19.05.2011 - 19.05.2011
Thursday 19th May
Okay so first off, if you think you know someone - or have heard someone - snore loudly and you think they couldn’t get any worse… think again.
This Chinese-American guy in the hostel in Chicago hands down will snore them to oblivion. I didn’t see this guy check-in to the room, he must have turned up after I went to sleep, but oh my god. I woke up half way through the night to this incredibly loud, evil guttural noise. At first I thought someone had let in a huge wildebeest and slit its throat to let it die a loud, slow painful death.
I am a good deep sleeper usually. It takes a lot to wake me up and even if a loud noise wakes me, I can go straight back to sleep within a few seconds. But this noise was constant and ever changing. He would splutter, cough, growl…erugh, it was just insane.
A few times I managed to drift off to sleep again but I kept waking up. One time I sat up in my top bunk and saw that there were about five other guys sat up in their beds. I could see their silhouettes in the dark room and a few of us exchanged some words of disbelief at this tumour-inducing noise.
I was feeling more ill now and this lack of sleep did not help at all. I wish I had something to throw at him, I really would have. I considered throwing a sock but I didn’t want to lose a sock into the black hole of his cavernous gates to hell.
I woke up - after lots of on-off sleep - pretty late in the morning feeling pretty lame. My cold was coming in full flow now. The room was empty except for the dying mammoth, still asleep and still sounding like a 747 jet engine. I got up to get changed and on the way out of the room I found myself stood still next to this horrible person (he was on the top bunk). I stood there, with a disgusted look on my face, really quite close to him, mesmerised; how could someone make this much awful noise and either, not have died by now, or not wake themselves up? After about thirty seconds of confused and disgusted looks at him I left and went for some food.
I hung around in the tv room for a while resting and considering what I could do with my day that wasn’t too full on. I thought I’d just stay inside all day to try and get better but at around two in the afternoon I decided to get up and go to the zoo because it wasn’t too far from the hostel.
I went for a shower first to try and perk myself up a bit. Just as I was finishing in the shower I heard another equally-horribly-loud sound, coming this time from one of the toilet cubicles. Someone was having a majorly hard time in there. Erking, grunting and other loud noises that I’d rather not try to convert to type. It went on for the entire time I was getting out of the shower and changed. I had just about finished brushing my teeth when this guy rang someone from his mobile; remarkably, he had a conversation at the same time as his noticeable and loud brawl with his own asshole.
Again I found myself stood there mesmerised. He finished the conversation and his struggle and came out of the toilet. Yep, you guessed it; it was the very same repulsive person that was snoring all night. I was still stood there, toothbrush in mouth, motionless when he left the cubicle and the bathroom straight after that (Didn’t even wash his hands).
Even though I felt like I’d been in a zoo for the past 16 hours, I got my camera and headed out for the real thing; Chicago’s Lincoln Zoo.
The first great thing about the zoo in Chicago is the fact that it’s free. On the map it just looks like a big park; a lot smaller but not too much unlike New York’s Central Park. But unlike the latter’s small zoo, the Lincoln zoo is a fully fledged zoo with all different animals from polar bears to gorillas to tigers. The zoo has several entrances around it that you can just wander into and begin your zooy time.
So, it was a zoo and I saw all the normal animals that you’d expect, there’s no point in listing them all. One thing that I will talk about though, is the apes; the chimpanzees and the gorillas - our closest cousins. I saw a sign with a timetable of feeding sessions and talks etc. I saw that there was going to be a talk about the gorillas and tried to get there on time, but unfortunately I was too late - I only caught the tail end of the questions section at the end.
I did hear one of the zoo officials explain what was happening with the male silverback gorilla and a young male gorilla though, which was interesting. As I watched it happen, the official explained that a young male gorilla (it was smaller than all the others) was challenging the huge silverback. It was funny to watch as the little one would run up to the Big Daddy and poke him or throw something at him. The silverback was pretty patient to be honest. I feared for the little one at first but the big guy was patient, to a point. When he got mad he made chase for a short while, or swung his arms at the kid. The little guy knew to get out of there when the silverback got mad though, he would speed off outside or bounce off a wall if he was enclosed, and get to safety. It was funny and interesting to watch, it reminded me of a teenage boy testing his dad’s patience and seeing what he could get away with. Nearly every boy does it, I know I did. Still, I wouldn’t fuck with a 30 stone silverback gorilla.
Opposite the gorilla enclosure was the chimpanzee campout. I think chimps are fascinating and I love watching them. When you really study them you see just how similar they are to us.
One chimpanzee came over to the glass and sat near me, so I got my camera and took a photo with me next to him. Unfortunately what I didn’t see at the time was the big smear of poo on the glass that ended up covering the chimps face – oh well. I sat watching them playing and squabbling for about ten minutes and then headed out.
The rest of my time in the zoo was fairly normal; I saw all the usual cool animals such as lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). I headed back to the hostel for the hotdog and burger night.
Just before bedtime I remembered something that I wanted to see that was just around the corner from the hostel. Literally just a three minute walk from the hostel was The Biograph Theatre: A fairly small inconspicuous theatre in the middle of a normal street in between the likes of Subway & McDonalds etc. This little old-school-looking theatre was the place that the infamous criminal John Dillinger was shot and killed.
I’d only heard of John Dillinger a year or two earlier when I went to watch the movie Public Enemies in which Johnny Depp takes his role, so I thought I should go take a quick snap. I didn’t think the movie was anything special but I read up on his life at the time and found it interesting. He was one of the most notorious criminals in America and was one of the reasons that the FBI was created. Anyway if you want to know more go Google him or something. After a quick photo of the theatre there wasn’t much more to see so I returned back home to the hostel.
Tomorrow would be my last full day in Chicago as I’d just booked myself a 30 hour-long train journey in two days’ time to go to Texas!