Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chicago briefly

So I've been back in the land where everything is big, bold brash & in-your-face unsophisticated for a couple of days now & I still love it. The streets take twice as long to cross, the trucks/lorries/semis are the proper size, I still recognise the different-to-Euro-spec cars, one can buy root beer & pink lemonade and most of all, it's warmer than home. Needless to say, this two day stopover in Chicago has been a great start to a holiday that is much needed & promises more.
This will be just a brief post as I'll soon tire of my phone keyboard and most of my photos are on a real camera. Landing at O'Hare it was no surprise to find it's huge - being one of the world's busiest airports. The L runs all the way into town and its trains are delightfully all stuck in the late seventies as far as decor & finish go - even the new ones.

Chicago is not as easy to walk around as European cities due to the vast amount of space that was available to take up all the people - but with a 3 three day CTA pass I had a pretty good go at walking my feet off. Highlights were going up the Willis (Sears) Tower on Sunday morning before the crowds, admiring the architecture & the parks, riding the L a bit out of town to Wrigley Field (home of those perennial losers, the Cubs) and eating an awful lot.

With a six hour time difference from home I've been sleeping & eating at weird times, but that's all part of the fun. I had most of today before I had to head out to O'Hare, so spent almost five hours at the Field Museum (and saw about half of it)- which has quite a natural history collection. In the Museum Precinct on the shores of Lake Michigan it is vast building displaying only a small part of the collection. The taxidermy is extensive and very impressive considering it's mostly a century old - although never as good seeing animals alive in the wild. The Tsavo lions are there, as well as a fascinating exhibit about wolves in Idaho. There's a fair amount of Egyptian relics, but after the Christmas trip they failed to capture my imagination. The replica and exhibit of the Lascaux cave paintings is really good too, especially since you can't even go in the real caves in France anyway.

They also have, in the atrium, the biggest T-Rex skeleton ever found. The biggest surprise however was stumbling across a wharenui (a Maori meeting house) all the way from the East Cape of NZ via Hanover in the nineteenth century.  So that's enough about Chicago for now - here are some of the few photos I did take on my phone:

I ordered a burger and got this - it was fantastic
The wharenui at the Field Museum from Tokomaru Bay
My fascination with old signs painted on buildings continues while riding the L

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