Since there are no classes this week since it is Thanksgiving, I decided to go up to Chicago to see some sights there.
I got to the Illinois bus terminal on Monday morning and bought a ticket for the 11:00 Greyhound bus up to Chicago. Unfortunately there wasn't enough space on the bus for all of us so they had to bump me to the 12:00 bus. I knew planes could be overbooked but I had never heard of a bus being overbooked. Anyway on the way up there the bus broke down. Fortunately there was another Greyhound bus there to rescue us. By the time I had gotten up there and checked into the hotel it was already 4:00, and most of the attractions were closed. Instead I took the subway over to downtown here I could have dinner at the ESPN Zone and explore the rest of downtown where there's lots of shopping. I got a new winter coat (my old one was really worn out) and got a cool looking miniature RC helicopter from Brookstone. Also in Chicago there was a whole store that sold nothing but Legos. Here is a picture of the display outside:
All those things are made out of Legos. On Tuesday I went to the Museum of Science and Industry. There were some cool things there - in one of the activities we got the chance to use a "Human Patient Simulator" medical training dummy of the same kind as those actually used in medical schools. The way it worked was they showed us how to check for different vital signs (pulse, heart rate, breathing etc.) and then we were assigned to go up there, check the vital signs, and diagnoes the patient by matching the results to the results on a diagnosis chart we were given. Also while I was there I ran into Courtney Fontaine, one of the people that I took the comedy class from back at ComedySportz in DC. She now works at the science museum, and is also in another comedy group (not ComedySportz, although there is a ComedySportz in Chicago). She was having a performance that night and I went to see it. There were several comedy groups performing that night, and there were lots of funny parts. Courtney's group got the suggestion "gift-wrapping", and I thought it would be a boring suggestion but they went off on lots of funny tangents with it. The last group I gave the suggestion "Dungeons and Dragons" to, and I was actually quite impressed with their knowledge of D+D themes - they incorporated lots of classic D+D elements including traps, castles, wizards, and even "elemental powers" into their routine. The climax of the scene was funny - someone was talking about going to the "center" of a castle to find treasure, but someone else misheard it as "senator", and the scene then segued into a senator on a talk show whose shtick was "gratuitous profanity" - but since this is a family friendly blog I won't go into it any further.
Then on Wednesday, I first went to the Travisa office to drop off the materials for my trip to India, then went back to get my stuff from the hotel. There wasn't really enough time to go to another attraction so I just went to the train station (I figured I might have better luck on the train rather than the bus) and got there about an hour and a half before the train was scheduled to leave. It was a good thing I got there early because I got the last available ticket to Urbana-Champaign. The train left on time and only got back to Urbana-Champaign about 20 minutes after the scheduled time.