Monday, June 22, 2009

Greetings from Chicago!

The first leg of my journey is about to be completed - a one-night stay in the great American city of Chicago. I stayed with Daniel, an old friend of mine, in an amazing apartment building in Hyde Park - The Suzanne.

My backpack straps look a little lopsided - I'm working on that - but in reality, it's probably me who's a little lopsided this morning. The weather here is unbearable after the dry heat of Colorado - muggy, hot, and sweaty, especially in the third-floor room I slept in last night. Daniel just moved in yesterday, so I had the opportunity to try out my sleeping bag for the first time, but since it was about 90 degrees in the room I was in, it was hardly necessary.

Yesterday I had the privilege of picnicking on Lake Michigan, yet another beautiful inland lake. I'm always amazed by the ocean-like scenery of the Great Lakes, their vastness, yet it's nothing compared with the vastness of Baikal. In fact, the water from all five Great Lakes wouldn't fill Baikal to its current levels - that's because these glacial lakes' depth pales in comparison to the mile-deep basin of the mountains. (Lake Superior is 1,332 feet at its deepest - Baikal, 5,315.)

One cold shower and a cup of city coffee later, I'm now enjoying the cool air conditioning of the UChicago library, grateful for my new perspective on the internet (a privilege, not a vice), and preparing myself for the next spurt of travel, a 10-hour flight sequence on Malaysian Airlines from here to Stockholm. I'll leave you with one more picture.

Here is Daniel, in my now-abandoned cowboy hat (can't wear both the hat and the backpack - something that wouldn't have occurred to me when I bought it), wearing a shirt with a Swedish-speaking squid, who says: "One language is not enough." On the Tyrannosaurus rex's backbone, it says, "staircase." On its teeth, it says, "hedgeclippers." And on its jaw, it says, "cranberry."

I'll leave the interpretation up to you. See you in Sweden!

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