Meaning Of Loaf

       Taking the easy road through life

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chicago - The People

So now for the final part in the Chicago series, and I'm sure the one that most people have been waiting for; The People.

First of all, I have to mention the American people in general, who were just so friendly! Going into any shop, I would always get a seemingly genuine smile and a good morning, and in several instances a cheery "have a nice day!" as I left. Now not saying that the British equivalent are not as friendly, as there are a few shops you'll get that kind of response here, but it's still pretty rare compared to the States.

But onto the other people I met in Chicago, namely, the Chicago bloggers...

First up, I met Cherry and Anesthetised Aussie, since they'd been kind enough to put me up at their place for the length of my stay, which was quite a brave move considering I'd only been known for about 4-5 months by that time, and they were already willing to give some strange Englishman keys to their door and access to their fridge. Glad to say they were both great hosts and certainly made sure I didn't go hungry!

On the second night (since the first one was pretty wiped out recovering from the flight), we headed out to an Irish theme bar to start getting warmed up for the main event of St Patricks Day on Saturday. This was my first lesson in tipping the bar staff, and through a mixture of poor maths and favourable exchange rates, the tips soon won favour with the bar staff! Later on, we were joined by LP, Classy and Dr Ken, to properly kick the evening up a gear; the drinks began to flow quite freely, as did the randomness of conversation in proportion to the drinks, and I even had the chance to see Classy’s much anticipated Little Superstar dance routine, which was totally worth it!

Although precise memories of the evening were a little fuzzy, I do have a distinct memory of Aussie picking up a homeless woman who was wandering round outside, asking for cigarettes, since it was her birthday. The look on Cherry’s face as this woman hung on Aussie was priceless, and I believe there was a comment about him being thoroughly showered before getting near us again!

The day after was St Patricks day itself, and despite feeling a little delicate the next morning, we did manage to get into town to see the river dyed green and catch the parade. Or at least we would have caught the parade if we’d been a little quicker. And known where we were going. Anyway, we saw the last few floats and got the gist of it, so we were happy!

After a rest in the afternoon to recoup ourselves ready for the next round of celebrations, we headed on to the one and only, Liars Club. Now, I was a little apprehensive as we walked up to what appeared to be a derelict building with a large metal door and just a small sign indicating the bar, but once inside, I was impressed! While it may not be the kind of place you’d want to take a lady for romantic evening out, it is most defiantly the place to hear some quality music and dance until you drop, which is exactly what we did. On this evening, we were also joined by 5 of 9er, who despite having just got back from South by South West, still made the effort to come out and join us for a few drinks! Yet again, more generous tips, more generous measures, and an evening of dancing that I most definitely felt the next morning!

The night after that, it was out to some more bars (spot a theme here?), courtesy of 9er. Now I’m not even going to try and remember the names of any of the bars; I couldn’t even remember them the morning after, let alone a month and a half later! I do remember the first bar was what seemed like a sports bar to me, with several televisions lining the walls, all tuned to various sports. After that, we went onto a more ‘interesting’ bar, which appeared to have some live experimental music going on, but thankfully we managed to find seating away from the full effect of it, and 9er introduced me to some of the local beers, which have convinced me that not all American beers are watered down and tasteless!

The next night, it was on to Gino’s for pizza with Aussie, Cherry, LP and 9er, but since I’ve already covered that night in the food post, I won’t repeat it. Plus this post is getting way too long already!

On the final night, Classy took me for a final meal in Greek Town, which was excellent, although again, I don’t want to repeat too much from the food post. After that, it was down to the pier, although unfortunately it was closed since they were still running on the winter opening hours. We continued on a drive-by tour of the city, including such sights as the fountain from the opening credits of Married with Children (yes, I’m cultured), before heading on to (you guessed it) a bar for drinks. In the first bar, I was introduced to Sangria for the first time, and made friends instantly, although not sure if it’s a drink I could stay on all night! After that, it was onto another local bar, which to me felt close to an English style bar on the inside, and which had some great live music.

So finally, to all the people I met while I was over there, thank you! By taking it in turns on getting me out just about every night of my stay over there, you managed to ensure complete exhaustion, a fair workout of my liver, and a great week that I thoroughly enjoyed! Expect to see me back in the Windy city again before too long!


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