Boy, was I bitchy about being chilly in Chicago. Low 30s at night. I slept in my clothes and wore everything in my suitcase during the day. Road crews put up "snow fences". Although I love a lot of things about Chicago, like my dear friend Daniel, ethnic foods, and architecture, I don't love the weather. I'm a hot-house flower, Ya'll. I bloom in humidity.
Had a great visit with Daniel in the windy city. We always have stimulating conversations about spirituality and art. He's a very calm, sober-minded man with a deep appetite for contemplation. Our friendship goes pretty far back. To Seattle, where we both volunteered for a queer youth drop-in center, called Lambert House.
I made a point of filling up on foods I can't get in New Orleans. Although we have more restaurants than churches (and there's a LOT of churches), most restaurants specialize in "New Orleans food". If you want variety, take a road trip like me. My first night in Chicago, we ate Pakistani. Then great Mediterranean and real Mexican (not a burrito in sight, which is actually an American food, like fortune cookies). And of course, we ate Chicago Deep Dish pizza.
One night I made dinner, Pasta Putanesca, for Daniel and 2 of his friends, one of whom is quite cute (and may visit me in New Orleans this year. Hee hee. Boyfriends everywhere!) After dinner, they read a script out loud for me in the livingroom while I took notes. After the new year, I hope to direct a play in New Orleans. The title is secret until I'm sure I've secured the rights, which is difficult because the author is dead and the play unlisted with Dramatist Play Service.
The peak of my trip was the Russian Banya, an authentic bath house. Not a gay sex club type of bath house, but the real deal Russian spa for men. For an extra price, they offered to beat me with birch sticks, but I declined. I do want to return some day and be scrubbed down in the sauna by an attendant with a broom of oak leaves. I definitely sweated out my chill. The cold plunge made me "buzzy".
I culminated my wonderful 2-month journey by riding a train they call the City of New Orleans. I even recorded myself singing the Arlo Guthrie chorus, with train sounds rumbling in the background, and sent that recording to a few friends via my cell phone. "Good morning, America. How are ya?"