Alex and Linda, Visiting for Justin’s Last Weekend in Chicago

Justin, after many years of being a Chicagoan, is packing up and starting a new chapter in Detroit. On hearing this news, Alex and Linda decided to trek down for the weekend, to hang out during Justin’s last few days in town.

On Saturday, we decided to meet up in Chinatown as the kids wanted to catch a parade in the afternoon. I made reservations at Phoenix, and we got in before the afternoon rush. L to R it’s Linda, Friday, and Johanna (hat tip to Johanna, who wanted dim sum in the first place).

L to R it’s Justin, Alex, Johanna, and Linda.

After our meal, we wandered around looking for the parade (which was supposed to be near Archer/Wentworth). We found another guy looking for the same parade, and we were all confused as to why no streets seemed to be blocked off.

We found a lot of police barricades, but no parade. So we opted for wandering around old Chinatown for a bit.

Spotted down a side street: pig delivery.

A nearby grocery store, with both Chinese characters and animal illustrations.

Alex spotted this – a restaurant sign with a fantastic tag line: “Serving People.”

The kids were really interested in hitting up some of the many tourist gift shops in the area, so we all wandered around inside for a while. In addition to a lot of Chinatown and Chicago themed items, I also encountered an odd mixture of religious/skeletal figurines.

Faux jade figurines on one side, zombies on the other.

Weird mixture of things here – I’m guessing it’s the Egyptian god Horus, next to what appears to be the embodiment of Death but looking kinda like the Statue of Liberty?

An icon of Jesus Malverde. Very odd to see a lot of what seemed like Santeria/narco-culture for sale. In a gift shop. In Chinatown.

Here we go – more of the usual stuff. On seeing this, I thought that a terrific “bet” would be one where the loser would only be allowed to wear clothing featuring the word “Chicago” for a day.

Tons of swords. The best one is #2, near the top. One of the swords near the bottom has the word “Bushido” written on it – sort of like buying a gun with the word “Honor” emblazoned on the grip.

Lots of fake money (for Chinese funerals).

The thinking here is that you burn money for the deceased. This money then becomes available to them in the afterlife.

After walking for a while, we headed back to the New Chinatown area. It’s been many years since I’ve been here, and I was amazed to see more stores… and also found that Joy Yee’s has totally expanded – it’s at least 3-4 times bigger than it was (and now spans two floors). They’ve really changed since the last time I was here.

On top of that, they served drinks from a side window – long lines even here. Really smart thinking.

Later in the evening, we headed over to where Alex and Linda were staying, near Logan Square. We got to relax at their place, and got the chance to relax in their living room over food and beer.

Linda, serving up some grilled chicken and veggies.

It was a short night, as Justin was with his dad (who made the drive over from Evansville, to help him pack). I talked with Justin about a week ago, and there were some plans to arrange a going-away party before his departure… but that ended up falling through.

Justin was still recovering from that flu that was going around, and had been out of commission for the last week or so. I think that illness set him back on getting his things packed up, and an official event didn’t end up happening.

I know he’s filled with equal parts excitement and nervousness for his upcoming travels, and Detroit is definitely going to be a new, big chapter in his life. Though I’m sad to see him leave, I look forward to hearing about his new place, his new plans, and his new city.

In the meanwhile, time to start working on getting that guest room of ours into shape…

Chinatown Parade, Year of the Ram (2003)
Here There Be Dragons, 2003
Chinatown at Night
Joy Yee’s Noodle Shop, 2005
Chicago Chinatown: Chinese New Year Parade (2010)
Birthday Dim Sum at Phoenix

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