I am huddled in a corner in my hostel room attached to the wall because my phone needs charging and bundled in a blanket because it is about forty below zero in here. Seriously. It is life-endingly cold in here. I would sit in the lounge downstairs which is warmer but I am attached to the afore mentioned wall.
Today I pushed myself to physical limits never experienced before. By that of course I mean that I walked all day in the sun and forgot to eat lunch. But I’ll get to that.
Today was an exercise in having short conversations with people you don’t know to prevent yourself from going insane due to overexposure to your own thoughts.
In the morning at breakfast I sat down with a French-born, English-raised, Iraqi-descent, American doctor. He wondered if I would join him to visit some museums but it was far too nice a day to spend all day inside and anyway I was looking forward to my first official solo day in Chicago.
I caught the bus to Lincoln Park, which was impressively easy thanks to my googling the night before, and headed off to the zoo.
I spent most of the day in the zoo avoiding large groups of schoolchildren, commiserating with other solo zoo visitors about when the schoolchildren were going to leave, and talking to cute zookeepers about the difference between llamas and alpacas. Oh, and taking pictures of animals.
After four hours at the zoo I had seen every animal they had (with the noted exception of spiders and cockroaches which I have no interest in looking at, thank you very much) and so I went to the conservatory to look at some plants. It wasn’t until I sat down to look at my map that I realized I really needed to sit down. I sat for fifteen minutes and then realized I hadn’t eaten lunch. My poor body was in a state. So I walked toward the beach in search of food.
I found my food, and the beach, sat down in the surf and read Catcher in the Rye for a while, then headed back to my hostel (without getting lost once, look at me) whereupon I discovered that my lack of sunscreen lead to a burn on my shoulders. Because I am a smart person.
I had a solo dinner at a nice Thai place and now I am holed up in my hostel room. Freezing.