Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Sunday, May 06, 2007
The Windy, Sunny City
I probably say this about one thing or another once a month, but: "You would think that I would know by now". This time - SUNSCREEN. Exploring urban landscapes, even on a chilly, windy, spring day in May, can equal sunburn. And Boy am I. One day, I will learn that whenever I am going to be outside for the better part of the day, no matter what time of year, and no matter what the weather, I need to slather it on.

Aside from that, I had a BALL today. I walked from my hotel on the Chicago River, south through Millennium Park, and Grant Park by Buckingham Fountain to the Shedd Aquarium (which is amazing) where I had a lovely lunch on the terrace overlooking Lake Michigan, and took the water taxi back to the Navy Pier. From there, I walked all the way up the Lakeshore path north to Lincoln Park Zoo and back. I like hiking in the great outdoors as much as the next person, but I also really like exploring cities.

No dice on seeing the Dali Lama. Tickets were sold out well in advance, the crowds were giganormous, and security was tight. The crowd was a really, really, "nice" one. Lots of "alternative lifestyle" types, but they were very mellow, and otherwise it was mostly just families and people of all ages looking to enjoy a glorious spring day. It was refreshing, happy and peaceful. There was no hint of the fervor or dogma associated with a religious rally or an activist march. Everyone was simply there to listen and hear a message. I may be mostly atheistic at this point, but a message of peace and tolerance for all, from a humble and gentle soul, is always welcome. I would have genuinely enjoyed hearing him talk. Apparently, he had a three hours conversation with the crowd. Truly a once in a lifetime experience. Sadly, I couldn't even get close enough to take pictures of the Frank Geahry designed concert pavilion where His Holiness was appearing. I'll walk over before I leave an get some photos - it's only a couple of blocks from my hotel. But, I did get some other good shots of the "Bean" by Anish Kapoor, and the really whimsical Crown Plaza Fountain. What a wonderful gift to a wonderful city.

Here are a few photos from the day.

The Bean

The Bean. Officially called the "Cloud Gate" entrance. It's a 110-ton elliptical sculpture forged from a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates. It's based on a drop of liquid mercury. Broadsheet is in this photo!

Crown Plaza

This is such a wonderful installation. Constructed of glass block, with water pouring over it constantly, it has LED screens behind the blocks that project video portraits of Chicagoans. The portraits are positioned in such a way that when they purse their lips, the image "spits" onto the reflecting pool. The pool is just a film of water, so it looks like people are walking on water. It's just pure fun.

And speaking of pure fun.....

Baby Beluga

This little girl is Bella, the baby Beluga. She's one year old next month, and I SWEAR she can laugh. She was playing with her trainer, and she kept coming up over and over again to have her tongue touched, and she laughed a high pitched staccato giggle like a little kid playing peek a boo. It was too cute. Everyone watching her was just giggling right along with her.

Playtime for me is over. I had a reception to attend this evening, and it's all work and no play tomorrow and Tuesday.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:39 PM  
1 Editorial Opinions:
  • At May 07, 2007, Anonymous Butch said…

    Cool pictures! I've been to 2 conferences in Chicago in the last 4 years, but they were both in January. It was always too dark and cold to see the city.

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