The city hasn’t changed much since the last visit. Only the traveller has. The lake front remains in its deceptive calmness, with boats and geese competing for space and attention. On one street corner is a lone saxophonist playing for change. On the other side of the street is a group of barely clad black dancers showing off to impressive hip-hop beats. They have an audience. A few feet away is a gay advocacy group holding up cards and urging pedestrians to get on the move to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois as it is being done everywhere else. (After all, Chicago used to be the third biggest city in the US and thus the next biggest place to gather for such protests).
The other differences are conditional: a summer heat, a working fountain which – according to a guide – was said to have also been donated to America by France (just like the Statue of Liberty). The truth is less direct, of course. Wikipedia says the fountain was only designed by a Frenchman. The Bean of Chicago (actually called “Cloud Gate”) remained where it had always been, eluding contact on the first visit, and still impressive on contact. It’s made of stainless steel although everything else suggests otherwise. But of course, glass does not curve like that and would not have survived so much touch, knock and human contact, so there.
The Abraham Lincoln statue still sits in Grant’s Park, and the Ulyses Grant’s statue still stands at Lincoln Park. Chicago’s park humour. There are a few more: a homeless guy with a sign that says “Why lie. I (just) need a drink.”
Only one of the following is an April fool joke.
- Cougar Village will kick me out of my residence after the 7th of May and I’ll have to find somewhere else to live.
- Mafoya has got himself a car.
- Ben has moved out to downtown Edwardsville leaving the whole apartment to me alone.
- I have lost my wallet with all its cash and cards on campus, and got it back.
- One of my host parents will undergo surgery sometime later this month.
- I have plans to visit Chicago for one more time before I leave this region.
- I have books by four Nobel Prize for Literature winners in my room at the moment.
- I shot a one minute video for CNN on the 20th March.
- A new friend of mine – an American – on Sunday referred to Iran as Irania.
- In response to my letter, Western Union will offer 50% discount for two days in April to any part of the world.
Can you pick it out? You get something if you do Answers coming later today.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
PS: I’ve spent the last two hours deleting old pictures from my laptop since I discovered how much space occupied without need. It was an agonizing effort, I tell you. And for all the effort, I have only managed to free up to 14GB. I can’t say that I won’t do some more deleting later today. The photo above was taken at the Lake Michigan in Chicago. The combination of colours in the shot makes it one of my favourites, and it looks even better on paper. I think I’ll present it to Papa Rudy as a gift.
PPS: The guy in the picture is a paid model.