I got on the Jerry Springer Show!

Trip Start Aug 26, 2005
Trip End May 26, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Monday, January 29, 2007

Something happens when you cross that line from Canada, where it's all nice and happy and the people are fun and the good times and friendly locals just seem endless. Then you step foot in the USA and it goes to hell again.

I took an 11 hour overnight Greyhound bus, with 2 Aussies called Jo and Joe and an English girl, strangely enough, also called Jo, so I had no problem remembering names this time. It was a nonstop smooth ride with no problems, until that is, we arrived at USA immigrations. It was around 2am, and we were all a little groggy as we filed in line and explained why we were carrying leftover soup, carrots, onions and some leftover rum from the Australia Day festivities. We were let through and our nice friendly white driver from Canada was replaced by a big fat ole black girl with an attitude problem.

Damn did she have attitude. Crikey. We had returned to the bus and found our sleeping positions that we spent the last few hours in. We got comfortable and ready for the rest of the long drive. We pulled out and 2 minutes later, the bus stopped again and this nasty black chick with attitude comes storming down the aisle. She kicked my feet and told me not to take up 2 seats each. THERE WERE ABOUT 11 PEOPLE ON THE 100 SEATER BUS! The seats weren't being used. We had 4 hours until we were due to arrive in Chicago and were determined to get some sleep. We asked if there was anyone else getting on, and she said no. Then we said well why can’t we lie down and sleep, the last driver let us sleep. She says 'oh, yo'all in the USA now and y'all gotta go by my rules or get y'o asses ofa mai bussssss'. She says!

What the hell!?

When she asks for our tickets and we told her the last driver checked them when we got on. She wanted to see them again, so we handed them over and she scrutinized every detail. I fish my ticket out and then lie back down. She says 'What I just gone told you bout sleepin!?'.

This is just insane! Its not like she is flying a plane, it’s the damn Greyhound bus for Christ sake!

She eventually gets her fat authoritative ass up into the 'pilots' seat and grinds us towards Chicago.

Welcome to the USA. God I hate this place.

We all wanted to be kicked off and turned back to Canada. What’s wrong with this country? They have a serious attitude problem. They are all on some crazy power trip and the four of us pondered it together for the next few days as every person we met was on some power high, and ordering us about. The 4 of us were furious at this strange country and its even stranger people while we wandered around cold and windy Chicago.

We found a strict hostel in Chicago and after checking in, we took ourselves on a self guided walking tour around town. We visited the koolest sculpture/piece of art ever. It was a giant reflective chrome bean. Polished to perfection, the bean reflected the city in a distorted kind of way. It was brilliant. Big enough to walk underneath, and look up at the distorted reflections.

We found the Ice rink, but with temperatures well below freezing, decided it was way too cold to even try, plus, I was still badly bruised from my attempt at ice skating in Montreal, so it was probably for the best that we skipped it.

We continued walking along the main road, admiring the spectacular city skyline, in a way, it was like a miniature New York. Very pretty.

Further down the road, we got chatting and remembered that the Jerry Springer and Oprah shows are filmed in Chicago. A few questions to the locals and we soon located the NBC Studios. Arriving just in time for the filming, and lucky for us - there were 4 places left. We had to sit in the aisle and wait 2 hours. But it was the Springer show with the trashiest topic ever!

There was a fight, a  baby, drugs, prostitution, a 17 year old girlfriend, the mothers and a whole lot of screaming, scratching and broken chairs. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. They couldn’t tell us when it would air, so just look for me in the aisle every time you watch Springer.

Chicago was very very cold. As we explored the city we were forced to run from building to building in order to stay warm. We made it back to the hostel and found that they were having a Japanese Cultural night. We were the first names on the list. Boy was that a mistake. After signing up to the cultural night, we got some more information. The night was being hosted by a bunch of local kids from a school for underprivileged kids. They had spent the semester learning about Japan and their final exam was to come to this hostel and prepare a 3 course meal for any suckers that volunteered to be the guinea pigs. That was us.

We were served up a dinner of Sushi, Miso Soup, Teriyaki Beef and Green Tea. The room was split into tables of 6. All the backpackers that signed up were split up and placed at tables full of kids from the learning difficulties school. I was really looking forward to sitting at a table with a bunch of local kids and telling them about Australia and finding out about life in Chicago.

I was placed at a table with an insanely obese 15 year old Puerto Rican girl and her sidekick friend. I asked them what they had learnt about Japan during their semester studying the country, this being the final celebration dinner. They both said in unison 'nuffin' I said, 'Well you studied it for the last few months, surely you learnt something, can you point to it on that map over there?' we walked over to a huge world map on the wall and they put their finger on the continent of Africa. Hmmm, close, I guess. Stupid Americans. They probably couldn’t even locate the USA. I dare not ask.

We sat back down and I asked them again to tell me something about Japan. The said once again that they didn’t learn a thing about it. I asked why they went to class if they didn’t learn and what they did for the semester. The sidekick pipes in and says 'we only go to school to get boyfriends!'

'Right OK!’ So dinner comes up, and it’s all delicious, so they did at least learn how to cook. However the fat one looks at the sushi and makes throw up noises. I say, do you like rice, and vegetables, she says yes, and then I say that’s all this is. You made it after all, so you know what’s in it. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t eat it. We unrolled a Sushi roll and I said ‘look, its just rice with some cucumber’ . Again, they made throw up noises. They refuse to eat, so I had to do the old, 3, 2, 1, and we all eat at the same time. Both the girls put a piece of sushi in their mouth and pretend to throw up – totally showing off they run off to the bathroom to spit it out. They were pathetic attention seekers and every action was made to display and make a scene to show off to the other kids. I hated their guts instantly and hoped to get away from their pathetic existence as soon as possible. Fuck you again America. These kids were everything I hate about you!

The pathetic excuses for human beings come back and the fat one makes a comment that I will never forget. She says 'I can’t wait to get outta here and go get a burger and fries after this' then the other one says 'ah ahhhhh, I’m gettin KFC'. No joke!

I tried to continue some kind of conversation, asking them what they do here, but all they could tell me was that they both wanted boyfriends. They were disgusting and everything that came out of their mouths was about them searching for boys.

The night finished with all the tourists being taken into a room and given a presentation about Japan by the illiterate Attention Deficit Disorder kids.

It was one of the more awkward moments of my life, as the 10 of us sat in chairs and watched the uncomfortable kids stand upfront and try to illustrate what they had learnt. We were completely blown away and horrified by the night. An Aussie girl even commented that she isn’t going to have kids anymore after seeing that. The kids were a complete disgrace to the country. When the performance was over, we gave a half hearted clap and the teachers came up and thanked us for giving the kids a good night. We left, shaking our heads, wondering what just happened.

Chicago is a very out there city. There is always stuff going on. At every corner, we found live music and cultural centres. We found one where we watched an amazing African play followed by a Paul Simon - Graceland style performance. It was brilliant!

It was time to leave Chicago and farewell my travelling companions. We were all going different directions, so after 3 nights in Chicago, I travelled South to St Louis.

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