This is quite a diversion from my otherwise mainly Asian escapades, but taking things chronologically, my next significant trip last year was to the USA. I had been to Chicago before, so this time was less about seeing the sights and more about going to a wedding and catching up with friends and their dogs. I really love the city and recommend visiting.
One interesting part of this trip was my solo journey from Kuala Lumpur to Chicago, via Shanghai. I use the word “interesting” purely in hindsight, to be clear. It was severely dull at the time. I believe it took about 37 hours in total, including a 2 hour delay on board the plane at KL airport (ugh), 6 hour flight to Shanghai, overnight in an airport hotel, then a 14 hour flight to Chicago. I remember the time zones bamboozling me and totally destroying my body clock, as I was due to take off in Shanghai around 12 noon and land in Chicago approximately one hour later, local time. The time difference was about 13 hours, so basically completely upside down and back to front. It seemed like a lifetime of horrible plane food and bizarre movies, but I was very happy when I finally arrived!
In Chicago we went to a wedding – a weird one for me, as I hadn’t met the bride or groom before (they’re Joe’s friends, I’m not the world’s most dedicated wedding crasher) so I won’t write too much about their wedding here. Their photographer did use us as models (or you might prefer to say dummies) for the official photos though and look how cute we are! I’ve also added a couple of snaps of us dancing because I think they’re quite funny.
We stayed the whole time with my friends from Northern Ireland who moved to Chicago. I visited them in November for Thanksgiving a few years ago, which is when I did more of the tourist things (and a 5K on Thanksgiving morning, a.k.a. the turkey trot).
One activity which I was happy to repeat again was the architecture boat tour on the Chicago River. You get loads of great views, some information about the history of the city and famous buildings that make up the skyline, and this time (June) it wasn’t freezing! We also went to see two different shows – one was called ‘Ms. Blakk for President’, about America’s first drag queen presidential candidate (it was as fun as it sounds but also moving) and the other was “She the People”, a really funny (and all female) sketch show, which was also brilliant.
I love a walking tour anywhere, so we did one of those focussed on the gangster history of the city, drank wine, ate pizza and played with my friend’s adorable dogs.
We then went for a few days to Milwaukee, which was about 3 hours away by car in the neighbouring state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee is known for a few things, two of which are beer and cheese. The timing was pretty good for me, as I didn’t drink beer before moving to Malaysia, where I’ve acquired quite the taste for it on a hot aftern… evening. And I’m still not a fully fledged vegan, despite my occasional efforts, so I fully indulged in the cheese as well. We went on two brewery tours – the Lakefront Brewery, which was fun, quirky and served fries with beer cheese sauce (as good as it sounds), and the Pabst Brewery, which gave a more historical educational tour, and also served beer and cheese.
All hail the queens of cheese!
On the way back to KL, we stopped for 6 days in China, so that’s up next!