Monday, October 5, 2009

Les Etats-Unis Part II: Sightseeing

My European friends here wanted to know what all we did on our vacation while we were visiting people.'s hard to go sightseeing when you're visiting your hometown and college towns and really want to see people more than places. Maybe I'll just send my friends the link to the Atchison episode of "A Haunting" and say,"Hey, isn't staying in the most haunted town in Kansas enough?"

During our many people visits, we did have some tourist highlights.

First stop: Bonner Springs. Yes, we wanted to visit my grandmother who suggested we go to this quaint new little place called Madame Hatter's Tea Room. It was lovely, and Gaby got to try sweet tea for the first time. This may sound weird, but in France, no one drinks iced tea unless it's Lipton's "Ice Tea" from a can or bottle. We also got to try on fun hats.

Next we headed to Chicago where Gaby had only one sight-seeing request: the Michael Jordan statue in front of the United Center. Yes, my French boyfriend is a huge basketball fan and used to stay up all night for the live broadcast of the Bulls playing at the United Center. Michael Jordan was a sports hero and symbol of Gaby's basketball-playing days. When he told me about the statue, of course I wanted to go see it too. I pictured Michael Jordan standing there holding a basketball. Like this:

Well, except it would be Michael Jordan and not James Naismith. Marissa imagined the same thing. Hahahaha! Man...shows how much we know. Here's the real thing:

So perfect!! I think Naismith would have been amazed to see how much his sport has evolved and how much some players have done with it.

Marissa's boyfriend Joe was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to drive us to the United Center and then to take us on a tour of the city. One of our favorite spots was the zoo, which was really pretty and totally free!! So nice!

Once we were back in Kansas, we did what every European who visits the U.S. ought to do. We went to a major league baseball game. To me, it's the greatest American past-time and one that can't really be experienced from a television broadcast. My parents treated us to a game at the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium. When Gaby walked in, he was genuinely impressed and couldn't keep from breathing out an awe-struck "Oh, wow." And he was right. I've always loved the stadium, but now it just looks even more amazing with its screens that wrap around the entire ballpark, the little Royals history museum, picnic areas and centerfield standing room in front of the fountains.

We had seats on the lower level right down the 3rd base line, and I was instantly transported back to my childhood and the days of Frank White, Bret Saberhagen, Bo Jackson and of course, George Brett. That night, the Royals were playing against the Minnesota Twins, and even though we lost in the end, it was the most exciting game I've been to since game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Here we are right before game time:

And the icing on the cake is that Gaby is now officially a baseball fan, and not only that, but a ROYALS fan. (Mission accomplished.) He wanted to go out and buy a baseball mitt and ball so we could play catch. He ordered a Royals cap. He's also officially a Zack Greinke fan on Facebook.

Our vacation probably seems like pretty standard summer stuff for any Midwesterner, but I think from a European perspective, it's still somewhat exotic. Plus there was all the food I mentioned in the previous post. And honestly, we had a really great time.


Megan said...

Ah. I didn't even realize I missed all that stuff until I read your post. :) I'm so glad you guys had a great time! Can't wait to see you at Christmas!