US Trip: First stop – Chicago

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Stepping out of the plane is all it takes to realize I’m in America. USA is USA, there is really nothing like it!

The second I come off the plane I start hearing this accent everywhere, so loud and so typical. Everyone talks to me, everyone wants to help me or give information, everyone is curious to know where I’m from and they always think “that’s sooo cooooool” sounding too enthusiastic about it. “Is it really that cool?” – I keep thinking.

I go through passport control and the policeman thinks it’s weird that I have such a small bag for so many days. He looks at me very suspicious for a couple of seconds and finally concluded that I was no threat to his country. Gladly.

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View from Hancock Building – 93rd floor!

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I went straight to this bar to meet my friends. I had to catch 2 buses and 2 subways (here the tube doesn’t exist). I found out that riding public transports in Chicago can be very entertaining. I’ve never seen so many fat and ugly people in the same small place. Unbelievable! You never see people like this in Europe, I swear! I’m pretty sure the definition of fat has different standards over here.

First thing one thinks is ‘shit poor guy must feel so bad’. Nop! That doesn’t happen. They enter the subway proudly holding their XXXL McDonald’s menu, breathing very loud and sweating all over (the weather wasn’t hot). And then they give you a big smile that makes you feel bad for judging. Or, if you get one of those badass ‘bros’ you probably get the “wha-tha-fuck-are-u-lookin-at” face!

Anyway, I got to the Big Star bar after an hour. There’s a huge line to sit outside, everyone seems super happy with the waiting. There’s a microfone shouting the order numbers. There are people asking everyone for ID (even people looking like they’re 40 have to show it) There’s music, hipsters and a lot of good looking people. Apparently this is Wicker Park. 

The food, as expected, was basically tacos, fries and burgers. But good ones! The idea of friends sitting at a table does not really happen here, people just turn around and start talking to people in other tables. Everyone’s so nice. Especially with us, my backpack draws a lot of attention. By that time I already felt good about being in the US. 

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The Bean

Chicago is a cool city. Very american, with roads and avenues that never end, huge skyscrapers and the so called suburbs all around the center. There’s public bikes everywhere, we could ride all day. The cars seem to like the bikes, they slow down when they see one and they’re super patient with foreigners causing traffic by trying to figure out which direction to go (every street looks the same).

But the coolest thing is definitely the beach. Lake michigan looks exactly like the sea, the sand continues along the drive way, separated by a huge path where everyone is jogging or riding a bike. There’s traffic of people here. So many people playing beach volley and doing exercise. This is clearly the hangout place for that 0,0001% of healthy people in this city. It’s nice!

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I feel like Chicago is the real America. It’s inland, there’s really no foreigners, only truly americans. There are all sorts of local franchisings always full of hungry customers, cool small shops with super good prices, friendly people and nice bars. I like it!

In what concerns my gastronomic experience, so far I tried a weird beer called IPA (tastes like apple but it doesn’t). I tried almond butter, a gigantic bagel that had everything you can imagine in it, and huge oyesters for 1$ each. I tried fish taco, which i still doubt if that was fish. Every thing we order comes in XL portions. Everything in america has to be big. Everthing!

But I like it!  

Next stop: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 😃