Saturday, May 13, 2006

Blues Brothers


It must be something to do with cheap accommodation. Last week, I stayed for a night in the HI Chicago hostel. When I arrived in the city and rang them, they said they had no vacancies that night. Uh oh – I didn’t have anywhere else to go! I started walking from the station to find an internet café or tourist information point, and eventually found an open Starbucks, where I found on the web that there is only one hostel in downtown Chicago. Uh oh indeed! Carrying on walking, I actually came upon the HI hostel. I thought I may as well ask the front desk whether they had room, and he phoned up to reception: “do we have a male bed for tonight? Uh huh… right… OK. I’ll send him up”! I took the LAST BED in the hostel, as someone had cancelled.

Anyway, once I got to the room on the third floor, I noticed a shadowy structure outside – it was the “L”, the elevated train. Most cities took the initiative to bury these relic transit systems underground, but in Chicago this never happened. So all that was missing was for me to be wearing a suit, cover my face with a bowler hat, and be woken up by the smell of toast.

In the spirit of déja-vu, I’m staying at the Chicago International Hostel this weekend, which is halfway back to Wisconsin in the suburbs. Lo and behold, as soon as I got to the room, what did I see? An elevated train line, taunting me! Great. On the plus side, it has a kitchen (a bugbear of mine regarding most hostels) and, even better, free wireless internet!

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