Amtrak-king across the universe....to Chicago
Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
43Trip End Ongoing
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While we’re travelling to the twilight zone I might as well tell you about the time we spent in Chicago. Trace and I had never expressed any desire to go to Chicago so it was going to be more of a stopover than anything else. HA!!!! Ignorant tourists were soon to be taught a lesson by a gorgeous city that we wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
Chicago is awesome
Not to be out-manned by the dick-head Yank jocks that were jumping up and down on the glass trying to impress their girlfriends, I made my first step out on to what appeared to be fresh air. Well I tried to anyway, one look down and my foot froze in mid air and my grip on the edge of the building, like my butt cheeks, increased to that of a full grown Nile crocodile’s jaws slamming down on an unsuspecting Egyptian boy crossing the river to meet his secret lover in a nearby village........but that’s another story.
You’ve seen the movie where the guy ends up on the ledge of a high building, that’s exactly how it felt. I could not move any further and my breakfast was trying to make its way out of my body and wasn’t too concerned which orifice it was going to use. I had come this far and there was no way I was going to walk away empty handed.......empty bowelled perhaps, but not empty handed. I turned around and backed out slowly onto the glass ledge looking straight in front of me at Trace, who, by this time, was laughing hysterically. Once I felt my feet were completely on the glass, I looked down. At this time my bones turned to liquid and I started sweating my skeleton out through every pore. I was looking straight down on to the pavement from 103 stories up. I tried to take a photograph but could barely hold the camera. The mind does strange things, I still felt like I needed to grip the camera tightly in case it fell all the way down the building. It was a unique feeling, quite invigorating once you get over the blind terror
The first evening we spent in Chicago we just did a bit of walking around, soon to be followed by an extraordinary amount of walking around over the following few days, just to orientate ourselves with the city. It’s laid out on a grid system like New York so it’s pretty simple to get around, just always keep in mind that most of the streets stretch right across the city, so you can spend a whole day on one street. Once on Michigan Avenue, which is the main street for expensive shops, it’s called the Magnificent Mile, we noticed a bit of a gathering at the far end of the avenue. As it turns out, it was Oprah Winfrey putting on a street party to celebrate the start of 24 season of her show. She actually managed to close off Michigan Avenue, the biggest, busiest street in Chicago, at peak hour, for a party. She may well be the second most powerful person in America.
Most of our time in Chicago was spent walking, that way we got to see a lot more than we would in a cab or on a train. And believe me there is a helluva lot to take in. From the architecture to the incredible Lake Michigan , the food(spinach and artichoke dip and stuffed pizza at Giordano’s- you just gotta try this), the stunning public parks, kept immaculate by an apparently invisible work force to the over-head metro railway lines that snake like a mutant centipede orgy above a lot of the main thoroughfares . You do spend a lot of time looking up, which can be disastrous if you happen to collide with a Chicagoan before he or she has had their morning triple skinny Latte with a twist of lime and soya........a fatal mistake made by many tourists.
Ultimately you have to see it to believe it so the balls in your court......he says smugly.