I'm up at 8am. Don’t really need to be, because my flight's not until 2pm. I'm not an early-flying kinda guy. I get some work done and putz around, finally heading to the desk just past 11. Do the master checkout and jump in a cab with Roshad, the tour manager. He was supposed to be on an earlier flight, but R. Kelly kept him out until 7am. Poor guy looks like death warmed over, and he says he's only had an hour or two of sleep.
To the airport and we stop and grab a bite. I have my usual scone and drink from Starbucks. This airport has free wi-fi, so I take care of email and do some websurfing while waiting at the gate.
I'm screwed on this flight. Got a middle seat. Hate that. Do my best to talk everyone in my path into changing either the seat or my flight, but they downsized the plane this morning, meaning it's middle or nothing. And the next flight out is the red-eye. Screw that. Middle seat, here I come. At least one lady was kind enough to get me the exit row middle.
We land in Chicago just past 7:30 and I’m at my hotel by 8:30. They're putting me up at the Sofitel Water Tower in downtown Chicago. Great hotel, even if I'm not a big fan of these foofy-assed hotels. I'm attacked as soon as the cab pulls up and spend more money on tips in the next 5 minutes than I've spent in 3 years. You can't even open a door at this place by yourself. There's 4, yep, 4 doormen at the front. All they do is open doors. That's it. There's more bellmen here than there are hookers in Vegas, too.
I would never pay $355 a night for a hotel room, but if this is where these fools want to put me up, I guess it's OK by me.
A little after 9, I head out to find some dinner. There's a McCormick & Schmick's right 100 feet from the hotel's front door, but I take a walk around the neighborhood to explore my options. Great area, lots of restaurants, bars, and such.
I decide on McCormick & Schmick's. Calamari appetizer, and for dinner I have the Stuffed Salmon. Kudos to the chef, it's cooked perfectly. It's stuffed with Blue Crab and Brie cheese. Awesome!
Back to my room around 11. Watch TV for 30 minutes and go to bed.