I read this article last week about them opening the McDonald’s headquarters downtown and in the restaurant, there was a menu that was just items from around the world. Immediately I knew I had to call up Mat Stokes, fellow photographer and junk food connoisseur, to go on an adventure. This is the first photo adventure of the summer and in true Maryam fashion, I forgot to bring my camera. But I have an iPhone 8+ and Apple keep telling me the camera is amazing, so I decided to test that theory.

There’s something about the Chicago skyline that still makes me stop in awe every time I see it, I’ve been living here a while now and I still won’t ever get over it. As you walk down Halstead from the Grand blue line stop toward Lake on your way to Randolph Street you cross over a bridge that is stupidly windy but has this wonderful view of the Sears Tower. I stood there for about 5 minutes just drinking it all in. It’s taken a long time to feel at home in Chicago, I always knew the move was the right thing to do, but I now know that this is where I want to stay. I feel like I have roots, but I forget sometimes about the massive journey I undertook in 2015. But seeing the skyline from that bridge took me right back to feeling like the luckiest person like everything was possible.

I’ve eaten at places on Randolph Street a few times, and it’s fine. There are a lot of dogs and very crowded bars. The McDonald’s was great though, it had table service and the food was good. I’m not gonna lie. It was fun to eat Canadian burgers, Australian Fries and Brazilian Ice Cream in the fanciest McDonald’s I’ve ever been to in my life. They change up the menu every couple of months and I know Mat and I will be going when they do, I highly suggest you go on your own fast food adventure.

That area is good for photos. It’s old and dusty and industrial mixed with weird, trendy, bougie bars and restaurants. It was a quick adventure for our first outing, but next week will be slightly more planned and I might actually remember my camera. I love downtown Chicago, I don’t know if this classes as downtown, but it feels like a whole different place. You are trapped in by these tall buildings and I know they used it to shoot Batman and I can see why. I do sometimes feel like I’m in some alternate universe. It’s such a juxtaposition of things, the lake, the big buildings, the beach, the el with trains zooming past all the time. There’s nowhere else quite like it.

YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO BANGERS. I DID AS I WALKED AROUND. There is this one line “And everyday man I’ve been dreaming of escape plans, everyday dreaming of escape” which I used to repeat over and over again before I moved. It seemed apt to walk around listening to one of my favourite UK bands in this city I now call home.