|On the streets of Chicago – not my kind of town|
They have a bike share scheme in Chicago too, but there was little time to take advantage of it so I took a photograph of the bikes in a docking station and that was it.
The odd thing was that Clark and Lake put me in the business district (or so I was told) and everything, restaurants included – although there weren't any proper restaurants, just sandwich shops – was closed. I soon discovered I was walking in the wrong direction, but even when a helpful guy in a covered market directed me to the proper downtown, I still hadn't gone far enough and in the end settled for a snack lunch in the Corner Bakery, a shop with more than one outlet in Chicago, where I had a fairly pleasant chicken carbonara and a paper cup full of tea. After that there was little to do other than go back to the Marriott O'Hare and head for the airport. I decided against the CTA for the journey back as I didn't fancy that replacement bus service between Western and Logan Square and instead jumped a taxi. There was heavy traffic on the road for some inexplicable reason, but I got back in good time, retrieved my case and had a glass of Cabernet before boarding the hotel shuttle to the airport – and more hassles.
|Chicago has a bike share scheme too|
But of course there were problems. The American Airlines 767 at gate K13 was going nowhere. There was something wrong with it; so now we've had a faulty door on the AA flight from Indianapolis and an unexplained problem with the 767 that would have flown us to London. We're moved to gate K15 and a new plane, from the hangar, is brought over – eventually. However, the delay has meant that my connecting flight from Dublin to London – not sure if I mentioned the fact that I couldn't fly direct to London Heathrow due to fully booked flights – would be missed, so I had to re-book on the 1145 Dublin to London flight instead and this meant another call to my taxi company in London to reschedule my pick-up. I was getting tired and emotional.
|Three hours out of Dublin, Sunday morning|
We flew out of Chicago around 8pm instead of the planned 6.30pm and I then had a seven-hour, 30-minute flight ahead of me. All pretty smooth and I had plenty of legroom in seat 11b, but only managed to get about an hour's sleep. At Dublin I transferred to Terminal One (a short walk) and after a bowl of Alpen, a cup of tea and an apple I was ready for the short flight to London during which time I had a shortbread biscuit and one of those small bottles of red wine that I love so much when I fly.
At London, fortunately, I was reunited with my suitcase and everything was intact, but I then had the cab ride from hell. The taxi driver – a shifty-eyed individual with swallows tattooed on both hands (which means he's done time) insisted on playing Bobby Darin at high volume and then engaged me in conversation over the noise of the music. It would have been irritating enough had I not been jet-lagged, but as I was jet-lagged it was even worse. At one stage, however, I actually nodded off, but imagine the horror: a drive home through South West London (my cab driver pointing out local landmarks – like Feltham Young Offenders Institute) while the music played and I occasionally acknowledged something he said with an 'uh' or a 'yeah'. I was so glad when he pulled up outside my house. I jumped out, bade him farewell and rang the front doorbell. I was home.