America’s Middle Child

Chicago is in the middle, both geographically and symbolically. It has the expectations of New York but strives for the fun of Los Angeles. It has both and neither.

Run Warwick Castle

Running to see places is great in that it combines both exercise with tourism, and one can see sights more in depth from the ground rather than from the second story of a double decker bus. Yes, I do arrive at somewhat crowded places wearing bright synthetic shirts and sweating profusely, but it also creates a nice halo of space around me at all times as most people don't like to touch visibly sweaty people.

The Unpronounceable City: Edinburgh

The highlighted cultural activity in Edinburgh was the Scottish Museum of Modern Art. Some of the art was questionable, but some was absolutely fantastic, especially the neon words at the entrance (perfect after reading The Dharma Bums by Jack Keruac), and all the work by Victoria Morton, especially Dirty Burning.

Fish Bread

The Hagia Sophia The one place Davinia and I really wanted to see was the Hagia Sophia. It was originally built as a Cathedral in 537 AD, and about 1000 years later converted into a mosque. Now it is a museum, and easily one of the oldest buildings I have ever been in. It is the type of place you can feel when you're inside of it, it is a place where so many people have been looking for spiritual guidance that you can't help but wonder about the millions of stories held within the walls.

Timur’s Revenge

The Chorsu Cafeteria under a shashlik smoke-screen I have had a number of students from Uzbekistan while working in Almaty, and three of them had advised me to make sure I try both Samarkand plov and Tashkent plov. The main difference between the two, in theory, is that Samarkand plov is cooked with the rice separate from the meat and carrots, whereas in Tashkent plov it is all cooked together. Blinded by the incredible goodness from the Samarkand bazaar plov, Saranna, Eli and I anxiously ordered bowls of plov in the Chorsu bazaar. The Tashkent plov was notably different, probably because no one else in the complex was eating it, unlike in Samarkand where we had to wait for a table because everyone within a mile radius was eating the delicious concoction.