My budget hotel in Chicago was a trip. It was an out of way, off the beaten path, seen better days kind of place.
My Iraqi cab driver and I got to know each other well in our search for it as he didn't know where it was and couldn't find it. At one point, we were laughing so much, he pulled over and turned off the meter while we made calls to get directions. Great guy.
When I arrived finally, I was greeted by a guest in the lobby walking around with no pants but a knee length overcoat. I tried not to stare. He seemed to be a very happy fellow.
Folks there were very friendly helping me navigate the huge wheelbarrows of plaster and rolled up carpets in the lobby and hallway. There appeared to have been some kind of major damage or incident. No one talked about it.
Another guest seemed so excited to meet someone from Oklahoma. She was from Wisconsin and wore a jean vest pinned with hundreds of commemorative pins from all over America, though she was most anxious to tell me about her trip to Italy.
Attempting to be frugal, I walked the two miles from my conference to my hotel last night. Late. Dark. Interesting collection of others enjoying an evening walk. Lots of dogs. I saw a donut shop, ducked in and walked the remaining distance with my hand on a day-old donut ready to negotiate with any beast I encountered. Exciting night.
Today, I had donuts for breakfast and hired a cab.
The hotel provided a shuttle to the airport today and their driver was excited to tell me about dialects and prided himself in recognizing accents. After a few minutes he announced he'd pegged my accent. "Your accent is native Chicago!"
Actually, I'm born and bred native Oklahoman. And in spite of enjoying my adventure, I look forward to being home, y'all.