard? Well, the notion floated in on a whim. (So poetic!) It happened like this.

I attended a business luncheon in Chicago; my retired husband served as my handsome “limo” driver (his vehicle looking suspiciously like a Buick LeSabre); it was a beautiful day; when he picked me up after my meeting I said, “Let’s DO something while we’re down here!” So off to Navy Pier he drove us since we were in that vicinity anyway.

We lucked into a great parking spot for which we paid $19 for two hours, but still, it was a GREAT parking spot! We eyeballed one of the kiosks selling boat tickets, and just like that we bought two. The tour started in fifteen minutes, so by the time we got to the boat and settled in, we were on our way. ‘Twas nothing short of serendipitous and perfect timing.

Afterwards we dined on fabulous shrimp at Bubba Gump’s while sitting outdoors watching passersby, one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Since I spend so much time in airport terminals, I guess I’m just lucky that way. We chatted, we laughed, we played Forrest Gump trivia with our waiter. We drove home talking about what a good time we had, wondering why we didn’t “do” Chicago more often.

You know, the odd part is that I simply did not have time to dink around for an afternoon, and yet I did. I am refreshed, refueled and ready to travel on. For that spontaneous touristy afternoon I stayed in my own “back yard,” I am thankful. I highly recommend you do the same.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Isn't is funny how we can always find time to do something even when we thought we had no time to do anything? It's a mystery to me, but when serendipity blesses us with a chance for replenishing our souls we simply must find time to for it. No regrets. Only precious memories.