Saturday, 12 November 2011


21st October 2011 - Chicago

We travelled to Chicago on the 21st October to Silvia's cousin Isa and her husband Gus. In the evening we went to 'El Nando' for an Argentinian dinner, and the went to Blue Chicago to listen to a blues band.

On the Saturday we went to celebrate our friend Diedre's birthday. We started by going to the top of the Hancock's tower to watch the sunset. Then we went for dinner, and finished at another friends parents appartment.

Monday, 26 September 2011

First Live Football Match

Michigan Wolverines v San Diego Aztecs

Wolverines Helmet
Aztecs Helmet
Saturday 24th September we made the long trek to Ann Arbor in Michigan to see my first ever live American Football match.
We had to leave home at 4am on Saturday morning, and then drive from Illinois State, through Indiana State, and on to Michigan State. The drive took 8 hours, with several stops for caffine (Coffee), and myself and my friend Tim taking it in turns to the the driving. Silvia and her friend Carrie had the best of the deal. The put the back seats of the car down and made a bed in the back using a duvet, pillows etc, they then proceeded to sleep all the way to Ann Arbor.
We only had 2 tickets, so Tim and myself went to the game while Silvia and Carrie went shopping.

Ann Arbor City

Ann Arbor is in the State of Michigan and has a population of around 113,950. It was founded in 1824, and was originally known as Annsarbour. The early settlers to the city were British, however later settlers arrived from Germany, Ireland, and African Americans.

As you can see from the down-town picture above, Ann Arbor could be any city in England (Except they drive on the other side of the road).

View inside the Stadium
Ann Arbor is a major City for college sports notably at the University of Michigan; a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Michigan Stadium is the biggest American Football Stadium in the world, and is known as the "Big House".

When we arrived the stadium was already full. We had seats on the half way line and had a great view of the whole stadium. The atmosphere in side the stadium was electric, and  many events were taking place, marching bands, gymnastics, banners, all manner of entertainment. The crowd was officially confirmed as 110,707. This is almost the population of Ann Arbour, and the whole population of Peoria City.

The game started and Michigan soon had the upper hand with Denard Robinson getting the first touch-down in around 5 minutes, he again had a 2nd and 3rd touch-down before half time. Eventually San Diego got one touch-down, but Vincent Smith wrapped up the day with a 4th touch-down for Michigan making it a 28 to 7 victory on the day.

All during the play there was coordinated chanting, clapping, and Mexican waves. The atmosphere was so different to an English Soccer game which I had been used to in the past. It was a wonderful experience, and great family fun.  Behind me was a Canadian who was also at his first game, and I was very happy to hear his friends explaining the rules. By the end of the game I knew most of the rules, but have to admit I still had big problems with violations and penalties. Not only did I have a great day, I also visited 2 new states in the US, Michigan and Indiana, bringing my total to date of 8 states.

Below is some of the action from the game including a picture of the 1st try by Robinson.

1st touch-down by Denard Robinson

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cardboard Boat Race - Peoria

 3rd September 2011 – Cardboard Boat Race

We were invited to represent “Carrie’s Carp” in the Ivy Club’s annual Cardboard Boat Race. After many discussions we came up with a team theme of Girls in Belly Dancing beads, and Guys in blue tee shirts. I was to be “Official Security” and would be dressed up as an English Bobby (Policeman).

We arrived at the Ivy Club at 12 noon, and placed our boat on display to allow visitors to take bets on how well we would perform (All money went to charity).

I stood guard as security, and threatened any viewers with a “Violation Ticket” if they touched the boat. We had some team photo’s spoke to the press and made our last minute changes to ensure we were ready for event.

Around 2pm we walked the boat to the dockside chanting, “Who let the Carp out” along the way. We placed the boat into the water, and our team Captain and Sailor climbed aboard and waited for the starting signal.

The gun sounded and Carrie started rowing like a madwoman, but there was a stiff head wind, and the other teams had 2 men crews. After a good start, Carrie slipped back into 3rd place, however she was not out of it yet, she put in a final monster effort, and significantly reduced the gap between the leaders, eventually Carrie came in a close 3rd.

Pictures from the Day.