May 21st --A funky city, Chicago--

Chicago was about 1 hour and half from Michigan City. I left at 11:00 and arrived at 11:30. Yes, time zone changed and I got 1 hour bonus. On the way I crossed the state line of Illinois. I kept on the I-94 until the I-290, which lead me to the downtown and the waterfront. It was very hard to find a cheap parking lot in the downtown. I drove around the Grant Park and got to the Navy Pier. Finally I found a parking building there. I put on my rollerblades and got to the pier. I wanted to enjoy a lake cruise, so I visited some ticket booths looking for a reasonable one. Just before I finished choosing one, the clock hit 12:00 and many ships left the pier. The next cruise was at around 13:30. I rollerbladed around the pier for some time. The skyscrapers looked beautiful. After taking some pictures, I went to the Grant Park. It was Sunday and they had some festival. Many people were enjoying BBQ burger on a grass listening to some live music. There are a big fountain in the park. When I passed it by car, I thought I saw water going pretty high, but it was calm now. I sat on a bench and started to eat carrots. After a lunch break, I went out the park and waiting for a traffic light. Just then, I heard a bell of church, telling 13:00, followed by people's scream. I looked back and found the fountain going high to the sky. I hurried back and enjoyed watching, taking pictures and having mists. I waited for it to stop for sometime but it didn't. I gave up and started a city tour.

The Chicago river is flowing in the center of the city, which reminds me the feature of Osaka, Japan. I found Sears Tower, which used to be the highest building in the world. The city was very calm, good for rollerblading around. I went to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which dominates the world market of wheat, corn, and so on. It was Sunday, so I couldn't see inside nor feel the energy of this place.

I went back to the Navy Pier and boarded on a cruiser. It was 60 minutes cruise around the harbor. Water was emerald and wind was clear. I had no idea of why water looked emerald but it looked very beautiful anyway. And this is completely different point from other big cities like Washington D.C. or New York. Yes, they have a waterfront, but the water is like coffee.

On the pier I had some Latte and muffins. When I was enjoying the afternoon tea on the calm lakeside, an helicopter came roaring to the water. It started to demonstrate a rescue of drown man in front of us. Many people came gathering, disturbing my afternoon tea. The show finished in about 20 minutes, and I got back a calm tea time again.

After that I drove north a little bit to the Lincoln Park. I enjoyed rollerblading the bike path along a beach. I took off rollerblades, socks and went into the water. It was pretty chilly and understood why only dogs were bathing. It was about 19:30 and it's time to go dinner. Today, I had decided where to go. My friend in Japan has a friend who runs a burger shop in a northern suburb of Chicago. I went to a city called Skokie and found "Jeremy's Hot Delicious". But it was closed. They had a message saying something like, "We are joining a festival in the Oakton Park. Come and join us." So I went to the park, where they had already finished the festival. I found Jeremy's booth and asked guys in the booth where he was. They said he was out. One of the guys called him and I decided to wait for him. While I was waiting, some guys came up and talked to me in English and in Spanish. It was the first time to have this kind of experience. It may be because people in Skokie or at least his shop are amiable. And Jeremy was not an exception. He welcomed me very much, speaking in English, Japanese, and Spanish. He invited me to a dinner for his guys after the long work for the festival. I really enjoyed the dinner and kindness of people. It was around 23:00 when I said good-bye to Jeremy.

The state line of Illinois

Skyscrapers and a statue at the Navy Pier

The big fountain in the Grand Park

The Sears Tower (bottom left) and other skyscrapers

Lake cruise. Water was emerald

Jeremy's Hot Delicious in Skokie

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