I'm in Chicago for a conference. I've been here many times, but not recently, and never to the heart of downtown, across the street from the Art Institute.
It's a rough neighborhood. The streets are packed. There are a dozen panhandlers at every corner, lots of homeless veterans saying "please help," men singing loudly and yelling at no one in particular, and no way to avoid them without hitting the thousands of other scurrying pedestrians.
And even though the streets are arranged on a grid, I can't find anything. I have to pull out the GPS on my cell phone just to go a block.
There are no decent restaurants around, just ultra-expensive fusion cuisine and scary dives. No Asian restaurants in walking distance, if we consider "walking" "go outside, get lost, check GPS, get lost again, check GPS, literally trace your steps on the GPS while you are walking."
The hotel is just as bad, a maze of corridors and hallways, half-floors, rotundas, verandas, buildings inside buildings, with a map too small to read and contradictory information on directories. It charges $240 a night for a "basic room," the size of a closet, looking out on a fire escape, with wifi $20 per day, then offers you a "business upgrade."
Maybe I can assuage this lousy day by going on Grindr or to the bathhouses in Boystown.
The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.