Friday, 5 May 2006

Battle Of The Wedge

29 April - Another night in the car, another crick in the nec. Was upo pretty early in the morning - mainly because I couldn’t handle another minute cramped up in Rocicante's confined sleeping quarters so I was on my way out of Pennsylvania and on to another f**kng Turnpike, this time it was Ohio's - ate pretty awful junkfood while I meandered west through the betraying swing statt and on to Indiana - nothing to see but corn and wheat fields as far as the eye could see - NPR had an interesting interview with a hard core cornographer who explained how the entire western diet comes from corn and explained why it was not really a good thing. Unfortunately, driving through multiple states and multiple timezones means that it's very difficult to actually listen through an entire radio segment without getting blankouts, repeats and skipping of shows but very entertaining nonetheless. Eventually made it to Chicago and had another extraordinarly stressful and tearful entrance in to the city - couldn’t find a welcome centre and not even a phone that was working. Found myself downtown and eventually got a phone and it turned out that I was only 5m away from the hostel where I planned to stay. After 30m of driving around a maze of one way streets that were lined with cars I managed to check in and miraculously even managed to find a park on the street - on the very edge of the tow zone so i'm hoping everything will be cool by the time I leave. After completing a few necessary functions at the hostel I went out for a little bit of a wander - for once, the changing time zones are on my side - being in central time means getting an extra hour to enjoy the city in daylight. Wandered downtown - I don’t understand why all these americans believe anything past a few blocks can’t be walking distance - well, actually I can understand very easily, because they're the most obese nation on Earth (that's one generalisation about this country that certainly has proved to be true). Not really knowing how to start the chicago tour I thought a deep pan pizza would be a good way to immerse myself in the city's culture. Upon arriving at giordano's I was told it would be a 45m wait (which included pre-ordering) and by the time I got seated wait times were up to 2 hours. Anything that reqires that much of a wait has got to be good, I surmised. I am a big fan of pizza and while it certainly lived up to the expectation i'm of the opinion that it still doesn't stack up to Arthur's of Paddington (although according to a reliable source Arthur's has changed its recipes and has suffered the consequences). All in all, the food in this country has been pretty amazing when its good and pretty awful when its bad - grits, pancakes and barbecue have surpassed anything i've eaten in the homeland but the two staples to any carb junkies diet, pizza and sammiches are unequalled by that which is only available in God's country.
More sketchy plans did not come to fruition - a couple of Hawaiians from the hostel asked me to come to an comedy improv show that they were doing but I couldn’t remember where it was playing so ended up playing cards with a few guys from the hostel - a Japanese guy who spoke the most baffling English i've ever heard, an Irishman, Mancunian and a young Hawaiian guy who suggested I read a non fiction book all about the American green berets (i'm always very wary of people who like reading books about the special forces, I put them in the same boat as guys who like to read gun catalogues and people whosfavourite Warner Bros cartoon character is Taz-mania ). first game was 3 and 4 and the Mancunian who was teaching us how to play kept on changing the rules on us (i kept on expecting him to claim victory with a royal sampler) so I taught them the finer points of playing S**thead. Fortunattly there were no broken bones or criminal acts resulting to the losing players.

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