I have just come back from Chicago, where I spent a week with my younger son. While I was there, I made a wonderful discovery! When flying from Asia to America and vice versa you can pay to have another suitcase. Sorry all you in Europe, but to other destinations from America you can already have two 23kg bags free. I discovered that you can have up to TEN bags if you want. Not cheap -- $200 a bag to Asia -- but oh so useful!!
I only had a week, so I didn't have time to do much shopping when I was there, but I am always well prepared for this. Beginning a month before I go, I start doing online shopping, and have the stuff shipped to my son in Chicago, and pick it up when I get there. He goes through paroxysms of embarrassment, apparently, when all these parcels start arriving, but I just ignore it, or remind him of all the stuff I am bringing HIM from Japan (Like, for example, 5 kilos of Japanese rice!!!)
So this is what I came home with:
4 slow cookers (not available in Japan -- but the voltage here is almost the same)
(two for me, in different sizes, the others for a couple of friends)
One pop-up toaster (can get them here, but this one was SO cheap!)
Various bundt pans -- not available here
Silicone oven glove
6 boxes of Ziplock bags (because although they are available here, they don't have the small one pint size. American pints are smaller than Imperial pints -- did you know?)
12 pairs of pants (knickers!) -- of course available here, but the Japanese posterior has a different design to mine. Haha
Large number of T-shirts
Two dresses (cheap summer bargains)
An autumn weight jacket
Light brown sugar (strangely, although they have wonderful dark brown sugar here, they don't have light)
Corn muffin mix
Tapioca for pies (American recipes almost always call for this)
A Brita drinking bottle, plus 12 replacement filters)
12 Brita Classic filters for my jug (SO expensive in Japan!)
About 10 heavy books (more on those another time)
A Saveur magazine -- my favourite American cooking magazine
Two Mother Earth magazines
Three Joseph Joseph Double Dishes (Have you seen these? Great for olives etc, when you need somewhere to throw away the pips) Two are for presents
Bags and bags of Mexican spices
A tray thingie to put your laptop on
Sorry, this is getting a bit long. I could go on forever!
I got one extra bag, so altogether three check-in bags, one carry-on and my computer. My son moaned all the way to the airport. In the end we had a fight about it. He does it every time, and I don't really understand why. It's not as if I am cluttering up his place with stuff!! Is this a man thing?
I had a great time. One of the things I did was to go around Oak Park, and visit Frank Lloyd Wright's house. Truly amazing. The weather was perfect and I also did a 90 minute architectural boat tour up the Chicago river. I think I like Chicago better than New York. the buildings are quite beautiful!
Back to school tomorrow
I was in Chicago earlier this year and really enjoyed my time there. Sadly I was only there for a week and most of my time was spent attending a conference so I only had 1 free day to explore further afield. I did manage to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo and go up the Hancock Tower for some expensive cocktails.
My girlfriend gave me a shopping list of various foods to buy, mostly 'fun' foods which aren't readily available in the UK, such as Payday bars (we love the sweet/salty peanut flavour) and some of the different Betty Crocker frosting flavours (unfortunately when I got them home she turned out to be allergic to one of them!). I went out with a half-empty suitcase and it was full to bursting when I flew back.
As to the american pints being smaller - I noticed that in the pubs. Luckily the bar nearest the hotel was an 'English Pub' which served proper sized pints . Another great thing about chicago is the range of great beers available from all the different local breweries.
Visit my blog for food, drink, photography and hamsters.
I lived in Chicago for a few years when I was young, was born near it, and was nearby (in American terms) when I was at university. I remember visiting the zoo when I was little, and the museum of science and industry (agriculture is an industry in the US, so there was an incubator hatching chicks which I always loved visiting!) and the Art Institute where I got my love of the Impressionists (my mother took me to see a few pictures on each visit, always including some pictures of little girls, I remember a Renoir and a Rembrandt in particular), and the Oriental Institute Museum and the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Hyde Park (the Robie House). My parents were both from Chicago, so there were also visits to relatives. One of the early skyscrapers was designed by some sort of relative of my mother's. I saw my first Japanese garden there, too. There is so much there, and I haven't been there for over 40 years now. This is partly because it is too cold in the winter and too hot in summer and there are other places where relatives and friends live to visit instead.
Sansho, I find shopping tempting in the US and have to be careful how much I bring back from the US! This summer I was pretty restrained, brought back lots of memories, not much else. Daughter brought back a lot--she was the one ordering books and CDs in advance for delivery to my brother's house, and getting so many clothes she needed her brother to fit some into his suitcase.
Yes lots of good beers there I am told, but I don't like beer! There may be good ciders there now, too, but not in those days...
blog: Devon Garden
We found out about the different pint sizes in the US to the UK, when we spent two years in the US, took us a while but finally worked out why American cars did such poor mileage to a gallon of fuel even for similar cars to Europe.
It is funny what we bring back from different countries. I brought back cornflour, vegemite, milk powder, baking powder and brown sauce. Baking powder and milk powder are available but a bit hit and miss and make good store cupboard basics.
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