Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Great American City

AON in Chicago
Originally uploaded by amsterboy
It was somewhat accidental that I ended starting my summer holidays from Chicago last week. KLM offered a cheap deal and we thought it would be an easy way to get across the Atlantic. Before travelling, I did not give the city much thought. I always thought New York, LA, San Francisco and even Washington D.C. would be more interesting. I mean what do you think of when someone mentions Chicago: pan pizza and Al Capone, lately also Barack Obama.

Little did I know that in a day I would fall in love with Chicago. I loved the fact that its urban planning is based on a complete different notion than ours here in Europe. It is OK to make it big. The picture captures the idea well: green meets high.

My new top list for Chicago would be:

1. Millennium Park: Best display of public art I have ever seen. Great pieces which attract the public to touch and have fun. The fountain projecting faces of people of Chicago into it was swarmed by children, especially when the fountain spit high-pressure water out of the mouth of the projected person. The flower garden captured in the picture and the Pavillion by the great Frank Gehry really make it worth visiting. And hey, I don't mind at all that most of the art was paid by Wrigley and Boeing.

2. Bongo Room: the best and biggest pancakes I have ever had with constant refill of coffee in a design resembling a kindergarten. Friendly service just on Wabash (1152 S Wabash Av).

3. Sky scrapers: Chicago knows how to make it impressive whether it is Xerox, Sears, AON (see pic) or parking lots in the shape of corn cobs. It was rather funny that yesterday we went to see the fantastic new Batman film Dark Knight only to realise that it was filmed in downtown Chicago.

4. Oprah: I mean come on. In the hotel room our every morning started with her, filmed just around the corner. Somehow Oprah is like the beacon of what Chicago is about in its optimism, upbeat and freshness.

Yesterday Chicago, today chaotic but hope-driven Los Angeles and tomorrow blitz of Las Vegas. I love America.

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