VISA application and ticket, hotel booking
ThoughtWorks handled VISA application. TW is the the member of chamber of American commerce. So it is pretty easy to get the
business VISA. However interview is compulsory. It took 120 minutes for me to get to the font of the queue and only 15 seconds to get the VISA. Really crap. Next thing, ticket, UA return tickets. Hotel, Club Quarter. There are two Club Quarter in Chicago. One is in Center Loop and the other is in Wacker Street.So, UA850, arrived local time 16:16. The texi driver who was booked by TW US did not show up. My colleague and I managed to get a texi to the hotel in Adams Street. A Korean driver, male age around 55. The reason that we found out his nationality is that he answered his cell with “Yaobusaiao”. 40 minutes later, after big traffic jam, we
arrived at our destination, about 40 bulks bill and at least 10 percent tip. The guy even asked for tip. I gave him 5 bulks. I thought that the tip was included in the bill. I did not know that American people add tax too the original bills.
OK. Day 1.
Tried to access TW office in Randolf RD. Failed. The security is bloody tough. If you are not in the list, no entry!So the only choice for us is to walk around the downtown and have some fun. Fortunately, there was a Blue Jazz concert in the Millennium Park in front of our office. Great stuff! Dinner, subway, meatball sandwich. Reminded me my British memory.
Before you go, you need prepare following things:
Valid U.S.A Visa, passport, ID card.
A mobile phone which can call internationally.
All your contact in Beijing and Chicago, including your driver’s number, emergency contact.
Learn how to pronounce the name of your company and hotel in English. well Chicago English.
Ensure that you name is in the list of visitors of your company at your arrival date.
Bring some snacks for your colleagues.
Moved to CQ hotel in Wacker street. 38th Floor which is the top of the tower building. Very beautiful view. I will stay in this room
for the next two weeks. Very exciting! Meet my workmates in this TWI. Got badge for the building. Bought a big map of Chicago by the help of Christina (Thanks a lot!) and had Guinness in elephant & Castle which is a
very nice pub with my colleague in Chicago office. People here are really nice. Then had one bulk hotdog in 7-11 for dinner. When we had dinner it was already 11PM. No other stores or restaurants still opened at that moment.
Most of the restaurants and store closed before 10pm and open after 10am.
Saturday, great, cool and nice. We went to Chicago culture center not on purpose. But it changed everything.Why? It is the information center of Chicago tourism. First, we found out that there was a train tour sponsored by Chicago Architecture Association. It is FREE and brilliant. Basiclly we took this metro and traveled around downtown three rounds of loop line. The presentation lasted about 20 minutes. Pointer was available and very helpful. Second, we met this lady (black) in the information center. She recommended us to by a ticket called CityPass for
5 attractions including 4 museums. Also, we knew where the gallery district was and how to take FREE trolley to the museums. The map was free too. So we were so stupid to buy an expensive map.Yeh, after the train tour, we had the famous Chicago Jumbo hotdog for breakfast. I had never had this special dog before. I got to do it again. Actually I did in the next day. Next stop Navy pier. Boat, boat, and boats, Chicagomen are rich, there are so many boats in Lake Michigan. From the beach I cal see the who Chicago, tower, tower and towers magnificent! Then we took a water texi from Navy pier to Sears tower which was the tallest in the states.
From, Sears tower to gallery district was a long way. But it was worth the distance. The gallery was great. different arts along the
two sides of the street. quite a few Chinese artist.Everyone can show ans sale his art there. From art gallery to water tower. you will
see that those equipments were made about 200 years ago and still support the water supply of people in downtown. when we came back we did not have any energy. Suddenly, I found out that I did not have an adapter for my English mobile phone charger. OK, 10 bulks was out. Bloody expensive! The store is called Radiostack, down the Michigan Ave.
Always go to information center before you do anything else or make travel plans. It is very helpful. Sometimes there might be surprises for you.
Buy a CityPass, save more than 40 dolors.
Buy an universal adapter in China.
Don’t buy a map, you can get a free one in Information center.
Museum day!!!! We had jumbo hotdog, Chicago style and grill for breakfast. Free trolley to the museum campus. We visited two, Adler Planetarium Astronomy Museum and Shedd Aquarium. No time for the third one. Plan had to be changed. Next weekend will be very tough. Had Chicago style Italian Pizza which was called Stuffed Pizza. So tasty. House salad, coke and root-bear as beverage, small Pizza and garlic bread as main course, cheese cake and ice-cream as dessert. The cheese cake so creamy, best ever! Well the pizza is special, I can not tell, but before you try it you would not be able to imagine.
Those museums are worth going and the Pizza is great!
Immersion for the whole day. Talked about TW history, interestin stuff. Went to the most famous steak in Chicago, called Chicago Chop house. Very big steak and tasty. I was not able to finish it. The steak comes with side salard, french toast and potato pancake. We walked to the Hancock tower but it was so cloudy and we gave up going to the top of the building. Experience iPhones in Apple store. It is so brilliant and great HCI design!
Don’t eat too much toast, otherwise you won’t be able to finish the whole steak.
Don’t go to Sears Tower or Hancock when it is raining or about to rain.
Immersion the whole day, talked about marketing and business. Ling came to see me from NYC. We had the stuffed pizza again with sausage and pineapple ingredients. Tasted better than last time. Also walked through the parks along the coast of Michigan Lake.
Immersion the whole day, talked about business and contract. Had Jumble dog again. walked to Water tower and found that there was a so called “beach” north to the Navy Pier. The sand is soft. From the beach, observing the beautiful night view of Chicago is really enjoyable and fun. There are a couple of stars in the sky tonight, oh wait, planes.
If you see a star which is moving, it is probably a plane or helicopter.
Ling headed back to NYC and immersion the whole day of risk management and project inception.
Some comments which are very useful.
You should stop by the Park Grill at Millenium Park and have a Kobe burger — one of the best cheeseburgers in town. Stop by The Back Door on Rush Street later at night and you will hear some fine jazz.
Yep, we had Kobe burger for dinner. It is said that it was the best cheeseburger in Chicago, I would say that it might be. It is certainly not as good as the one I had in Grandma ‘s kitchen back to Beijing.
Something is great for 99% of people might not for me.
Friday, weekend, immersion all day with business process modeling and individual coaching. Got off a bit earlier, we tried to make the way to the Field museum. Unfortunately, we were 10 minutes late. 4:10PM. The last administration was 4:00pm. So, we changed the plan to Chicago Art Institue which turned out to be great! Claude Monet, Perre Auguste Renoir, and Gustave Caillebotte’s painting are absolutely gorgeous! Also, those gates, windows and sculptures stands out as the treasure of Chicago. We bought some cards of paintings as souvenirs. Next stop, Hancock tower, 94 floors. The elevator rised up as speed 20 miles/hour, unbelievable! Even more unbelievable, you can see the view of Chicago and other four states from the top of the building. I mean each side, north, east, south and easy. We went there around evening, so that we saw Chicago from 94th floor in daylight and evening.
Go the Hancock around evening, so that you will see Chicago in daylight and evening.
There is no cell phone signal on the top of Hancock. So if your sweetheart would call you around that time, explain to her before you go or bring her with you.
There is a cheescake factory under the Hancock building. There were always millions of people waiting. So be prepared before you go. Bring a book or your ipod.
On the way to Hancock building, there is Apple store, try the latest the iPhone will be fun.
It is a beautiful day. Stop one, Science and Industry museum. One interesting thing is that we actually felt the Boeing 727 and almost every details of the aircraft. Also the military naval vessel is pretty cool. However the most impressive thing is that we watched the video of moving the aircraft and vessel into the museum. One of the most difficult thing to do!
Around noon my best friend and his gf came to see me after 6 hours drive from Ames. So happy . We went to that River and Lake Cruise. It was $20 each and lasted about 90 minutes. The boat went down to the entry of the lake. There was a lock which is performing some role of transferring the boats between Chicago river and Michigan lake. After viewing the whole Chicago from the lake we headed back the Chicago river. A good presentation was made by Jason who came from the Navy. It was actually his first time to do it but he did so well. He talked about all the history, architectures and interesting stories of Chicago. Thank u Jason!
Saturday night, China Town, yeh! Fan(my best friend) finally got his Bai Jiu(a Chinese alcohol without colour). We went to the Si Chuan restaurant which is called Lao Si Chuan. It looks very nice but there was no table available. So we changed our mind and had the Cantonese food right besides the Si Chuan restaurant. It turned out to be very good. Best meal we had in these two weeks. Even not I am still missing that place. recommended!
There are different cruise in Chicago, most of them starts from Navy pier. But the one under Michigan Ave is the best, 20 bulks including the tour of both lake and river.
If you really want to have good Chinese food, go to the two restaurants that I mentioned above.
Premium Outlet for the whole morning, big financial damage. Nike, Wilson, Swarovski, Tommy and etc… so many choices. Later after spending most of my pocket money, we went to the Field museum which is OK but not interesting to me.
Only bring cash with you (NO credit cards or debit cards) when you go to an Outlet, so you can control the budget easily.
Most of the cool shoes do not have size in 8 in Nike store. What a pity!
There are some under-value staffs in Wilson.
Don’t trust GPS, trust map and Liang Qiao!
To be continued…..