I’m finally checked into my hostel and they have free WiFi! I love this country.

FYI, I am currently staying at the Hostelling Int’l Chicago, which is, according to a very seasoned backpacker from Ireland, one of the best hostels in Chicago, so even though I had to sleep in the lobby (or ‘common room’ would be a more apt name for it) for an hour waiting for the very strict 3pm check in, it should be worth it.

But it’s no The Waldorf, that’s for sure:

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Just my luck – I have the top bunk. Don’t know how I’m going to get my fat arse up there without waking up the whole hostel, but I’ll try…

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The view from our room. I am sharing with nine other people.

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They have lockers within the room but you need your own lock. Luckily I have my TSA one.

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Where I have my shower. Not too bad. Hey, I didn’t notice those hooks! Shit, dropped half my clothes on the floor when I was taking my shower. I need sleepp!!!

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The canteen. For 30 bucks a night, there’s even breakfast!

And now, for some pictures of my trip here and the city:

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My ‘carriage’ from the airport to the city. 21 stops, one hour plus.

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This was when we first got on. In about four stops, the whole train was full, much like our rush hour on the LRT, only smellier.

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At first glance, downtown Chicago looks very much like any other downtown in the US (I’ve seen LA and Seattle). But upon further observation, you notice the architecture here is much older. Most of the major cities in the US look the same because they pretty much developed during the same era, so the building materials used and the designs were all sourced from almost the same suppliers/designers. Come to think of it, Chicago looks a lot more like New York, whereas LA like Seattle, where there are not a whole lot of skyscrapers because of quakes.

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This is the Chicago Public Library. It is a beautiful old building with large Roman or Greek columns inside.  Well I just found out that it’s actually NOT old, it’s a brand new (well 17 years old is considered new here) building with an interesting history. It may look a tad tacky from the outside, almost like one of those ostentatious eyesores in Vegas perhaps from recent renovation, but it is beautiful inside and HUGE. Security is tighter compared to Seattle libraries where you can pretty much waltz out with the books and nobody would be the wiser. They asked to check my bag when I exited. Free WiFi as well!

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The Art Institute of Chicago, across which I had my spinach salad and buffalo wings lunch. A busker was playing a mean jazz guitar, drawing a huge crowd.

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 Alfresco is very popular here.

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 As authentic looking as this place was, I did not have the courage to walk in. Maybe tomorrow.

There are tons of things to do here. I see flyers tacked all over the notice board here at the hostel, ranging from bike hikes (with booze) and pub hopping (with more booze) and a skyscraper tour (perhaps ending with booze). Speaking of booze, I’m headed to a little pre-dinner drinks with famous Blogher moms Izzymom and Othejoys et al.

And apparently I should get some kind of door gift from the hostel from Blogher, but I did not. Hmm…don’t these people know what happens when you come between a mommy and her goodie bag???!!! Gonna go see about that…