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Daniel Tours America
Downtown, Chicago, IL
26th Jun 2008
Chicago, Illinois

I was very excited to be in Chicago, as it is the first alpha-class global city on my trip that I had not previously visited.    I started my tourism by riding the train to downtown.  The train system is crap.   There are only a few routes, designated with such gay names as "the pink line", and it is impossible to transfer between lines at some common stations without going up to street level and paying to reenter.  They also omit a step that is important for novice visitors, that is the simple labeling of destinations with "North" and "South", which is far more helpful than "95th Street", as I have no idea whether that will take me downtown or not. 


Upon reaching the Loop, the main financial hub of the city, I went straight to the top of the overpriced Sears Tower.  This is America's tallest building and was the world's tallest for many years, and offers great views of Lake Michigan and the city.  The trapezoid John Hancock Tower is, in my opinion, more characteristic of the city's skyline (since it was always features on TV station WGN's commercials), but the Sears Tower is more of a destination.  It was great to look down on the river, which is narrow and is spanned by many bridges, making it look like my stereotype of Venice.

From the tower I went to Millennium Park and ogled at The Bean (a huge kidney-shaped mirror), then down to Navy Pier to enjoy the view of the skyline.  My last stint of the day was to walk the Miracle Mile, the main strip of the city.  This is very cool, bordered by looming skyscrapers from 100+ years ago (the city was burned down in 1871).  These all look like the main building in Ghostbusters, with their ornate stonework and spires.

Mid-afternoon I curled up for a snooze in a posh shopping mall and was lucky not to have been kicked-out as a vagrant.

Finally I took the train to my car and then drove to another suburb to crash with an artist girl in her tiny (and I mean tiny even by British standards) "studio" apartment.  It was really a bedsit, too small even for a sofa.    In the end, after a mail-bomb to the whole of the Chicago CS community, I spent all day receiving calls and messages offering couch space, and I have accepted one for Friday night.  The artist's place was just too small for two people, even for one.

Next: Chicago day 2
Previous: Berkeley, IL and the World Dryer Corporation

Diary Photos

Downtown, Chicago, IL

Chicago river, IL

Sears Tower, Chicago, IL

Sears Tower, Chicago, IL

A Loop streeet, Chicago, IL

Cool old buildings, Chicago, IL

Millennium Park, Chicago, IL

My reflection in the Bean, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL

Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, IL

Hancock tower, Chicago, IL

Miracle mile, Chicago, IL

Chicago Tribune building, IL

Hancock and Water towers, Chicago, IL

Residential district, Chicago, IL

Unhelpful Chicago metro signs, IL

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