Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Midwest to the Northeast - An American Tale

"Half the fun is getting there..."
I often quote this line as it usually seems relevant to my adventures. We have an exception that  proves the rule. Greyhound are an epic fail of a company. It took me twice as long to reach Chicago from Buffalo (Niagara) because they over booked the coach TWICE and didn't have extra coaches... Common sense states you only sell tickets for which you have space...This is SIMPLE maths. Last time I ever use Greyhound. Despite this I had some fun bad mouthing Greyhound with the other disgruntled passengers.

Eventually after 8 hours in the station I was on a bus to Chicago. The 'windy city' such named because its politicans talk as much air as it does blow around the city. I met Mr Gill after a pint where some Police commented on my nice looking pint of German beer. We headed out to saunter the delights of Chicago's evening activities, bars, cheap pizza and seedy but friendly 'dive' bars. Both knackered from our respective travels, being very drunk it was time for a new day.

Chicago is quite big, tis home of the 'skyscraper', Obama, deep dish and some other things like gangsters. We saw the first Skyscraper on a rather dull walking tour. It wasn't even very big. Despite this we left the tour saw some much cooler buildings and walked along navy pier.
(photo is not of the first skyscraper, in fact I've no idea what these buildings are)

In the evening we went to check out 'Taste of Chicago' - food was expensive for what it was, but was interesting. They had a sweet tractor though. We got tickets and hoodwinked some more off a Cop eating a rather large turkey leg. He expressly told us not to spend them on beer.... this is obviously police code for "go and buy beer" so we did. Our barman only took half the tickets he was supposed to so at this point we are 2 nil up against the Taste - Free coupons and free beer.
Eventually we went in search of food, after Welshie made friends with another officer of the law. We eventually settled for Deep Dish Pizza... I hate to say it, but this was a big highlight. It was very very tasty.

In later days we spent a lot of time at the beach. We saw some fireworks and drank with the director of Transport for Chicago. He was called Chuck and took us to a cool Blues bar.

Boston came next. Boston has a rich history which they are very proud of... or to put it more accucrately; a history of rebellion against the British which they constantly ram down your throat. Guys it was 235 years ago, get over it. Despite this, I got a lot of love for Boston. More casual than Chicago and much less skyscrapers. we did the usual tourist traps, a trolley tour, the Bruins stadium(they are the team who beat Vancouver), a harbour cruise and of course the Cheers bar - Nobody knew our names, I was the only Sam, it was full of tourists but it has to be done.

We took a trip down Cape Cod in a car, this was excellent. We went to Provincetown, a big gay town with men in vests offering pedicures. Then we hit the beach as it was very hot!  It being new England everywhere was named after a place in the south west ie, Truro, Plymouth, Taunton etc. This shot below was taken in Falmouth!

Other things I enjoyed in Boston, was of course Clam Chowdaaaaaaa. Which is superb and comes in a bread bowl. I also got very drunk, some people blame this on 4Loko, both times this has been drunken bad things have happened BUT I blame Hiro, both times I have been drinking with Hiro it has ended odd and it was his friend who got the Tequila's in.

Anyway next day nursing severe hangovers we walked around Harvard. Here is Andrew 'relaxing' as any true student would at Harvard.

Last real sights we saw were some graves. Namely 'Samuel Adams'... you probably know him from the beer (its how I know him). Lastly we ate/drank near the harbour in a place called 'Dicks Last Resort...' where they proudly claim to 'be and act like dicks'

Rounded off the North-East US tour with a trip to DC. Obvious sites include White House, Capitol Hill, Lincoln memorial, Washington Monument etc etc and about a million free museums. It was bakingly hot here(35+), making any sight seeing an arduous effort and the museums air con an absolute godsend. The museums were excellent, ranging from the Natural History to Air/Space.

We also took in Arlington Cemetry, Holocaust Memorial museum and the Pentagon. The latter being rather dull except for a 9/11 memorial.
Washington, as you'd expect from the stately capital is rather stately! All the sites are neatly arranged near each other and overlook one another in quite an organised fashion.

In a strike of genius ironic hilarity. The Dalai Lama was in town for a conference on buddhism. This meant there were lots of monks and hippies also around for the conference. I could have heard him talk if I paid the £££ it cost. This is ironic because earlier in the trip I had been to Tibet and his palace which he himself cannot because of the Chinese. The Chinese have 'asked' Obama to council his meeting with the Dalai Lama, which is completely ridiculous. Further proof that Tibet isn't part of China.

Lastly, and probably rather uninteresting to 99% of the world, I quite like the Metro stations. They all seem identical and look exactly like they do in Fallout.
Miami tomorrow for humidity galore but a beach at least.

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