Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The Windy City

So here we are in Chicago - it's good to be back! We came here from Toronto, via Niagara Falls, so I'll bring you up to date on that first.

We arrived in Niagara Falls just before lunch, and walked straight to the Falls from the bus station. The town itself is small, dusty and empty - a huge contrast to the Falls themselves, which are surrounded by casinos, bars and restaurants, not to mention hordes of tourists. Nevertheless, the Falls are spectacular. There are actually two separate waterfalls: the American Falls and the (more famous) Horseshoe Falls. The US/Canada border runs down the middle of the river - crossing the Rainbow Bridge gets you from one country to the other.

Once you've seen the Falls there's not much else to do (unless you've got a mean poker face...), so we walked back in the afternoon and caught the next bus south across the border to Cleveland via Buffalo. After a long wait in Cleveland, we finally got a bus to Chicago, and arrived there early on Monday 25th.

We got ourselves a cheap room in a cheap hotel ($30!), slept until the afternoon, and then headed out into Chicago - we didn't get much done that day, although one highlight was going to the famous Wrigley Field and buying tickets for the next home Chicago Cubs game. Yay! We've got seats for the 2.30pm game this Friday to see the Cubs take on the (frankly useless) Milwaukee Brewers. With any luck there'll be plenty of hits :-).

Tuesday, yesterday, was far more productive. We visited the Art Institute of Chicago, which is free all day Tuesday, then the fascinating Chicago Mercantile Exchange. We arrived just in time to go up to the visitor's gallery and watch close of trade at 3.15pm. All the shouting and hand gestures and gaudy jackets are just like you see on TV! Our next stop was the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, which was full of wacky installations and videos, none of which we understood :-(.

And as if that wasn't enough culture for one lifetime, we headed down to Grant Park to watch an outdoor showing of Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 classic Rear Window. Spooky (if slowly paced ;-).

So, all in all a busy day. We came home and watched Late Night with Conan O'Brien (but of course!), and then slept until 11am the next day.

And here we are, in Chicago Public Library, telling you all about it - there's still lots planned in Chicago for us today, tomorrow and Friday, so watch this space...


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