Planes, trains and automobiles

It has now been 36 hours since Dr. Fisher and I left the Wesleyan campus in search of Guiyang, China.  After a 13 and a half hour flight to Beijing from Chicago, we easily passed through customs and were delighted to arrive at the truly world class, Langham Place Hotel.  Langham Place Hotel LobbyAlthough we only had 3 hours to shower and sleep, the accommodations were terrific.

I was able to contact my wife and three kids for a brief, but sweet FaceTime (video chat) conversation.  It was fun telling my kids that I was literally on the other side of the world.

This morning several students took the opportunity to get to know some of our fellow delegates from Fort Worth whilst enjoying very tasty Danish treats provided by the Hotel.  Grabbing breakfast at the hotel the first morningThen we dashed to our bus to the airport for the third flight on our journey.  After spending an hour on the tarmac we departed about 2 hours late.  Hopefully this wont mess up our schedule to bad.  At this point we’re just about finished with the traveling required and all look very much forward to getting to know the people and places of Guiyang.   Wiley meets a feelow delegate.We are all very excited about our upcoming reception lunch, rehearsal at the Guiyang Grand Theatre and the much anticipated Banquet in our honor tonight thrown by the government of Guiyang.

Beijing Hotel 007 FuseBeijing Hotel 010Boarding the plane for Guiyang

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My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)

We drove long hours to arrive in Chicago a day early.  Today a select few of us grouped together in the lobby of our Joliet hotel fora adventure ride into downtown Chicago.  Today turned outto be the ticker-tape parade celebrating the White Sox victory in the world series.  We were the only ones on the train to downtown not sporting a Sox jersey or ball cap.Upon arriving at LaSalle Station we walked within blocks of the ticker-tape parade.  Close enough to see it, but not IN it.  Its pretty much like the old World War II films.  An endless rain of confetti from high in the sky.  This is an amazing sight to behold.

We met up with a friend of Alicia’s who took us to a great Chicago Deep dish pizza joint called Pizano’s.  We split a large Mike’s special deep dish and a Caesar salad.

Alicia’s friend informed us that Wicked had just started playing at the Ford Center’s Oriental theatre.  It was all sold out in NY, and the tour had already come and gone in DFW so this was probably my only shot at seeing it.  We tried to get tickets and alas they were sold out.

We all walked over to this great big reflective jelly bean called the Cloud Gate.  Next door to that was the Pritzker Pavilion.  After taking lots of pictures we went to the Art Institute where I got to see the original Degas sculpture entitled “Little Dancer aged fourteen”  Mary gave her mom a porcelain replica of this statuette that she bought at Lincoln center. 

We were only there for about an hour and the place closed up.  Men were drumming on buckets outside.  We met up with Lydia’s brother and former boyfriend. They took us across the river to shop.

After shopping we walked to a seafood restaurant for dinner with live music.  We enjoyed the food in the corner booth.

We had been unable to secure tickets to Wicked, but we happened to be walking past the theatre at intermission.  We tried to “second act’ the production, but they’re on to that.  I bought Mary an embroidered t-shirt and we rode the train home.

It had been a cold night, butt we had a lot of fun and I can’t resist saying, “It’s my kind of town, Chicago is.”