Friday, July 13, 2007

Day 45

Don't Any Of These People Have Jobs?

Well, I was right. My head hurt this morning. A lot. We struggled out of bed, packed are gear and left for the city. In a bitter twist of fate, the Cubs were playing at 1:20 today. They couldn't even give us a break by playing a night game.

We were both starving, so we stopped for sub on the way into town. Despite my hunger, I was full after two bites. It was going to be a looong day.

We drove into Chicago and got off on Addison Street. In an excellent maneuver, we found parking on a street a few blocks from the stadium and didn't have to pay.

By the time we got to Wrigley, the game had already started.

The only tickets left were standing room and after talking to a few scalpers we decided that they were our best bet. The view was a bit dodgy but the atmosphere was great. The stadium is - - years old and there was such a buzz in the place. All I could think about though is the fact that the stadium holds about 34,000(ish) people and none of them were in work. Don't the people in Chicago have jobs? We watched the game (what we could see), had a bite to eat and started feeling a lot better. The Cubs won 6-0 against a Houston team that looked terrible. They made several errors and couldn't catch a ball to save their lives.

As we were leaving the stadium, we had a look around the Cubs shop and both bought caps. I opted for the 'road' cap, while Paulo went for the classic choice and the cap that the team are currently using. Outside, there was a huge crowd in the street drinking and celebrating. The bars across the street were jammers and it looked like everyone was settling in for the night. One of the bars has a name that I can really relate to.

I spotted an old guy playing the saxophone to a little girl across from the stadium. He was playing '(They Long To Be) Close To You' by the Carpenters. He missed a few notes but it didn't matter, it was very sweet and made me smile.

On the way back down Addison, we stopped in D'Agostino's for a slice of pizza (because it would be rude not to).

Since it was still early, we decided to check out a jazz bar called Green Mill. It's a very old place and apparently used to be one of Al Capone's favourite watering holes. I had read in a paper that a guy called Chris was playing from 5-8 on the Hammond organ. Definitely worth checking out!

The place was seriously old school. Some things around the bar looked like they hadn't been replaced since the place opened, while other things were strewn around from the 60s and 70s. It was quality! Before I continue, I should give you a bit of background as to who was in the bar.

There was:

Laura - the barmaid, who didn't have much patience for anything or anyone. She also chain smoked and had a comment for just about everything.

An assortment of 20 and 30 something barflys at the end of the bar. They were all mates and it seemed like they drank there a lot. I mean they went there a lot and drank a lot.

Bob - the 'old' guy who everyone in the bar talked to. The funny thing was that he didn't say a word the entire time. But he apparently is a legend in those parts.

Rico - some guy who showed up late, looked a bit like Keith Richards in the 70s and knew everyone in the place.

Now, that you know who was there, here are some of the lines we heard.

Phone rings behind the bar, Laura says, "I'll get it." (There was no one else working.) She picks up and says "Green Mill", listens for a few seconds and then hangs up. She apparently couldn't hear what they were saying and didn't feel like talking to them anyway.

Bob walks in and the whole bar yells "Bob!" like when Norm walked in to Cheers. He just shook his head and sat down at the bar. He then produced a paper Coke cup that was full of chili that he had bought across the street. He ordered a Miller Lite and got stuck in to both.

Two drunk buddies walked in who were arguing with each other. They sat down at the bar and Laura says, "I'm not serving you. You're both already fucked up. If I was the one who got you fucked up then I would serve you. But I didn't. So I'm not." The two guys looked at her in disbelief. Several expletives followed and when the guys left one of them called her a dyke. Needless to say, she had a few choice words that had the entire bar in stitches.

A conversation started about birthdays and someone asked Bob when his birthday was. He just shook his head and said nothing. Rico, who was sitting next to him, said, "Bob doesn't have any more birthdays. He used them all up!"

All of this took place in the space of about 45 minutes. There was such a great buzz in there.

After starting off with a Diet Coke and Sprite, we switched to Pabst Blue Ribbon - the local beer. It was surprisingly good and only cost $2.50. I am telling you this may be the best bar ever!

The entire time Chris was playing on the organ and he was fantastic. He was also blind. But he was working two pedals with his feet and playing two different keyboards with his hands. He played requests the entire time and after Paulo had a quick word, he played 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling', which Paulo didn't ask for. And then some Booker T, which he did ask for.

We might have stayed longer but at 8:00 a big, burly guy came up and told us that we had to pay a $10.00 cover if we were going to stay. But we were both Hank so we decided to move on.

We had a look at some other places on the street and ended up driving into Chinatown. We settled on a spot that was dead. Nobody in there. But the food was OK.

We then made our way to the next hotel, a Red Roof Inn, a bit further out of town. We chilled out for a bit (without wifi as it wasn't included) and fell asleep pretty quickly.

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