Sweet Home of the Blues Brothers

Trip Start Dec 06, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, November 25, 2007

After the turkey sandwiches on Thanksgiving day it was on to Chicago. Another cracking city. Perhaps it's just that I've not seen major civilisation for so long that any city would be impressive, but I liked Chicago too. It's a nicely designed city and like San Francisco it's got a good feel to it. It's has plenty of open spaces close to the main street and was deliberately built alongside the river which runs through its centre. It's also my childhood American sports city as I supported Jordan and the Bulls and Chicago Bears with Walter Payton and the Fridge. I'm not sure how I ended up with a Yankees baseball shirt, part of my glory supporting I suppose.

On the first day there we did some wandering through Millennium Park which has a really cool bean to play with. It's my favourite large piece of sculptured metal in the world I reckon, taking the title from the Angel of the North. I got a bit carried away so there's a few photos of it. After that we headed up to Navy Pier, which was the usual tat and then back in to the city to wander along the Magnificent Mile. They call it that, not me. I'd have called it High St. It's the Chicago equivalent of Oxford St, Northumberland St, New St, Queen St or Lampton Quay depending on where you are in the world. In fact, it's more just like Oxford St as a lot of the shops are designer stores rather than chains so it's only magnificent if you're minted and have a fully loaded credit card. Sadly I didn't so it was time to forget the overpriced shops and get some pizza.

If you're going to get pizza in Chicago you might as well do it in style and at the place where it all began. Unfortunately Pizzeria Uno was rammed but no worry, they quite proudly brag that they were cunning enough to build Pizzeria Due. They need to consider building a couple more as that one was busy too so we put an order in and went for a wander for half an hour. I ordered a deep pan bbq chicken and went for my normal size pizza. As soon as I'd ordered I started to regret my choice as I considered just how deep the pizza was likely to be. I kept my fingers crossed but when it arrived it wasn't the light fluffy dough I'd been hoping for. My worse nightmare was coming true, I was presented with a large weighty doorstop for my tea. I managed to just make it through 4 of 6 slices. As a pizza I wouldn't actually recommend it, the base was like pastry and it just wasn't as tasty as the NZ$4 pizzas from Big Pizza in ChCh. The beer I had to go with it was alright though, a local ale whose name I can't remember properly, it had something to do with a goose.

It was then time to head back to the hostel without heating and thin blankets. Next day and up bright and early, what choice have you got when you're freezing and the blinds are white anyway. Time for some retail therapy, this is my birthday trip after all, so I drove us up to the Nike factory outlet so I could stock up. A couple of hundred dollars later and I've got 2 pairs of trainers, some tracky bottoms, couple of pairs of socks and three t-shirts. Bargain!

We then went on an architecture boat trip which described the history of Chicago and all the various buildings and their styles. It was really good, the bloke that was talking talked literally non stop for the full 60 minutes, he really knew (or made up) his stuff. He even finished off by whipping out his harmonica and giving us a blues song about it!

After that was lunch and we headed to a food court in Macys which seemed a bit odd. You have to queue to join a queue, then you get seated and use a card to buy whatever you want and then pay on the way out. Although not the usual way and it all seemed a bit weird to start with, it worked really well. There were13 different food choices and I went for a stir fry where you pile up your own choice of veg, pick your sauce and meat and it gets given back to you, yum yum. It was also a chance to stay in the warm for a while and fully defrost as it was below freezing outside and the wind added a fair old chill on top. It's the windy city, but I'm not sure it competed with windy Welly from when I was there but then I heard rumours that was one of the windiest Octobers on record.

Macys is next door to the Hancock tower where there's an observatory which we weren't going in to. Why do that when as recommended you can go to the Signature Lounge and for a similar price get a drink and a view. I thought I'd go for it; as I was in the Signature lounge I choose the Signature punch. It came looking very fruity and wasn't very nice, oh well! Time for some snaps but the drinks lounge was only on one side so it isn't possible to see the main view which includes Sears Tower; the tallest building in America. Unless... you're a woman needing a pee. The women's toilets are on the outside wall and have windows with a view, very unfair. Luckily there's another way, just being cheeky which I'm an expert in, so I just wandered in to the posh bit and took some snaps of my own.

After finishing my ladies drink there was still some time to kill as we couldn't put the car in the overnight parking until later on. It was getting dark and I'd seen enough of the disappearing view and the overpriced shops so went to the pictures leaving Ceri to wander. I saw American Gangster, good film and I hadn't heard anything about it so didn't realise it was a true story until the end. Worth a look.

Today I'm in Columbus, Ohio. What's there? Nothing for me. It's on the way to NY but the reason we're here is Ceri is meeting up with a lad she used to know so I'm leaving her to spend time with her old flame. She's denied all romantic interest, but I'm not daft.
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