A June 2002 trip
to Chicago by idomeneo
Quote: One long drive through the city of Chicago, in a nutshell.
Because I had a mixed batch by age aboard my family tour, bars, and the like were left out of the question. Instead I visited the museums and took a few days looking around, to get acquainted with the locals and so on. Chicago may be seen for the "diverse" (aka "artsy"), the mainstream, and the drifting nobody. It is a cultural base, very like other large cities in that it is progressive, rather liberal, and big in every way.
When I first came to Chicago it was when I was much too young to remember, so my memory didn't help an inch in my second visit. For one thing, I could not recollect the toll stops. Speaking to the western local, these are stops where every few miles or half miles you are stopped to drop a few quarters into a box before continuing driving down the freeway. This may be a common ordeal for the Easterner, but toll stops are practically unheard of in the West, particularly in Oregon, where we don't even have a state tax (it was lucky, nonetheless, that quarters had started accumulating along the trip).
Next were the people themselves. It is true that nobody can be so radically different than one's own familiar sphere of influence, but each region has its abstract flavor. Chicago residents, so diverse in their own right, are generally well meaning and easy to get along with, assuming politics and social science are left out of the equation. What I found out the hard way was that some can be like bulls in china shops if prodded. This may or may not be much of a question for tourists to consider, but basically it is not an important one in my opinion.
Being away from the West Coast what seemed to me for the first time didn't relieve my experience when I accidentally turned the wrong street and ended up in a dead-end, in the worst possible part of a poor black ghetto neighborhood. Not that none of us have never seen a bum, or the products of these neighborhoods, but it certainly is worth noting that they are not afraid to confront you for money on the sidewalk.
Parking is also another place where the money can sift through your fingers like sand. Because of this, you will either have to make due with expensive (and limited time) parking, walk everywhere throughout Chicago or look for a lone lot behind a neighborhood somewhere, where it is more likely to find your car smashed to bits when you return.
Nothing is truly cheap in Chicago, even the museums where you can spend over hundreds of dollars visiting in a week. But with some wise thought, the most can be made on a semi-frugal schedule.
And take plenty of quarters.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 24, 2006
Chipotle Mexican Grill
3181 North Broadway St.
Chicago, Illinois 60657
Attraction | "Field Museum (The)"
What struck me on first entering was the peculiar smell. This enormous building, because it has held so many artifacts from the past, has taken on an ancient aroma to add to its beautiful atmosphere. There was never a moment when this place didn't surprise me in its authenticity.
The exclusives in 2002 were exhibits on the history of pearls and chocolate. Millions of pearls, from a queen's crown and scepter to the crude, unprocessed thing itself lined the walls. Going back to Moctezuma's Mexico to experience the chocolate of then was fascinating. I remember a model cacao tree inside, this being my chief interest as a chocoholic.
Because I am an artist, I particularly loved the stuffed animal gallery, the "Nature Walk". This is a HUGE gallery filled with exotics around the world. Everything to an artists and animal lovers heart is in here.
Exhibits on culture, science, history can all be found in the Field.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 23, 2006
1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Grants Pass, Oregon