Forgive my absence, loyal readers. The hostel we’re staying at sponsored a pub crawl last night, leaving me in no condition to write. But tonight I am dead sober and able to bring y’all up to speed.
Chicago is awesome. The city is open, clean, and has loads of character. Plus, as I can now attest, booze is cheap. In all honesty, I mostly abandoned my mission and was simply a tourist doing touristy things. We had the whole day to explore the city, so we were able to hit all the major spots. Navy Pier. Skydeck. Grant Park. I also made a pilgrimage to the headquarters of possibly the best website on the internet, The Onion, and we found a pair of restaurants that served us healthy helpings of Chicago deep dish pizza.
Perhaps most fascinating was an architecture tour along the Chicago River. The hour long boat ride allowed us to see the Chicago skyline up close, which was a real trip. Our tour guide even provided some info on the impact of infrastructure changes to the Second City. While admitting things did change to a degree when the interstate muscled out the route system, he maintained that ultimately it wasn’t a huge deal because “Chicago adapts to everything”.
Also unique has been our lodging. Hostels have a completely different feel from a standard motel. Everyone here is a wandering traveler of some kind, and the staff is much more relaxed than their corporate counterparts – our clerk was strumming a guitar before checking us in. Luxurious it is not, but I’ve encountered people from all over the world, which seems like a fair trade-off to me. Here’s a roll call of who I’ve met: an aspiring actor from Switzerland; a vacationing accountant from Argentina; an avid basketball fan from Australia; and a retired Californian who won the 1961 College World Series with USC. Try finding that collection of people at a chain hotel.