Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Day 0: The Windy City

The day got off too a good start this morning when I found that some kind sole had left a breakfast voucher in my room! So having made use of that, I set off for the airport to find out if there would be a seat for me on the flight to Chicago.

I was in luck, and got a good seat towards the front of the plane. Result!

The young lady sitting across the aisle from me had obviously taken part in Sunday's London marathon, and on talking to her I discovered that she was not just any athlete, she was none other than Amanda McGrory, who had won the lady's wheelchair event. Twenty six and a bit miles in 1:48 - that's quick. She seemed very nice and it was interesting talking to her; hopefully the first of many interesting people I'll meet over the next few weeks.

Other than that it was a quiet and uneventful flight, exactly how you want it. I managed to watch a couple of movies that I hadn't seen (The King's Speech and Social Network both good in their own different ways), and managed to fit in a snooze in between.

On arriving in O'Hare airport I had to wonder if the US Authorities would rather that foreigners didn't visit at all. Immigration was so slow and painful. Nearly 2 hours after landing however, I was pleased to see my bag on the carousel, and treated myself to a taxi ride to the hotel, rather than take my chances on public transport.

I've had a few hours looking around the vicinity of my hotel, which is on Michigan Av - the Magnificent Mile, full of high end shops and restaurants. Gillian would love it! From what little I've seen, it seems like a nice city, and one that warrants a further visit some time in the future. It is very cold though, with snow and sleet showers forecast for tomorrow. Less than ideal; I hope it warms up quickly as I head south!

So tomorrow EagleRiders will pick me up from the hotel and take me to their office, where I pick up the bike, and the journey begins in earnest. It's 8pm here, but for me that really means 2am! Time for a quick bite to eat, and then off for an early night. Until tomorrow then, but in the meantime here are a few pictures to prove that I really am here.....

 Old (for the US) buildings seem to mix easily with the newer skyscrapers.

 Yes, it's me, and it really is as cold as I look!

More tall buildings make for an impressive skyline. Chicago boasts 3 of the 5 tallest building in the US, including the Wallis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), which is the tallest of them all.

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