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Arrival/Getting into the City


I love to fly. I just hate flying to Greece. There is a big difference between a 12 hour flight and 7 time zone changes and a two hour flight with one time zone change. I sat next to a guy who represented a cocklear implant company and we talked about the economic crisis, the worst of which was yet to come. He had already sold his house and was now renting and thankful to get out of his mortgage. "Ownership is bullshit" he told me. "That part of the American dream is over. If you are paying a $400,000 mortage for a house that is worth under two you are crazy to not walk away from it." He told me to buy the book Aftershock and buy gold. "The sky is the limit with the price of gold. Watch and you will see the Chinese and Indians buying it like it is the only thing that matters, and once they do it will be the only thing that matters. The dollar won't be worth the paper it is printed on." I love this kind of financial apocolypse talk, having no mortgage, credit card debts or car payments. I have a house full of books, and about eight thousand hours of college courses on DVD and a sister with an organic vegetable and hog farm so I figure that as long as I have money to pay the electric bill to keep the AC going I will survive and maybe even take in a couple friends. It also makes a two hour flight seem a lot shorter. Next to us was the actor William Fichtner who slept through the whole flight and did not take part in our conversation. I pointed out to my new friend that Fichtner and I were both in The Perfect Storm. He was in the film and I was in the actual storm, though unaware at the time of its perfection.

As the conversation began to peter out I looked out the window to see a vast expanse of blue. Lake Michigan looks like the Aegean on a cloudless midwestern day and I got the same feeling I get while flying over Poros and Aegina before turning to land on the Attika peninsula. As we made our turn the skyline of Chicago appeared on the edge of all this blue, looking like New York City transplanted on the shores of the Mediteranean sea. From that moment I was convinced that I had just discovered the coolest place in the world.

The flight crosses the lake and then over Lake Shore Drive and the low buildings of the north and lands at Ohare Airport and just like that I am in a new world.

Getting into the City

You can find all sorts of transportation into the city. The CTA Blue Line (train) provides service directly into O'Hare Airport. The fully-accessible O’Hare station is situated in the lower level concourse, which connects Airline Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and is conveniently accessed from Terminal 5 by free, frequent airport shuttle trains. The normal travel time on the Blue Line from O'Hare to downtown, is 40-45 minutes. Blue Line trains run 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and all trains leaving the O’Hare station go through downtown.

The CTA Orange Line provides service directly to Midway Airport. The fully-accessible Midway station is right next to the airport terminal building, and connected by an enclosed walkway.

Taxis are available outside of the airport's arrivals area on the lower level curb front. The journey from Chicago Airport into central Chicago will take around 40 minutes, depending on traffic. The airport taxi meters in Chicago start at a basic fare, but additional charges are usually made for luggage, late-night driving and travel on public holidays in Chicago, so ask the taxi driver about these before getting in. Some Chicago Airport taxis accept credit cards. Shared-ride vans are also available from the airport.

Chicago O'Hare is served by public buses that travel from the airport's terminal buildings to central Chicago and other nearby towns. Buses at Chicago Airport run daily at regular intervals and are an inexpensive and useful way to travel into the city. Some hotels also offer a door-to-door courtesy shuttle bus services for their guests, traveling from the airport, directly to the hotel so ask your hotel. The Bus-Shuttle Center at  is on the ground floor of the elevated parking garage, and is accessible by tunnels from Terminals 1, 2 and 3. This is also the pickup area for hotel door-to-door courtesy shuttle bus services, and Pace buses, as well as shuttle services for car rental agencies. This service also provides shuttles to north suburban destinations. Continental Airport Express shuttles operate from O'Hare airport every 5-10 minutes, with tickets available at the kiosk outside of the International Terminal and at counters across from baggage claim on the lower levels of Terminals 1, 2 and 3. For transfers to / from Midway and O'Hare International Airports, Omega Airport Shuttle provides an efficient and inexpensive service, with shuttles operating from 07:00 to 22:00.

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