Renegade on the run?
Real live wire in the cross fire ridin’ shotgun.”
Day 1- Hattiesburg to Chicago via Louis Armstrong airport, New Orleans.
So as I said, this blog is a continuation from my birthday post! (https://lisalaceberrie07.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/drink-plenty-im-turning-20/) When I awoke on my birthday at 8am I was still intoxicated. I woke up and lifted up my duvet and thought “I’m in yesterday’s clothes.” Then I decided to get up, which turned out to be an awful idea because my head was killing me. I remember talking to Elizabeth and saying something about how awful I felt and I sat and moaned on the sofa about it. I’ve had hangovers before (or so I thought) but my word my head hurt so much, even people talking was painful to listen to. Jana insisted on making me drink Coca-Cola which I avoided for a while and just lay in my bed. I was supposed to be packing to leave for Chicago and I was slow getting to it. I was experiencing deja-vu from my 19th birthday- travelling hungover- but this was much worse. (I’ve not got drunk since). I had cake for breakfast with Jana and Elizabeth and eventually set off for the airport at 2.30pm. I was excited, Chicago has been on my list for a long time and its painful only visiting the airports of various cities so this was finally my chance to see of America’s most iconic cities!
My friend Alvaro (referred to as “that beautiful man” by some of friends back in England) was also travelling to Chicago and was on the same flight as Elizabeth and I. We all had dinner together at the airport before boarding the plane. The flight was fine but the airline we flew with were pretty poorly organised and we were sat on the plane for an hour just waiting to get OFF. That’s the worst bit about flying to me- that wait to get off the aircraft once you’ve landed. It makes me feel claustrophobic. Elizabeth and I were staying in a hostel downtown which was a fair way from the airport so we had to get the train to LaSalle. Unfortunately this service also had delays so I spent this time reading the book Jana bought me for my birthday. It was cold in Chicago too so that wasn’t quite so fun. At one point I got stuck in the train door which was funnier to me because the exact same thing happened on my 19th birthday trip to Edinburgh but it was Amy that got her rucksack stuck in the door. So maybe it was karma for me… We eventually found the hostel at in the early morning hours and the clocks had gone forward an hour so we were awake talking until 4am. We were sleeping in different rooms and the timing made it awkward because we didn’t want to wake up our roommates.
I said nothin’ about sellin’ your soul
Call it what you will
If you start to feel out of control
Day 2- Site Seeing in Chicago.
We decided to do a free walking tour provided by the hostel of some of the sites the city had to offer. The tour was pretty interesting. It wasn’t too cold in Chicago but I was prepared in winter clothing so I wasn’t feeling the cold too much. We found it funny that the tour guide was saying how nice the area was and then started talking about the local prison- which was large and close proximity to our accommodation. The tour lasted for two hours and after it we decided to get some lunch at Starbucks and meet up with Alvaro. I love travelling with Elizabeth, we both get on well but we both enjoyed Alvaro’s company– variety is the spice of life after all. I love Alvaro, I think he’s great and he’s always a lot of fun- drunk or sober. After this we headed towards the Cloud gate sculpture which is shaped like a bean. We had a lot of fun taking unconventional selfies; me looking like a pauper standing next to my friends with their huge Canon cameras and me with my tiny Samsung digital camera and iPhone 4. We then walked on towards Millennium Park and the surrounding area in which Elizabeth insisted on going down the slide and me taking photos. I really enjoyed working with such a quality camera again, photography is a lot of fun and I wouldn’t mind having one of these bad boys for myself- I just can’t afford one right now. The photos I took of Elizabeth were great, I was really proud of them. We’d done a considerable amount of walking by this time and my ankle was still giving me great pain but I wasn’t about to let it ruin my trip. We continued to walk as a group towards Lake Michigan. As you’ll see in my photos, snow was everywhere in Chicago! The lake was completely frozen and it looked amazing. I was in awe and got snap happy with my filters on my phone and camera.
Next, we walked to the Skydeck Chicago which was very busy. The views of the city were incredible, I’d only been there a day and I knew that this was a city I would want to re-visit in the USA! I technically live in the country at home so visiting the city is always exciting, most likely because I know I can leave. I think visiting an observation deck is a must when in big cities, it’s not only iconic but also a unique view. This particular tower has a glass floor where you can see directly how high you are standing under your very feet. Simply amazing. After this we parted ways with Alvaro and went back to the hostel to charge our devices and get directions to the restaurant Jana had recommended. I love that girl so much, she’s SO cool. She’ll get a blog dedicated to her soon. Anyway, we headed out to try the infamous pizza at Giordano’s and it didn’t fail to disappoint. We were both very hungry but we were over ambitious with our appetites- we’d brought garlic fries to share before that. We went with BBQ chicken pizza, if you know me you’ll know that this is my favourite pizza a thousand times over! It was so thick, basically like a pie and it was literally swimming in BBQ sauce. I never thought there was such a thing as too much BBQ sauce until this meal. I enjoyed it though, even though the waiter kept coming to our table every five minutes. I get you want a tip but we didn’t invite the staff to dinner too. We headed back to the hostel around 11pm and hung out in the common room for a while before heading to our new room, in which we were in the same one this time.
Burnin’ the road like it’s never been down
I’m breakin’ out of this town like a renegade
So baby get ready to RUN
Don’t want to go down like the settin’ sun
So let’s break out of this town like a renegade
Can’t wait another minute
I’m right here ready to run!”
Day 3/4- Site seeing from Chicago to New Orleans.
Monday morning we had to be all checked out by 11am. We were both extremely tired so we skipped the free breakfast, packed up our stuff and headed towards Lincoln Park Zoo since it was FREE! This involved getting a train again and a lot of walking. I’d stopped wearing my bandage since the airport. My ankle still hurts now but its manageable- my leg just gets lame towards the end of the day if a lot of walking is involved. We went to McDonalds for brunch on the way to the zoo and then headed over to the zoo itself. It was HUGE! I was impressed. They had kangaroos for one and lots of other animals including giraffes and camels. It was very surreal seeing these types of animals in snowy environments. Some of the monkeys were trying to eat the snow which was amusing to watch. I wasn’t expecting such good quality for something that was advertised as free! We spent a good few hours there before we headed to Starbucks as my leg was really hurting by this point. There’s definitely something wrong with it but I’m hesitant about forking out on American health bill. When you’re accustomed to the NHS, it’s hard to want to pay for healthcare unless you feel like you’re “knocking on heaven’s door.”
After this, we got the train back we got dinner at Panda Express and chilled out at the hostel. We decided to “rough it” as we’d done that before on previous travels but we were smart enough to hang out in the crowded common room which was safe. We played pool, did social media and I read whilst Elizabeth slept. We finished off the rest of our pizza around 1am on Tuesday morning and got the train back to the airport. The ride back was disgusting, there were many homeless people on there, one of which had wet himself in his seat. We witnessed one guy beg for money to get home only to literally exchange it for a cigarette and suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about the state of homelessness in the USA anymore. It was 3am by the time we arrived at the airport but we were in a good mood; singing theme tunes to songs of our childhood such as Tots TV and Rosie and Jim. I was just drifting off to sleep on the airport floor with my bag as a pillow when customs opened so we got that out of the way and headed to the gate. I was painfully tired that as soon as we got to the gate I lay on the floor, tied my scarf around my face and tried desperately for sleep. It was working until Elizabeth saw me and about died laughing at me and all the strange looks I was acquiring. The older I’ve got, the less I care for others opinions. And I was so tired! I eventually went to sleep on the chairs at the gate and got breakfast at Starbucks at 7.30am before boarding the plane back to New Orleans.
Day 4- New Orleans.
My best American friend Maddie picked us up at New Orleans at 10.40am. The weather was the opposite to Chicago- it was so humid that I made to change my top immediately and the torrential rain didn’t help the weather situation. We got lunch at Subway and then went to Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. It took us ages to find in the torrential rain. I was actually getting a bit scared driving in seriously bad weather conditions but we made it to the zoo in one piece. Sadly the rain didn’t subside for long and we didn’t get to see a lot of animals because not all of them were outside in the poor weather conditions. I bought an umbrella in the gift shop which was a wise move on my behalf. We had a good day despite the weather, Maddie bought me a cuddly toy giraffe when I was looking at the baby alligator tank because I’d been banging on about how cool giraffes are the whole day and how much I wanted to see them again. I was really sad the elephants weren’t out, they’re another favourite of mine, mainly because my university best friend Radhika is a Hindu so they remind me of her since she has them in her bedroom. Anyway after the zoo we went to New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company which had the most amazing food! We got two desserts to split between the three of us which were also delicious. Food, unhealthy food that is, in both sugar and starch forms is something the USA is tremendous at. The world’s best at in my experience! I slept the whole drive home to Hattiesburg and it felt good. Elizabeth and I watched the Christmas special of Miranda once we’d showered at my apartment. It was very good! I miss England so much, in ways and on levels I never thought possible! The next morning we were headed to Florida to our friend Marlena’s beach side condo.