Fish are weird. If you stop to think about it, fish are really, really weird. For one there’s so many. Fat, thin, big, small. Some that eat other fish, some that eat anything they can fit in their often cavernous mouths. Some that never stop swimming, others that anchor themselves like miniature party boats before the trip to Bedfordshire. They look weird, they smell weird, they move weird. Don’t even get me started on coral.

Regardless, there’s something about watching the little buggers in their plastic prisons I find cathartic. Relaxing. Perhaps it’s a superiority thing; “Eat that you aquatic freaks, you’re in there and I’m out here, huzzah!” Perhaps it’s the lavalamp effect of repetition and flow. Perhaps it’s a gentle envy, a wish that life were as simple as deciding which way to circle a tank. Whatever it is, I do love a good aquarium. Thankfully, my most recent stop obliged me with a cracker.

Third largest city in the US, famed for it’s architecture, history and pizza, Chicago was the fourth stop on my maybe coast-to-coast tour and yet again it’s a city that has confounded expectations. If New York is tall, Boston open and DC wide, Chicago is…layered. You’ve all seen the new Batman films and doubtless some will know they were filmed here. The dual-level thing really does exist. Every street has a younger brother to stand on or cousin to shadow. Add to this the elevated train system, the subway, the bridges…layers everywhere. It’s also shockingly pretty: from elegant Wacker Drive besides the river lined with proto-skyscrapers and architectural splendour, to Millennium Park, home to Anish Kapoor’s famous “Bean” sculpture.

After a day spent happily pounding the streets a change of pace was in order. Thankfully the world renowned Shedd aquarium provided just that. The good folks at the dolphin show even elected to include me in their performance, and I got to meet a real life dolphin. In person. His name was TK and well behaved he was not. As I hesitantly appeared beside his trainer he retreated to the opposite side of the pool, leaving me mildly offended and the poor trainer at something of a loose end. He did eventually return to sing me a song on cue and splash me vigorously about the knees. He wore a look of smug disdain I found to be altogether unsavoury. His splashing was entirely too enthusiastic also. Had his trainer left us alone I would hardly have hesitated in giving him a fresh slap across the beak.

That was that. Another city falls under my unstoppable drive West. I’m very much looking forward to my next stop, being as it is Greenham’s new joint in Colorado. Plans remain vague but it’s going to be a change of pace for sure; it looks like I’ll be staying for at least a few weeks. After two weeks of solid sightseeing, walking and eating an equal amount of time enjoying the simple pleasure of not working will be very much appreciated.



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