Chicago: What’s With All The Honking?

August 10th, 2008 by Potato

Chicago is a much bigger city than I had imagined before coming here — bigger than Toronto, even.

The time change has already had one “gotcha” for me: I went down for the opening reception and was an hour early.

From walking around, I can see that Chicago is a city gone mad in a number of ways. The roads and trains and whatnot are all over the place: above ground, at grade, and underground. It still doesn’t seem to make the traffic any better. People honk all the time. Every single light change there’s someone honking somewhere. With all that honking I think the drivers here must just tune it out, so if someone tries to drive into them by changing lanes without looking (which happened to me on the way to the airport — time to take the license away from somebody’s granny!) they probably wouldn’t even react to the warning honk and just plow on through. Last night I saw 15 cars run a red light. A number of them were still running the red when the light for the other direction had already turned green. At that point, the cars running the red were all honking at each other, and some people were honking at the cars that did finally stop for the red!

That said, Chicago does have some nice architecture, as I recall reading about in The Time Traveller’s Wife.

I went out last night (Saturday night) looking for dinner around 11 pm, and almost everything was closed down. Today was no different, with most stores and restaurants being closed for sunday. The famous Uno and Due pizzarias were open, but had lineups spilling out onto the sidewalk.

The internet is working, and there are no cockroaches, which is a huge step up from San Diego. I should mention that the wired internet keeps crapping out, but there is wireless that seems to be working better. With a US IP address, I can finally check out, which is how I spent my Saturday night here :) The hotel room is quite nicely furnished and laid out, however there’s no sound insulation from what’s going on in the hallway, so I could hear the maid knocking on everyone’s door in the morning. I think I’ll have to break out the earplugs tonight.

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