In Jacksonville, IL
The strange customer, part I
I had to ask three times before I understood what the girl behind the counter in the coffee shop asked me (she must have thought that I was either completely deaf or exceptionally daft, maybe I’m both): she just wanted to know if I wanted a flavour added to my coffee, like vanilla, hazelnut or liquorice. This was quite early in the morning, and a coffee with a flavour is something I rarely yearn for, and especially not at that hour. So I rather fervently, but kindly and politely, turned this offer down. I asked though to have a blueberry muffin since I was a little hungry and lunch was quite far away. The girl looked at me in amazement: “You sure? The blueberry muffin has a blueberry flavour“.
The strange customer, part II
Since I was in Jacksonville for a festive occasion, I wanted to offer my friends some wine at dinner. We were in the local Applebee’s, a well-frequented place it seemed, the big restaurant was full. I couldn’t spot any wines on the menu, so I asked the waitress, who kindly pointed them out. But there were no prices, all other items had prices, only the wines didn’t. I called the waitress again, and she informed me that a glass would be “around seven dollars“. I was a little surprised at this somewhat vague indication, and did they really all have the same price? Never mind. We were a party of five, so I wasn’t really considering getting glasses of wine but rather a bottle, so I asked for this information. For the second time that day I had a surprised waitress in front of me: “I never sold a bottle before!”
Most commonly seen dog in Jacksonville: Pomeranian.
In Springfield, IL
The bewildered passenger
It was a warm and sunny morning, and I was to take the 9:55 am train back to Chicago. I arrived early at the station and sat down on a bench in the shade, looking at the one and only track and observing the few people who were moving about. At 9:55 there was no train in sight, but I waited patiently (unusual behaviour on my part). However, half an hour later I did start to become a bit impatient, so I went inside and asked the man at the counter if he had any news about the 9:55 train. “Yes, ma’am, it’s expected around noon“.
Back to another bench, since the first one was now in the sun. The most exciting thing that happened before the train actually materialised was that the longest goods train I ever saw passed the station, whistling almost constantly, giving me a sudden flash of the Wild West. It must have had at least 100 wagons.
Two sights that I somehow got a bit too much of during my long wait:
Most commonly seen car in Springfield: Volvo. This may have something to do with the fact that there was a Volvo car dealer on the other side of the tracks.
In the end I arrived safe and sound in Chicago, with a three-hour delay. My planned sightseeing couldn’t happen (I wanted to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright home and neighbourhood), but that will have to wait for another visit.