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Michael’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 20 Dec 2006

Location: Chicago, USA

MapHey guys,

Well, arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon, and after finding Mum and Dad, my bags, and Richie (in that order) in what was once the busiest airport in the world (may or may not still be compared with Heathrow?) we headed out into the cold... yes it was cold! Chicago greeted us with a mid 40's day, around 6 degrees Celsius, and we were more than happy to jump into the van as soon as it rocked up.

We are staying at my Grandma's house, about an hour south of the city of Chicago. After saying hi to grandma and catching up with my Uncle Mike (who drove us back from the airport) we settled in for the stay. First thing on the list - White Castle's. Yes, that's right, the restaurant that features so heavily in the movie Harold & Kumar go to White Castles. Now, while I'm the first to admit that the burgers aren't THAT great, it has become a bit of a tradition that on the first night in Chicago I have White Castles. And for those not in the know, White Castles don't exist everywhere in the USA, rather just in a hand full of states in the middle of the country.

Whilst the taste might not be brilliant, anywhere that you can go in and buy 30 burgers, in what is called a Crave Case, must be awesome in my book. Of course, we're snapping pics of Richie standing in front of the building, at the counter and holding the crave case, and the woman behind the counter asks 'Ya'll from around here?'. They are quick in this part of town!

After the dinner, we headed out to my Mum's old high school to watch a game of high school basketball. Bremen were playing Argo at home and the game was set over four 8-minute quarters. As it turned out, both teams had more cheerleaders than players on the squad, and Bremen finished Argo off pretty quickly in the third and never looked like loosing... though in the battle of the cheerleaders, Argo won hands down... Bremen got served.

Once home, we fell asleep on the couches watching the Lakers vs. Rockets basketball game which went into double overtime... still don't know who won, but Kobe had 56 points...

The next day was a pretty lazy day. Aside from watching ESPN all day, and putting a fist full of photos up on the website, not a whole lot happened during the day. That night however, my Uncle Tom (dad's brother) & Aunt Paula set up massive buffet feast and open bar for a monster reunion. There were 39 adults there and a fist full of kids and babies running around. There were plenty of familiar faces (generally speaking they were the relatives that extended to cousins, aunties and uncles) and even more faces that I had no clue on. They seemed to know me though, and the comment "When did I see you last... was it '92 for the wedding", (me) "I was there, so I guess so..." (them) "My lord, you have grown up so much since then" (me - thinking) "No shit, I was 12, and it was 14 years ago - what did you expect me to look like?"

All in all though, it was a great night, with great food, an open bar, so Richie and I made ourselves comfortable with copious amounts of Corona's. Aside from the food and drink the only thing that really stands out was that argument that Richie and I (then later Dad) had predominately with my cousin Ray that Melbourne was the sporting capital of the world. The debate still rages on...

We finished off early, and left the dinner to get some sleep at about 11pm... why? We were getting up at 445am to go to the Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay game. I'd love to tell you all about that now, but it's gonna take some time... a real long time. In summary, the first beer was at 515am walking out the door, and we got home some time after 8pm... that's a looooong day!

Till next time, when I talk about Bears game, Christmas shopping, Jerry Springer show, Chicago Bulls games, temperatures dropping well below 0, and a trip to a couple University basketball games.