Saturday 5 November 2016
Whilst enjoying a glass of wine at the hotel in LA on Friday night I got a call from Steve letting me know that the All Black’s game was to start at 3pm Saturday, not 7pm as we had all presumed. A few phone calls to change the flight was a very costly process.
Arriving in Chicago and knowing that lockers have been removed from the airport I went to the Hilton Hotel where the bell boy stored my bags for a small bribe.
The blue train line took me into town then the red south to near the stadium. The footpaths were nearly as crowded as a Tokyo train station as sixty plus thousand people made their way to the game. Meeting Steve at the RV we headed into the stadium – a slow process as bags were searched and bodies scanned.
The game was underway as we took our seats three rows back from the field at Soldier’s Field Stadium. Being really close to the field we got a great view of the game, especially as most of the first half was played in All Black territory. In fact by half-time we wondered if we were actually watching the real All Blacks.
After half-time we saw a glimpse of the All Blacks in action. Ireland then took control again getting a well-deserved win.
After the game we caught up with a few friends outside the stadium and headed north with the crowd for a while, then getting a water taxi a few miles up to the city centre. The first stop was Harry Carey’s, lots of green jerseys and smiling faces.
Chris and Nadine who we visited earlier this year had come up from Florida.
We soon moved to Howl at The Moon. Here a very serious Irishman told Steve “nobody beats Ireland 29 times in a row”. A rather loud but skillful bunch of musos played an assortment of instruments.
Some of the group headed home; Jack, Steve, John and I headed up town to Kingston Mines.
With a queue of a hundred or so at the door we headed instead to the Green Mill where the band enjoyed their music so much they played with their eyes closed. No talking was allowed. When Steve pointed out that the band was enjoying themselves much more than we were we moved on.
We shared an early morning meal before parting. I caught the blue line train back to the airport at about 3:30am. The carriage was fairly full; one well celebrated Irishman made a rush for the door at the next station.
A man from Afghanistan told me how he had been working for the US and was hurriedly given US citizenship when he became a Taliban target and promptly moved to the US. Here he hates it and just wants to go home to his village in the mountains.
As the train arrived at the airport the call “last stop, everyone off the train” came over the PA. Over half the people in the carriage never moved. I realised they were homeless who must stay on the train during the early hours.
I gathered my bags from the Hilton and arrived in the terminal just as the lounge opened.
Well done Ireland!!