Well, I got here just before the rain! I managed to make my flights, after fighting with TSA in Oakland about not taking off my shoes and walking barefoot where thousands of people had walked before me.
I remember many years ago when my grandmother walked barefoot in Reno during a heat wave and came home with athlete’s foot, which spread to her hands. She had to bandage both hands and feet for many weeks and soak them in Epsom salts. I don’t want the same thing to happen to me.
But TSA were not very sympathetic and tried to tell me I could not fly unless I took off my shoes and walked through the scanner barefoot. I held my ground and they kept me waiting, called for security (definitely playing a waiting game with me…), and finally gave in. I was subjected to a pat-down by a woman who felt everywhere looking for who knows what. They went through my luggage, wiping it down with special paper disks
that look for chemicals, and finally let me go on, after about a half hour.
I guess I shall have to buy some socks and walk through shoeless (but who’s to say you can’t hide something in your socks??)
When I got to Denver I was a bit worried because there was snow on the ground, despite the strong sunshine. I sat by a big window, basking
my bare feet in the sun, watching the workers on the tarmack, and was happy to see sunshine and clear skies in Chicago.
But by the time I got to the hostel, showered and rested a bit, it started raining, so I’m sitting here at the hostel, writing and
planning the rest of my trip.
It’s a wonderful hostel, so I’m glad I came. It is right downtown and the Elevated subway train passes right by the window of the second
floor dining room where guests eat and use a communal kitchen. Tomorrow night a group of students studying Culture and Psychology are coming to meet with any travelers who sign up for pizza and a discussion, and Saturday morning there is a two-hour “stroll Chicago.”
The room is very spacious, the shower is clean and there are lots of things to do, like a pool and ping-pong room, library, TV room and
other activities. I will be glad to get out tomorrow morning to follow the “Chicago in a day” tour and perhaps visit a few museums, see the Sears Tower and learn about the history of the city.
I want to learn about the 1968 Democratic Convention that took place here, so I still need to do some research on that.
Sunday I’m off to Notre Dame University for the Symposium on Teaching and Learning Indigenous Languages of Latin America and Wednesday night I’ll head to Minnesota to visit a long-time friend from my study abroad in Spain in 1980-81.
I’ll be back in Sunny California Sunday November 6th!