Trip to Chicago (November 2000)

 

Here are some pictures from our trip to Chicago in early November. Vince had to be there for work, and our poor friends Kumi and Elliot had to put up with Manori for a whole week and with both of us over two weekends. We had wonderful sunny weather to start with and it rained buckets during the week. That is Chicago for you, at least we missed the snow that came the day after we left! Below are pictures of our very patient hosts, and some pictures from the woods behind where they live.  

Kumi and Elliot woods1 woods2  

Can you see the shadow of our plane as it was landing? Chicago suburbs as seen from the sky and a blurred image of us hitting the town. Chicago lies near the great lake Michigan, it looks more like the sea than a lake. Chicago is called the windy city because of the constants winds from the lake, and we did experience a bit of that famous wind! And also a couple of pictures from the famous Union Station (we didn't see any gangsters there, just some very sleepy people).

 planeview1  planeview2 blurred group

light house planetarium union station2 union station1   

Chicago is a great city- contrary to what you see in movies and TV. The whole city was burnt down in the fire of 1871 (legend has it that it was started by Mrs. O'Leary's cow which kicked over a lantern- but they say this story was concocted by those who didn't like the Irish), and have been rebuilt with wonderful works of architecture. There is a mixture of styles, some very classical and some very modern. Chicago was the first place in the US to develop a high-rise centre surrounded by suburbs, and the skyline is a sight to see. 

skyline1 m&v2 reflections lake michigan1

Below are pictures of the Chicago library and the tall structure next to it is the Sears Tower. The view from the observation deck of the Sears tower gives the best view of the city, if you're lucky enough to get there on a clear sunny day. The Sears tower is the second tallest building in the world after the Petranas tower in Malaysia, but the tallest if you count the occupied space. It's over 1500 feet tall (a phone call from the ground floor to the top 110th floor can be considered long distance). Manori was lucky to have a beautiful sunny day to go up the tower- better still there were hardly any tourists, which meant no queue!

library library and sears on top of sears sears9

The city lights up beautifully at night, unfortunately we only have a couple of night pictures. The little piece of art below was on the Chicago Tribune building, and is originally from the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Below is also a picture from the Chicago Board of Trade, the little coloured dots you see are the traders in their colourful jackets. Chicago is the world center for commodities, futures and options trading.

night scene night scene2 Piece of Notre Dame ! trading 

There are lots of things to see and do in Chicago. The Art Institute has a great collection of European art, and other contemporary art, although you need a whole day to see everything. Manori got herself a city pass which got her into the main touristy places and saw lots of dinosaur and other typical museum stuff at the science museum (great for kids), lots of fish in the brilliant aquarium and even had a trip to the planetarium. There was a special sea horse exhibition at the aquarium, and the leafy sea dragons were rather eye catching. All the while she was enjoying being a tourist, poor Vince was hard at work. Mind you, he didn't have to brave the horrible weather! 

aquarium fish sea turtle shark leafy sea dragon1 leafy sea dragon2 leafy sea dragon dinosaur called Sue 

The conservatory in the Lincoln Park is very well kept and is a wonderful place to go to on a very cold day. It's so hot and humid inside. They have some beautiful orchids there, and even some Kandyan dancers (these are indigenous orchids from Sri Lanka that look like traditional dancers from Kandy). 

Conservatory group photo k & m Manori of the jungle

m&v Kandyan dancers Orchids Orchids

Grant park lies along the lake shore, giving Chicago some greenery to compete with the concrete jungle one would associate the city with. There are squirrels galore, but these are very urban squirrels, they go to McDonalds for lunch. The rabbit was outside the zoo in Lincoln park (another green area- although pretty gray in the winter), there is a bit of controversy about who actually took this particular picture, but we won't go into that now. The deer live in the woodland area around the research centre where Elliot works, they are called European fallow dear and are totally white. Elliot swears it's nothing to do with all the funny research going on in the site!

Grant Park grant park2 squirrel eating chips rabbit white deer 

Chicago also has some very good restaurants. We went out with some of Kumi and Elliot's friends one night for a meal at a restaurant along the Chicago river. It was also Kumi's birthday while we were there, and we went for a meal to celebrate. Elliot's look of disbelief on his face could be due to the strange conversation we were having at the dinner table???? And we couldn't resist some cake for afters.

k & m group photo birthday meal birthday cake 

We have some more pictures from the trip still in the analog cameras. They'll go on as soon as we get around to developing and scanning them. Kumi and Elliot have put some of their pictures too on the web; Have a look . And finally, have you heard about the saint of StarBucks?

St. Vincent

 

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{Last update : MT 15th November 2000}