The late 80’s, the 90’s and early 2000’s- Come rain or shine, family vacations were a sacred ritual. Our parents imbibed in us a love for travel- a love for exploring new places (I added the food bit- they don’t care about food)! Result- we’ve managed to travel the length and breath of our home country, and other countries too- whenever time and money permitted. As we grew up, I was more interested in other stuff and less interested in spending time with the folks- Biggest mistake ever. Now I cherish each minute spent with them. Living in a different continent more than a 10 hour flight away, it’s not easy to see them often.

And thus we wait for that time of the year when the immediate family was all together! Our parents come visit us once a year since dear brother and I both refuse to go back home for extended periods of time- he because of work, and me- oh well I hate the 16 hour journey cramped in a tin can, only to have to make that journey yet again on my return.

Soon it’s October 2015- My brother, husband  and I can’t leave the country- we are thus stuck with only mainland US. Mum refuses to fly more than a few hours- within good reason- she’s just flown 16 hours to get here and another long flight is way more than she can handle. Dad on the other hand is chill and willing to travel anywhere! After having brainstormed for months trying to figure out the perfect destination- we zeroed in on Chicago. None of us have been there and it’s a short flight away… I look up a million sites, talk to a few friends, use TripAdvisor like it’s Google and finally decide to live downtown, a few blocks from the Mag Mile and also collect some more HHonors points.

Off we go! The afternoon sun glinting on the ground below!
Off we go! The afternoon sun glinting on the ground below!

The day we have to leave finally dawns- it’s mid week and we know it’s going to be a crowded weekend due to the Chicago Marathon- but we plan to take our chances and off we go!

Touchdown Chicago: It’s afternoon, we collect our bags, take a cab and go to our hotel. Chicago seems to stun us- blue waters, landscaped gardens and parks and tall buildings.

Surprise Surprise
Surprise Surprise
The view from our hotel elevator
The view from our hotel elevator

Whoa- are we a few hundred miles away in Chicago or eleven thousand miles away in Dubai?