Friday, 25 January 2008


I've been in Chicago since Tuesday night and I'm afraid it's been a bit uneventful because a. I've been taking it easy and b. it's VERY COLD OUTSIDE.

On Wednesday I had a big sleep in (we arrived back in Chicago after midnight) and then bummed around. I spent some time on the balcony trying to photograph a snowflake (see most successful attempt left, along with a view from the balcony, notice the yellow schoolbus.)

When Elsie got home, and then we went to the mall. We only had a little time there and it was absolutely huge - at one time it was the largest mall in the world, apparently. I bought another pair of pants from Anthropologie and I think I might be suffering buyer's remorse, but at least they fit. After that, we went to the supermarket which was also huge and it took us an hour and a half to get the whole way through because I was so amused by everything. They mist their fresh produce (which looked incredibly good - much better than Woolies) periodically, and when they do they play 'Singing in the Rain'. I bought a bunch of American foods to try, and I'm afraid the results were not overwhelmingly positive. (Photos above: giant bottles of cheap wine available in the supermarket; unrefrigerated tubes of coloured icing).

Clockwise from top left:
Stripes & Blues chips: not tried yet but Elsie says they're good.
Animal Crackers: Animal shaped biscuits, like a yoyo or the biscuit from an orange cream, only smaller.
Oreos: DIY version like a le Snack. Ick.
Pringles Extreme dill pickle flavour: very strong flavour. Might be nice if you liked dill and salt.
Jarritos Mexican Mandarin Drink: Yum!
Snapple Rasberry & Pomegranite: sweetened fruit juice, like cordial. Quite nice but quite sweet.
Tictacs: berry sour and cherry passion. The passionfruit ones are nice, the others are not.
RiceRoni: flavoured but not instant rice. Tastes a bit like packet chicken noodle soup. Not bad but a bit salty.
Extra apple and watermelon: The packets are much better than ours. You get more per pack, the pieces are bigger and you don't lose them in your bag. The watermelon ones are my new favourite thing and I'll be taking some with me.
3 Musketeers Bar: Like a Milky Way only bigger and not as nice. Milky ways here have caramel like a Mars Bar. I'm not sure what Mars Bars are like.
Butterfinger: crunchy crumbly peanut butter flavoured caramel covered in chocolate. A bit ick.
Baby Ruth Bar: Like a Snickers with 3 Musketeers filling, caramel and nuts.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Valentine Heart.
HoHos: yes really. It was a choice between HoHos and DingDongs which I think are the same only a different shape. Chocolate cake filled with fake cream covered in a chocolate coating. Non-refrigerated. Pretty gross.

Yesterday I went to Elsie's building's gym (which I understand the point of in a country like this where you really can't run around the block in this weather) and did my running on the treadmill. I can't say I like it very much - there's nothing to look at but the stopwatch and I felt very dizzy when I got off. After that I steeled myself for a trip 'downtown'. I put on two pairs of stockings, one pair of leggins, two pairs of socks, jeans, boots, two singlets, two tops, one thick jumper, a coat, a scarf and two hats. I jumped on the train (which are old and double decker) and bought a ticket from the conductor. They look straight out of Enid Blyton with navy blue suits (with waistcoat and red tie) and a navy blue hat with gold trim which says 'conductor' on it.

I got into the city after about an hour and started walking towards Millenium Park. After about 5 minutes I was seriously frightened that I was getting frostbite on my fingers because they hurt so much that I went straight into a shop (the Marshall Field's Macy's as it turns out) and bought a pair of gloves and another scarf. After that I worse Elsie's earwarmers and ski gloves as well. I made it to Millenium park and had a quick look around at some of the sculptures closest to the road. I saw 'the bean', which is a great big polished steel been that reflects the city (and you) and these two huge screens that stand opposte each other and show faces. The faces change expression, and apparently in Summer they spit water at each other! I also went and had a quick look in the Art Insistute which also looks unreal and so I'll have to make a trip back to both next week.

I met Elsie after work and we went ice-skating at Millenium park OUTSIDE. This was excellent because it was so much more fun to skate outside and it's such a pretty area too. The Americans skate the wrong way (ie. clockwise) which made things a little more difficult, but doing some exercise meant I wasn't so absolutely freezing.

After skating we had a nice dinner of pumpkin apple soup a green salad with fetta which was very nice indeed.

Today we're heading for New York which should be exciting as we've got lots of fun things planned. Hopefully it should be a lot warmer than here (ie. it is forecast to be hovering around 0C which will be a nice change) and hopefully I won't freeze on my way to the airport!

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