Trip to Chicago last week

March 12, 2008
  • Flights to and from O’Hare were on time. Too cheap to take a cab, rode the train
  • Didn’t bring a separate bag for my laptop. Mistake.
  • 10 minutes after arriving downtown a crazy man whacked me across the chest in a crowd while I was walking across an intersection. I was told it was my fault because I should have seen him coming.
  • Hotel of course had very expensive food and drink. I found a grocery store / deli a block behind the hotel that sells made to order sandwiches for $4.
  • For $5 you can ride for 24 hours on the CTA
  • People in the stores and restaurants were polite.
  • Attended and gave a talk at a conference in the Sears Tower. Never been in the Sears Tower before. The elevators have to be fast.
  • Noticed that when drivers run red lights, they do it right when the lights have turned. At home in Charlotte, drivers run through the lights much later than that, and drive through crosswalks around (and over) the people in them.
  • Homeless people sell newspapers on the street for $1 or more. One stands outside the Art Institute telling jokes. Something official, a deal with the publisher. Noticed that the locals didn’t buy from them, they must snag tourists. I agreed to buy one from another guy, but he didn’t want to give me the paper after I paid him. I insisted, and he finally, with disgust, gave me a copy. This man is ready for a customer service job with a telecom company!
  • The Wrigley Building is famous. Does the Trump Tower going up next to it hurt the view of it?
  • You can’t bring food into the Art Institute, not even if it is wrapped and checked in. I had lunch packed in my backpack. It was suggested that I hide the food outside behind a bush. So, I sat in the lobby and ate before going into the museum.
  • Went to B.L.U.E.S. the night of my arrival. Not sure who was performing.
  • Ate at Giordano’s and the Chicago Chop House. So, that’s a pizza for one or two. Chop House was good, what I expected.
  • Hopper exhibition was good at the Art Institute. People come to see Nighthawks, and by gosh they get to see it. I already had a coffee cup with its image on it. There was also an Ed Ruscha photography exhibit with his well known photos of California apartments, parking lots and gas stations.
  • I was impressed by the Marc Chagall painting The White Crucifixion. Didn’t he forsee the horrors of WWII in this one?
  • American Gothic is of course so familiar.
  • Took some photos of the Loop and environs. Always travel with a camera.
  • Cabrini-Green and its immediate area is becoming mid-scale condos. Wonder where the former residents have gone?
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