The route from Vancouver to Norfolk VA is not exactly well-trodden, and part of it led from gates B22 to F12 at O'Hare - Chicago airport conaisseurs are shuddering in sympathy, we're talking 20 minutes of hard walking here. But the quest had its reward, a jewel actually.
Near gate F12, at the end of one of the lesser entrails of the United empire at O'Hare, there is a little food-and-drink joint called "Skybridge", which is staffed by genuine swarthy Greeks and serves genuine souvlaki and gyros and so on, cooked from scratch right there. The attached bar has a genuine locally-made microbrew; let me tell you, when you're flying economy and you have a 70-minute turnaround at O'Hare, and you still manage to get a damn fine souvlaki and a foamy, hoppy microbrew in transit, you can stick a gold star on the calendar. I doubtless exhaled clouds of garlic and onions at my luckless seatmate on the second leg, so whoever you were, sorry.
A word about O'Hare is in order here; too many people have to spend too much time there, but I kind of love it. First of all, the architecture is pretty damn wonderful, full of multidirected light, and there's that way-cool underground passage with the pulsing seventies lightshow and abstracted Gershwin soundtrack, now cruelly disrupted by the drone of the "your-walkway-is-now-ending" safety speakers, damn tort lawyers everywhere. Also, if you go through O'Hare on a summer Friday in the 4-to-6-PM slot, there's a buzz in the air - just about everyone is going home, just about everyone is decompressing, just about everyone has a spring in their step, and that, with the light pouring through, concentrates several essences of happiness.
On my way home, in Norfolk airport (ORF) I parked myself at the Foggy Bottom brewpub, asked what they had on draught, and was instantly transported to the world of Monty Python. "All of them, honey" she said, but of the porter, lager, wheat, and award-winning ale on advertisement, only the lager was in stock. And it was vile: sour and thin. The quesadillas were limp, soggy, and spiritless. Feh.
Hah! O'Hare goes two-for-two on this trip. Another tight connection, another hike back from F to (the near side, thankfully) of B, and what do you know, with ten minutes to spare here's a Wolfgang Puck that can sell me a reasonable pizza and a nice fresh Sam Adams in plenty of time to make th eplane.