Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I just got back from Chicago and I heart it. Feeling the humidity and seeing the diversity, the Great Lake, and the tall buildings all brought back memories of Toronto.

Here are just a couple quick stories about my trip: I went against my better judgment and went swimming in Lake Michigan with some friends one afternoon. The Drake Hotel was right next to the beach, so the view of the lake was tempting, especially once we found out there was no pool at the hotel. There was a lifeguard and a plethora of others swimming, which helped to subside our fears of big factories dumping chemicals into the lake for years; and, I also knew from my public policy class that nowadays, thanks to the EPA, most lakes are fishable and swimmable. But I was still worried. It's kind of a weird feeling being more worried about swallowing water than you are about stepping on glass or thorns on the beach or about drowning after a massive wipeout with a wave. It's probably because there's nothing worse than getting a lump in your throat—a cancerous lump, that is.

I also had a fun experience of finding out just how expensive a cab ride can be. I was taking a cab from Chicago out to Naperville and found out a few miles out of the city that it would cost about $90! I found that out about $30 into my ride, so I had the cab driver drop me off at a gas station on First Avenue and Harlem and called my friend, Bryce, to come pick me up.

The cab driver dropped me off in a pretty run down area. It's probably nicer in the daytime. I wasn't scared until I realized I was the only white guy in the neighborhood and that I had a laptop and a few bags with me. I was a sitting duck. I kept my cool, but it was hard to when the Hispanic gas station attendant behind six inches of bullet proof glass kept shaking his head, looking at me, saying, "Wad are jou doin' hir? Jou're di' olny why guy hir. Jou gonna get shot, mahn! See di sign ou-side? Dey shot da polis hofficer. He wassa why guy, like jou. Dey shohis dog, too. No respec, mahn. If dey do dat to hjim, wad dey gonna do to jou? Jou prolly gonna gayshot, too. Issa bad nyeborhood, mahn." And after this manner did he speak unto me, insomuch that I did begin to be exceedingly frightful, lest at any time I should be brought into bondage by some unknown party, and they should slay me.

Anyway, despite the scariness, I have thought about moving to Chicago next summer for an accounting internship; but, I'll still have to see how everything pans out. In the meantime, here are some pictures from my trip!

Giordano's deep dish pizza was a must. It was like a party of cheese inside of my mouth.

This is Cloud Gate, a giant metal bean in the middle of Millennium Park. They had tons of cool activities going on around the park so I spent a lot of my time here after the conference.

This is the picture I took of me reflecting off of Cloud Gate.

These fountains were pretty sweet. There are two towers opposite each other in a plaza with faces of ordinary citizens of Chicago. The faces are on giant television screens and they blink, move their eyes, wiggle their noses, and smile. Every twenty minutes, the face moves its lips together like it's about to whistle and it shoots water out on to the ground. Little kids are waiting outside in hopes that they'll be able to get squirted. It smells like dirty little kid sweat and feet all around the fountains. After the fountains finish, the throngs of tourists disperse to different attractions while more tourists and passerbys grab the vacated seats and wait for a spew minutes until the fountains go off again. P.S. Is it just me, or does the guy spurting water on the left kind of look like Joseph?

There was a really nice theater in the middle of the park where they held free concerts every night. I went to an orchestra and choir concert one night and to an opera concert the next night.

The Sear's Tower – If I work in Chicago, I'll be working a couple of blocks away from the tower.

This is me in front of the Art Institute of Chicago. During the summer months they have free admission on Thursday and Friday evening. It's always cool to see the original of a painting you studied in an Art History class.

The Shedd Aquarium – The aquarium is located right on Lake Michigan on the Museum Campus. They have three or four beautiful museums right next to each other. If I had more time I would've opted to buy a City Pass so I could've seen all of them. In one of the museums they have a German U-Boat that the U.S. captured during World War II and you can walk through it.

There was about an hour wait to get into the aquarium, so the museum had workers bringing different types of animals outside to entertain the people in line. I wanted to get a picture with the blowfish because its head is bigger than mine, yet smaller than Kent Norton's.

There was a pretty sweet dolphin show at the aquarium. "Do you know ze dolphin?" They also have beluga whales there, but they're not very hot, so sorry, no pictures.

Me at the 4-D theater waiting to see a short film called Planet Earth: Shallow Seas. Water sprayed in my face every time a whale surfaced and blew water out its blow hole. They also had a little weed wacker thing under the seat that would hit your legs when it showed sea critters crawling around on the ground. It showed some clams that would electrocute their prey and the seat would vibrate every time the clams would shock. But the best part was when it showed giant sea snakes swimming through the ocean. It looked like the snakes were coming out into the audience. It was pretty intense–a little girl even started crying. As people were beginning to squirm in their seats a pole, about an inch in diameter, that was in the back of everyone's seat poked the audience and everyone screamed. You got me!

On Saturday night I saw Wicked for the first time. It was incredible! I think that the women that played Elfaba and Ga-lin-da had the best voices I've heard on Broadway.

Worlds collide in Chicago? Me with Bryce Gandy, my roommate, and Jordan Binning, the elder that I trained in Toronto. They were so kind to take me around Chicago and to the airport. I also wanted to thank Bryce's girlfriend for taking this picture for us.


Carrie said...

oh man--Giardano's pizza is the best in the whole world--I am totally convinced!! This post was so fun to read because I heart Chicago as well and have great memories of many of the same things (Shedd Aq. dolphins, the Art Institute, and seeing Wicked) What a fun city--if you end up working there I will try my best to come visit you :)

Bryce said...

My girlfriend... haha!

Michemily said...

I love the post. You write so well. Anyone who hadn't been Chicago would want to go and anyone who had would want to go again. The thing about you being the only white guy and therefore eligible for shooting was hilarious. I'm glad you made it through.

Bobby said...

Hahaha! Sorry Bryce, I couldn't resist!

Krista said...

wow bobby. I had a lot of catching up to do. Is that for real with the aquarium. That would be spooky. I would probably be the little girl crying too. Wouldn't it be cool if you interned here and johnny went to school here too? hmm. we shall see. It looks like a really fun city.

Krista said...

and yes that pic looks like Joseph to me.