This is not a travel blog but let me tell you a little bit about Chicago...

At the end of my last post I mentioned I was currently in Chicago in the USA. While this is not a travel blog I do want to share my experiences in this amazing city so far and the reason I came here in the first place...

I arrived in Chicago on Thursday night last week after a 30+ hour journey from my home in Melbourne, Australia. The reason I'm here is to participate in an animal training workshop, run by world-renowned animal trainer Ken Ramirez, at the Shedd Aquarium. The 5 day workshop starts tomorrow (Monday) and around 30 people, mainly from the USA but also other parts of the globe, are attending.
Here's a brochure about the workshop
For last three days I've been getting to know the city of Chicago and I must admit, I'm a bit in love! The architecture (especially the Gothic!), the weather (warm with sunny blue skies), the skyline, the sights, the people and even the coffee (well, in one shop at least) have really left an impression.

REAL coffee in the USA!!!
I'm blown away by how friendly people are. People actually say "hello" and "good morning" to you here! This morning when I left the hotel to walk to my favourite coffee shop; Intelligentsia (where they make REAL coffee!), I counted about five "hellos" and "good mornings" from complete strangers. As a tourist I really feel at home here.

Taken just outside my hotel looking down S. Michigan Avenue
I've spent hours walking around downtown Chicago admiring the buildings and taking in all the sights and sounds. The city is really clean, full of cultural diversity and literally crawling with people! This weekend the Chicago Air and Water Show is on. Lake Michigan is teaming with and boats and yachts of all shapes and sizes and jet planes scream as they buzz the Chicago skyline, including my hotel!

Yesterday I did a 'Hop On, Hop Off' bus tour - a fantastic way to see the sights. I learnt of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which destroyed almost the entire city which, at the time, was constructed mainly of timber. Chicago was completely rebuilt and is nicknamed "The Second City". We drove down the Magnificent Mile where, we were told by our guide, most of the shops are lucky to break even due to exorbitant rent. Other landmarks we saw were Navy Pier, the Museum Campus, Millennium Park and the Chicago Theatre.

Chicago Theatre
Today I walked to the Museum campus, where Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum are located. I spent a couple of hours exploring the museum and learned all about Sue, the largest and best preserved fossil specimen of a Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found. Sue was named after Sue Hendrickson, the Palaeontologist who discovered the 90% complete skeleton.

"Sue" the T-Rex fossil at the Field Museum in Chicago
Well that's a taste of my time in Chicago so far. Over the next few days I'll post about what I learn and who I meet at the workshop at Shedd Aquarium. Stay tuned!



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