Saturday, April 3, 2010

In Chicago

After a preliminary walk around the neighbourhood in which I'm staying, I feel pretty exhausted, so I thought I'd write a blog post about my travels so far. My travel blogging will probably be a haphazard thing.

Right now I'm staying at International House at the University of Chicago. I can't put any photos up as I haven't gotten the memory card for my camera working yet. Going to buy a memory card for the camera was in fact the first thing I did. It seemed illegitimate somehow to be a tourist without the possibility of taking photos.

I then took a stroll through streets of the campus, past prim-looking gothic houses, to visit Robie House. Carrying on the spirit of the day, this was also a bit of a non-starter, as there are no tours of the house running until tomorrow morning. But still, I gawked at the outside of the house, Lonely Planet in hand. The brickwork is beautiful: very long, thin bricks, much longer than they are wide. These are the dimensions of the whole building - flat and long. The design is so restrained that it hurts. Interestingly, there is also some leadlighting in the windows. This seemed an odd conjunction to me - decorative windows in a spare, modern building. I can't wait to go for a proper tour tomorrow morning.

Of course, America is full of Americans. This is my first trip to the States, and so I am not yet familiar with total immersion in these scenes which are so familiar from a lifetime of TV and film exposure, yet also alien because, well, I've never actually been here. The neighbourhood I'm staying in is very picturesque. Lots of well-tended little gardens doing things that are appropriate for Spring - small plants budding and so on, bare trees with hints of the first buds of spring, etc. I suppose it is well-tended because it is a university campus - we will see what downtown Chicago is like tomorrow.

Being Australian seems to be working out for me. I am very much enjoying the novelty of having an 'exotic' accent. Yes, already I have fielded questions about kangaroos and whether or not I have seen American films.

The flight was, of course, never ending torture. By the time I got to bed I'd been up for 36 or 37 hours. I also seemed to pass through customs about 10 times - each time a different form, removing my shoes again, taking more things out of my bag to be x-rayed.

The other thing I did this afternoon was to visit the Seminar Co-op Bookshop. It is the most amazing bookshop I have ever been to. Already I have bought four or five books. I could stay there forever. I had to leave mainly from fear that I would get lost in there and perish from starvation. So many interesting books.

I am undecided as to whether I will head out to dinner or just eat the bag of Nobby's Nuts I got at Melbourne airport and then fall asleep in my room. I should probably head out and order a meal, right?

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