Chicago, Crystal Castles, and The Outer Banks.

Chicago, Crystal Castles, and The Outer Banks.

A friend of mine has parents who own a couple of houses in Frisco, NC.
She invited me to stay there for a week, WHICH SOUNDED JUST FINE.
I caught a flight from Chicago…..

Where, a couple of weeks before I had spent a four day weekend being very cosmopolitan.
Chicago scene.
A tourist in a familiar city.
You should try it with your own! Explore!
It’s kind of the best, and you don’t really realize how much your surroundings have to offer once you get comfortable in them.

We went to the ballet. (this one)
We saw a musical.
Anything Goes.
Which was probably the best musical I’ve seen ever. Cute and hilarious, even if I couldn’t see their faces.

We hit up every museum we could muster..
The Shedd Aquarium.
Where they had a jelly fish exhibit on display… (!!!)
Jellyfish are up there with seahorses for me. So that was brilliant.
Also, there was a pool of beluga whales that you could practically reach out and touch. (eeeee!!!)
I stayed there for a long time.
I realized during this trip how many people walk around filming nearly everything they do.
They are seeing amazing things at these museums, but through their phones and cameras.
It made me only take that one picture of the jellyfish.

The Museum Of Science And Industry.
Where we got to watch baby chicks hatch from their shells.
I saw the Animals Inside Out Exhibit, where I learned how they take the water out of animal cells, and replace it with plastic..

The Art Institute.
Where I have been many times over, but bought a book this time about my favorite exhibit.
The Thorne Minature Rooms, of course.

We took an architectural boat tour.
It was beautiful, and sunny, and perfect, and we sat at the front.
Best house.
I decided my favorite thing about bridges are the little buildings built into them.
Bridge Tower?


We went 103 stories up to the top of the Sears Tower.
Which is now called the Willis Tower, but I think that’s stupid.
But I guess I’m not in charge.
It’s a very strange feeling up there.. Especially with the realization that if the shit goes down, you are going down with it.
The 4 available elevators aren’t exactly going to fit the masses with cameras.
I went out onto the Skydeck, which is basically a box of glass you stand on, and can see the city below.
I could only get my shoes on it, heels touching the carpet, and couldn’t nut up and walk to the edge(only about 5 feet).
My friend tried to gently give me a push, and I nearly took her arm off.
Guess you never really get over that fear of heights thing.
Not to mention, as we were waiting in line, I watched in horror as a man did a hand stand against the glass.
I shrieked. Honest.

Our hotel was boss, and housed the restaurant, Mercat.
Where I tried suckling pig.
Mercat Pig.

When I got back, I went to see Crystal Castles at Turner hall with Cute Sue and The Hipsters. (the last two are my friends, not a band. but its what i call them)
(the hipster part not so much to their face.. i’m under the impression that they aren’t aware.)
The show was intense.
It reminded me very much of a specific time in my life where I flirted with being a goth, and maybe did a bit of secret cutting.
Sometimes I had to look at the floor to prevent a seizure.

Everyone around me was definitely on ecstasy, and one smelly guy stumbled into us, swayed, then gagged a few times.
The surrounding concert goers jumped away from him, and left a 6ft space all around until he careened off into the crowd.

The show was pretty much an excellent cap on me being all highfalutin’ in Chicago.
(I did miss Purity Ring in Chi…… it makes me a little sad.)(I CAN’T BE AT EVERY SHOW)


And what’s North Carolina without taking your shirt off with Petey Pablo?

Though.. That’s some serious NC business, and we were on the straight up white people tourist end.
Where movies like Nights In Rodanthe, and Message in a Bottle were filmed.
I don’t think Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, nor Richard Gere know a thing about P. Pabs.

I flew into Boston first, where we spent some time getting ready for the drive down.
One stop was the library, where I asked the librarian what I should read.
(p.s. ALWAYS ask the librarian.)
She suggested Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See.. (i’m pretty sure it’s because my friend Kate told her we were vacationing together) (that’s okay, it was right up my alley.)
It made me think about how judgmental I can be. But it’s also about Chinese foot-binding culture, and who isn’t fascinated by stuff like that?
She also suggested The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls.. Well-written, but after reading things like Girlchild and others, I felt like I had read it before.

Not suggested was the book I bought in the airport.. The Dog Stars.
A post-apocalyptic tale not unlike The Road. I always love a book about the end of days.

I also read my own Vampire Pornography. (it’s an addiction.)

We drove down.. Through New York, and Connecticut, and Virginia.
We went right through The Bronx. Which was at the same time like I thought it would be, and not at all.
Ice Water Hot Dog.

When we arrived at The Outer Banks, we ate dinner at a seafood(duh) restaurant on the Sound Side of the island during sunset.
Our waitress informed us that they had some specials that were “nice.” Then re-adjusted.. “I shouldn’t say nice. They’re good.”
Thick Southern drawl and slow easiness.
I kept mistaking this for unfriendliness, but it’s not the same.

We spent the next day shopping at all the little galleries that line the island.
Lots of pottery, and jewelry..
Two things I have become heavily addicted to as well.

Later, we went to a fantastic seafood market called Risky Business in Hatteras, cooked some dinner, then headed to the pier to watch people catch some fish.
And watch another sunset.

Skate seemed to be the most abundant.

Watching that skate move around in the man’s hands was otherworldly.
I have touched them before, but not like this..
All wild and angry.
Their egg sacks washed up all over the shore, and those looked alien, too.
One is called a Mermaid’s Purse.
Aliens. For sure.

That night, I watched the moon rise over the ocean.
Orange, and then absolutely full and white.

Photos from our home on the beach.

Various sunsets.

I found a wildlife reserve about 40 miles up the island.
I went by myself, and was there(mostly) by myself, too.
It was so peaceful, I felt like all was right in the world.
I was smiling gleefully to myself, about half a mile up the walkway..
Excited to get to the lookout tower far ahead, when the flies descended.
A bunch of them. With KNIFE-LIKE MOUTHS.
I was forced to turn back.
On my way, I crossed paths with an older overweight couple.
I stopped and said, “Just a heads up, there are huge biting flies back there.”
“Well, that just sealed it,” the man said, and started to turn back.
The woman lowered her head, raised her eyebrows, and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“We will walk faster,” she said sternly, in that great North Carolina drawl.
He succumbed, and I laughed.
But I saw them walking back shortly after.
As I was heading out, I stopped back at the turtle pond.. Where the giant snappers come up out of the depths to greet you.
As if they have been fed there, despite the signs saying not to.
Another couple joined me on the bridge.
The man said, “Dem look like turtles.”
It made me laugh, so I took a picture of them.
(how do you make it to your 60s in the south and not know how to identify a turtle?)

I watched a pair of swallows make a nest over an electrical box on the front porch of our house during the week.
The would get pretty mad anytime either of us (or the dog) left the building.
They’d fly around chirping wildly, and dive-bombing a bit.
When they were done, I tried to reach up and get a photo of inside the nest to see if they had laid eggs yet.
I had to stand on a chair on my tip toes, arm stretched above..
This was the only time they sat and watched me.

We took a ferry over to Okracoke Island.
Here’s my best shot of the trip!!

There, we went to see the wild horse reserve.
Descendants of Spanish Mustangs..
They’re not so much “wild” any more, but they are free to roam, and they don’t wear shoes.
So that’s something.
It smelled strange there.. A mix of horse excrement, and a plastic composite used to make the walkway.
I was never a horse girl growing up. I liked kittens.
If I were a horse, I would be called Thunderbolt for sure.

On another day, I found an abandoned theme park.
This was probably my favorite thing, from a photo standpoint.

Just so strange that this thing was in the middle of an island full of houses like these.

Oh, this? Just my summer home.

One evening, we went to Risky Business to get some more fresh fish..
(i forgot to mention that our boyfriend from detroit worked there.. any time kate and i would separate on our own adventures, we would warn each other not to SET FOOT INSIDE THE MARKET WITHOUT ME. we didn’t. it was always a joint throwing of selves at the naive fishmonger)
..when we met a crew of obviously wealthy fisherman.
They had caught 38 Trigger Fish, 12 Bass, and array of larger fish.
One of which was a Cobia.
They offered for us to take two Triggers, and two Bass.
Pointed over at the fishmongers and said we could pay them $5 to fillet them.
We did.
Against the building, next to the marina, sat 4 men that obviously sat there all day every day.
Local fisherman, and avid drinkers.

Large Fisherman(a hair under 400lbs): Mah friend don’t eat Cobia.
Skinny Fisherman: All right, whai.
Large Fisherman: He said he was fishin’ on a boat one day, took a dump in a bucket. Threw his dump over the side of the boat.. Cobia came up an eat that bucket dump. Now he won’t eat no Cobia. I said, “Y’eat chicken, ain’tcha?” Errything eats crap.


We were directed by the fisherman to go to a restaurant up the street.
The restaurant would fry, or broil our fish, and give us two sides for $9.95 each.
And it was only the best, freshest fish I’ve ever had..
(minus the large mouth bass i caught in pickeral, wi 10 years ago)
In that restaurant, there were about 15 Amish people finishing up their dinner. Mennonites?
It was interesting to eavesdrop on conversation, and even more interesting to take note in our olfactories.

Here are various animals from that trip.

We went on a dolphin tour… Which was basically a super fun boat ride that took us over some pretty choppy water, then little glimpses of dolphin back and tail.
That was enough for me.
On our way our of the harbor, we met a pirate ship full of 5 year olds.
(when they explained what would be happening, my friend and i thought they meant 5 year old dolphins….. no biggie.)
They had a sea battle with buckets of water and squirt guns.
(most of the kids are up front.. but this shot, hey?!)

Various Pretties and Odds.

And here we are, just having the best time.