May
30
2010
1

Welcome to Chicago

We flew into Chicago on Tuesday evening, after catching a midday flight from Seattle (where we’d spent a few days visiting our friend Ted).

View from plane, somewhere over Canada.jpg

I got a window seat which was very cool. I love aerial views. I’m always trying to remember what I learned in geography, like oxbow lakes (formed when a meandering river takes a shortcut).

Hazy Chicago skyline.jpg

I also got a good sense of how Chicago is laid out from above.

Looks very green.jpg

Lots of trees.

Tall towers copy.jpg

Couple super tall buildings. You can just see the top of the Hancock building, the black blob peeping out above a white building on the left, and the Sears’ Tower, the big black blob on the right. We’re looking towards the east in this photo.

Bus-ing over highway in an aeroplane!.jpg

Once we had taxied over the train and car highway (very bizarre) we were quickly off the plane and greeting Duncan by the baggage collection. Then we went to get on the “L“, (equivalent to the Underground), which mostly goes overground or above ground here – L standing for elevated.

Transport highway.jpg

The line which runs out to O’Hare airport runs up the centre of a 4 lane highway. It is a bit full-on standing in the middle all that.

Duncan waving small.jpg

And here is a detail of Duncan’s goofy wave in that last photo.

It is hot here in Chicago. Actually a bit hotter than usual for May, though June through August is always hot and humid. It’s been around 27 degrees celsius the last few days, reaching a staggering 30 this afternoon. Thankfully, our hosts, D&J, have air conditioning throughout their house. It’s like magic!

Here’s their house.

D&J's house.jpg

They just bought a new rocking bench for the porch there, which is lovely to sit in and watch the street or read a book. They live in the Albany Park neighbourhood. It is in the north of the City of Chicago, and is “one of the most ethnically diverse in the United States”.

Appropriately then, we went out to a Columbian place for dinner when we arrived, just round the corner from D&J’s house.

Grilled steak and chicken, Columbian food.jpg

This was the grilled steak and chicken dish (meant for one? we shared between 2!), which was deeeelicious. That’s a yummy empanada (top left) which we had as a starter, next to the green garlicy sauce, cilantro [fresh coriander will be known thus, while I am here ok!] and/or parsley, we weren’t sure. There’s a fried plantain on the plate too.

The next couple days we all had work to do, so we got on with that. This is me working in the dining room which has a mirror at the end, reflecting the lounge and its windows which look out onto the street.

Dinning room office.jpg

We did explore the local neighbourhood, taking a walk, checking out the local shops. I also went to the lovely Bloom Yoga studio in Rockwell for a class one evening. On the way home I made a little video of the “L” level crossing.

I was intending to take a photo of the station but my phone camera was on video so I got video instead. Out here the tracks run along street level or a bit higher, so there are lots of level crossings. I was in the middle trying to take my photo, when the bell started ringing, and I didn’t fancy being in the middle of the tracks when it went by. So the video starts with me dashing to a safe position behind the barrier! Hang on in there for the bit with the train rushing past.

There was more excitement to be had on my way home, as I saw a couple rabbits hopping around the wide grassy area between the pavement and the road. Chicago turns out to be ‘green’ down on the ground and not just from the air, which makes wandering about this neighbourhood very pleasant.

Okay I’ve run out of time – the new (gas) BBQ which North assembled in the garden today needs some food putting on it now. So I will have to save my impressions of downtown, which I explored yesterday, for next time. I’ll leave you with a little taster though – the view of downtown Chicago from Millenium Park.

Downtown from Millenium Park.jpg

Written by emily* in: travel | Tags:

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