Friday, 16 October 2015

At The Edge of Paradise. Part Three: CHICAGO

So here we are....actually where are we again?...Oh yes Niagara falls. Come to think of it I'm not at Niagara Falls I'm sat on my laptop in London. For anyone just needing a little heads up please feel free to see Part One here and Part Two here. At the Edge of Paradise. Part Three: Chicago (And grab a brew while you at it as it's a bit of honest long post today, eeeeek!)


With a nice kip at Shiva's had we were up at dawn already ready, geared up for the next super destination. CHICAGO! Now as the wife started us off on our duo quest from New York it was only fair that my turn was up. The full reins of the american hot summer open road and the feelings of freedom were all awaited to be mine. Sounds perfect right? Now me being a bit forgetful at times, I stupidly forgot that to get us to Chicago we will probably have to drive on a motorway. Just one little problem I hate driving on motorways. The Route 66 I had envisioned in my mind would be a beautiful long narrow dual carriageway lane not a monster of a broad freeway. Of course the Route 66 starting point is actually in Chicago. (that's the bit I forgot to factor in. Duh!) So basically I really did not want to drive on that American freeway. Having said and thought all this when the wife rhetorically asked 'You okay to drive', I immediately smiled and said yes.


Now sat in the driving seat still in Shiva's car park about to leave we set off. Sat navigation doing it's vital job perfectly positioned at my eye view. Along the smallish roads out of Niagara we go with my inner voice telling me 'I can do this' whilst somehow managing to fight the dreaded embedded demons who were repeatedly telling me 'I can't do this'. The start of Anxiety dooming.
My visual appearance was okay....we were fine. Everything was fine. Away we are now on the actually motorway with the behind fast moving traffic approaching. Wifey then said 'Increase your speed as we will need to change lanes' (Wow I remember this so vividly) and as I'm about to increase my speed my legs begin to tremble, my hands are suddenly dripping wet, my eyes are blurring with heavy lids tightening shut, 
my heart is pumping at a speed I've never honestly encountered before and I physically feel like I'm losing control. To top it all off A MAHOOSIVE BEAST (TRUCK) IS CLOSELY BESIDE US BLOWING HE'S TRUMPET AND I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS. I AM GOING TO DIE, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, YOU ARE GOING TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND OVER THIS BRIDGE AND YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. YOU WONT EVER SEE YOU LOVED ONES AGAIN THAT WARNED YOU OF THIS VERY MOMENT YOU ARE GOING TO DIE! The demons WON. 

A full blown out of body panic attack....I was crying. Now the wife not probably knowing at the time what to do kind of screamed at me saying 'Stop slowing down!', 'What are you doing!'. I think I was definitely below a safe speed and from her seat I was a huge F-UP. My shocking actions now understandably shocking to her. Next thing I know we were off the free way and I no longer had the reins anymore. Phew! We weren't dead however both of us pretty much shaken. Me in bits and wifey pretty much angered by me. I think we just encounter or first proper hurdle (Not finding the subway in Part One: New York seems so minuscule compared to this) and our first let's say altercation now existed.......Minutes passed me now demoted to passenger with wifey in rein back on the open freeway. Silence. None of us talking. My attack now leaving having lasted at a guess five minutes (but felt like an hour) I really wanted to speak to my mum at this point, instead I phoned my dad not caring about how much the call would charge and consideration of the seven hour time difference. I just needed to speak to a love one at this point and I genuinely wanted to go home. 

I spoke to my dad and not wanting him to worry I didn't actually mention to him our near just had death experience. I think the child in me just wanted to hear a familiar loved voice. Dad conversation done and 30 mins of silent driving endured Wifey pulled up into the nearest safest service station and asked me frankly 'What the hell just happened?'. I explained 'I have no idea' and we slowly started to defuse the situation by talking. I apologized for practically ending it all and she listened but still not really fully understanding how and why I did that, which if I'm honest at the time infuriated me. I didn't have the answer because I didn't know myself. Now me and the wifey never ever argue. I think that was the first one in about 60 years, (literally forever) I mean it just something we never did beforehand hence why we would be great travelling parts. I tried to describe that I felt detached from my body and I had overwhelming sense of fear. We sat and spoke for a while with her offering to drive us to Chicago. The clock ticking with 7 hours to go ahead of us (and not breaking our not driving long distance after dark rule) we set off on our not so merry tracks somewhere towards our far destination.

Hours later we reached safely in Chicago. Prebooked accommodation easily found, parking from a friendly passerby found. We made it. All down to Miss Shaziye Ali my best friend who just drove over 7 hours (with a stop off) I am extremely lucky to have beside me along this journey that we unknowingly decided to embark on together. Neither of us could of preempted my panic attack but she not only told me it will be okay she said 'We can do this together' (OMG I'm actually crying writing this). Are we insane? No one is forcing us to delve deep but maybe that situation was meant to happen, maybe an angel is looking after us and maybe they want us to learn a lesson because that situation actually made our friendship stronger. We were in this together and that was that. She could of easily of said well 'Don't expect me to drive the entire trip love!', or told me I let her down but she didn't. Of course inside I did feel like I let her down and truthfully that I let myself down. I failed the first test in the driving seat.
Arrival.The sun had set once we had piled all our belongings into our new amazing accommodation Mile North Hotel, only a bleeding 5* hotel found online through an amazing deal (and still within our room budget). Highly recommending this sweet hotel with a luxury Starbucks coffee shop in the reception (I mean C'mon). The timing couldn't of been more fitting.
Mile North HotelExactly what we needed for the next three nights. A soft bed (sorry lodge Shiva's and hostel Leo House) and thick fluffy pillows. We headed straight to the posh hotel rooftop bar in our raggedy sweaty travelling clothes as we really didn't care what dishevelment had become of us! We politely wanted a drink now! 'Two large white wines please', 'Coming up' said the rather model like bartender. One or two sips later and exhale.....After the best night sleep ever we were off out to explore the town of Chi aka Chicago.
Magnificent Mile

This place felt like an opened american film set. Not one spec of dust or dirt in sight. So clean and polished. Everything perfectly propped in place and huge in our new town. 
Lake Michigan
Late night shooting hoops. Basketball.
Mile North RoofTops.
Night Night Chicago.
Cloud Gate. The Bean - SkiWe drank, danced, walked, ate lots of ice cream, sung in the streets, dined, found a perfect cheap Thai restaurant that we kept going back to, shopped a bit, ate more ice cream, got stuck in with the locals (Lot's of locals striking up a conversation - Where are you from? etc), sight saw and slept. 
Big Fairgrounds.
 More incredible memories made. This post is for my angel and for Shaziye Ali. Finally Route 66 can begin.......Heading Deep down south.
We Were There. 

To be continued...........

A post I know I will look back on when I'm 95 and say we did that.

 Many thanks for reading. 
MY LOOK
MY STYLE 
FLORA MARIA
xx



















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