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World Dryer Corp`s bulletproof model, Berkeley, IL
25th Jun 2008
Berkeley, IL and the World Dryer Corporation

Last night after blogging I went out to a concert in the park in Madison, which wasn't quite what I expected.  It was classical-swing featuring horn solos.  Were the mozzies not eating me alive and my stomach eating its lining I would have enjoyed it, but I lasted only two numbers before seeking food like a bear in spring.  

After dinner my host Ralph picked me up and we went back to his for home-made brats (bratwurst is a typical Madison dish) and local beer before heading to a local bar for some live music and more local beer.  The bar was done out in the style of a northern Wisconsin bar, which essentially means a sauna with stuffed animals on the walls.  After the bar we went back home for more beers and silliness til the small hours.   Great fun.


On Wednesday I enjoyed a cooked breakfast before heading down to Illinois.   Bah!  They don't have freeways in Illinois, they have tolls roads.  I would not ordinarily mind paying a toll to take a road if, like I hear the M6 bypass offers, the roads are of superior quality.  But they're not, they're just as terrible as all other roads in America, with their deep potholes and patchy asphalt (Tarmac).   

Eventually I arrived in Berkeley, a suburb of Chicago, were my afternoon's destination was.  I'm sure you've used the World Dryer Corporations's hand dryers in restrooms all over the world.  You may have noticed that they print not only their name but also their address on the dryer.  Well, you may have also wondered just what Berkeley, IL, was like; I certainly wondered this over the many years that my hands have needed drying, and so I went to their modest HQs.  Like Google, they of course did not have a visitor centre.  But one staff member, Earl, an old guy with a very thick Chicaaaaaaago accent, overheard my request and said that anyone who would come to them for such a purpose deserved a tour.  So he took me into their offices and showed me around.  A highlight was the showroom, a corridor in which one of each of their dryers is installed, including historical models and future prototypes. The standard model has its enamel chipped, which I frowned upon until Earl explained that this display model had deliberately been shot with a pistol, and the only damage was the flaking.  Impressive.   Their factory was quiet as everything is now made in New America (aka China).   I was very chuffed to have been given such VIP treatment by such a kind man, and I left with a big smile.



I drove around neighbourhood trying to steal wifi*, as I had thus far been unsuccessful in arranging a couch surfing host, so in the end I stayed at a hostel in trendy Lincoln Park.  I think it used to be a hospital or lunatic asylum, as it still felt very clinical and not very homely.


I took a wonder through the burbs and was impressed with the gas-lamp district.  Unlike San Diego's gas-lamp district, Chicago's actually has gas-lamps in it.  Every few yards a 5' high, dual-mantle lamp glows along the sidewalk, but of course they are dwarfed by the neon and sodium lamps.

* The IEEE really need to address the problem of wifi being shit.  Nine times out of ten when I try to connect to an unsecured network I am told there is an "unknown error."  Secure networks are not as easy to get into as, say, secure websites, and I have only succeeded in cracking one or two so far.

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Diary Photos

World Dryer Corp`s bulletproof model, Berkeley, IL

World Dryer Corp`s showroom, Berkeley, IL

World Dryer Corp`s factory, Berkeley, IL

World Dryer Corp, Berkeley, IL

Gaslamp district, Chicago, IL

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