Thursday, February 23, 2012

Up in Bear country....
Hello to all my  Travel thirsty friends - Today is the start of another week of getting down and out in the US of A - A nasty 4 am wake-up call this morning took me from the shadows of Manhattan to Syracuse NY. Syra Who?  I know right! I said the same thing when I found out I had to come here - I thought it was in Upstate NY - which to me sounded kind of cool - a little posh even - I had visions of the Hampton's -  Stately manors in the hills and snowy mountains in the background. I believe that perception was very misinformed - and here is why...
On arrival in Syra Who? I was invited to enjoy the delights of driving a vehicle on what I still believe to be the wrong side of the road - and I believe that while I am greatly improved from my first stint behind the wheel, I am still tempted to turn hard left, and am constantly talking myself out of doing exactly that - my new mantra of Long Left, and Tight Right is all that can be heard in my car when approaching intersections of the foreign kind. Tonight I faced a traffic situation that was until now, un tackled. Back home, we call them Roundabouts - not so in Syra Who...I believe the GPS advice of take the 4th exit off the ROTARY was all I needed to tell Samantha ( my very disturbed and often very misdirected voice activated GPS unit ) What the hell are you talking about...
And then I saw it.....a massive roundabout - not dissimilar to that seen in  the Griswald Family's  European Vacation.. (To be honest - sometimes I do feel a little Chevy when I get behind the wheel ...) Anyway back to the Rotary - long story short - I did navigate the beast -went around twice, before finally getting the right exit and returning on my way to a delightful place of rest for the evening - the Doubletree Hilton Syra Who..Thankfully no crack addicts in sight thus far...
Enough about traffic I have decided to embark on a new challenge - and it involves my love of all things BBQ or swine related - so I googled where the best eats in Syra Who was, and crikey - its a Rib joint called Dinosaur BBQ . Then my dilemma really began - Does a lone female traveler dare to venture out - at night and in an unknown town - not knowing if the crack addicts of the world will permit her to do so without penalty or not?? For the love of Swine, i felt that there was no  other option but to head out, put some pork on my fork and toughen up! OMG - what a crazy place - in a totally great and awesome way of course :) This place is a house like building in the middle of a small urban sprawl - and they don't take reservations, but you do have to register on arrival and then stand around and wait, and wait, and wait....The only telling sign that you have a table is the hostess on a loudspeaker calling your name, and how many in your "party", so you know it really is you. Here it becomes a little tragic really - after a 45minute wait, i hear her call my name - and god bless her, but she just called my name - and didn't scream out to the entire crowd of a hundred or so people, that "Joanne is on her own tonight people - we have a solo diner in the house.." The joys of travelling for work - you get to experience the most extreme level of uncomfort that the joys of dining alone brings - its not for the feint of heart - and for me, takes alot of courage - after all it is really so much easier to just get room service, and hide away from the world that is out there, so that goes to show the level of love that i have for all things swine related - oh who am i kidding - i love food - always have, always will - so who the hell cares if i have to sit at a table and eat dinner alone?! Nom Nom Nom
For the record, the dry rub on this rack, was one of the better racks of rib i have ever eaten. Not since the Swine tour of Memphis in 09 with a fellow Pork lover, have i tasted such greatness, and a crunchy bark to die for!! This eat house is a chain - soon to open in Newark NJ, and with one up in Harlem in NYC so i am happily planning my next return to enjoy another rack or ten...
Syra Who? You have not disappointed me in the food stakes - but if you were a color wheel, then i would have to say that  your town is kind of beige - especially now knowing that on return of my rental car, I was shown a large "key mark" over the entire rear panel of my rental car, by the chipper young man at car returns! Really ? Why would someone do that to a car? Far out - now I have to fill out an incident report...When did this happen they say?? Well how the hell do i know is my reply - I just wanted to eat some pork, and this is what happens...I guess it could have been worse right? At least they keyed the car, and not me. Like a good consumer, i did have Damage waiver cover, so no fees incurred, and onwards to my next destination - Chicago Illinois!!
I have never been to Chicago, so have been looking forward to this leg of my journey for quite some time as everyone I have talked to about it, tells me that its a great place, some great food, and its a really pretty and funky town! Awesome - sounds like a great way to spend a few days. What a shame that i have to spend the weekend here - it seems that flights over Presidents week are so expensive, that it is actually cheaper for me to stay here for the weekend, and then move onto my next destination of Detroit on Monday - rather, than fly me home, and off to Detroit on Monday...Shame that is, a real shame....I guess i have no choice but to suck it up hey? I mean - there are worse places i could be..Syra Who? Anyone?? LOL
So my adventure starts on arrival at Chicago airport - arrival at 8pm, i proceed on the all to familiar walk outdoors, across the road and await the arrival of the rental car shuttle bus, which in most larger US airports, takes renters to their car rental hub, which is usually off site and away from the actual terminal - to reduce traffic around arrivals etc. So without question, i load onto the bus for the company which i have been using for the past 3 weeks, and wait the 20 minute drive in silence - hanging out for a hot shower, and to get some rest...Ahh if only my life was that simple and uncomplicated...not so people - I got on the fricken wrong bus didn't I!!!! Of course, this is the one occasion that the rental car is booked with someone totally different to any company i have used in the past, and so - unable to help me, or even give me an alternate option, i have no choice, but to ride 20 mins back to the terminal and get off, and wait for the right bus..FML..only could happen to me. EPIC RAGE!!!!
45 minutes later, I am driving out in a hot rod car - some kind of Chevvy car that looks like a cross between a hertz and a pimp my ride P Diddy special - i could have had something less "out there" but what the hell - might as well live on the edge right?! Off i go - all that is missing is the Souped up suspension, and some gold bling and I am Gangsterific!! Downtown Chicago here I come!! 
Holy cow - I am driving at night, into a massive city, and its kind of cool!! Chicago has an electric vibe to it - already I know that this place is something special - I could see myself getting to love this place - If only my wolfpack were here to enjoy this with me...thats ok, I am a one woman wolfpack, and will do them proud and Represent..Word..  So, even if i do go off a few wrong exits, and it takes me double the amount of time to circle around and get to my hotel -I dont care - this place Rocks!!! I cant wait to get exploring - something that i will have no choice but do since I will be stranded here for the weekend you know...What a team player I am - taking such a hit so that my employer can save some dollars!!
Tonight, they say there is a massive snow storm headed our way - expect 6-7 inches at least - with massive snow thunderstorms also due to hit? What the heck is a snow Thunderstorm? People - I have no clue, but believe that I will be keeping tabs on whats happening and am sure that some rare and unexpected disaster will occur to me - as most things often do - so stay tuned in the coming days, and I will be sure and let Y'all know! Stay Thirsty my friends Jo  :)









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