As I was saying, where was I now? Chicago is a pretty nifty city.
I learned so much more about it this time, hanging with the locals, never had much appreciation before.
Probably in my top two cities architecturally nationally, neck and neck with Washington D.C..
My whole life, a great number of my best friends in the world have come from the Chicago area but I have hardly spent any time at all there for some reason.
I gravitate towards Chicagoans and as my wife terms her clan, the Great Lakeans.
It was hot back there, not as hot as it is here mind you, and I couldn't help but notice that people were stripping down a bit in the heat.
While the ladies were perhaps not as conspicuously toned as your typical hard body Encinitas beach bunny, there was less silicone, botox and body ink and I found that rather refreshing.
And the heavier people seemed to be less hung up with their looks, more comfortable in their own skin. Bravo.
Rock on, my fellow fatties.
After the apocalypse the skinny minnies will be desiccated bags of skin in a matter of days, we full figured folk will have ample storage for about six more weeks of fast and hearty living.
I wouldn't necessarily make the same sartorial choices as some, but hey, last time I checked, it was still a free country.
Plaid over plaid can be a tough marriage but I think this fellow has ably pulled it off.
Seeing a lot of this fashion statement lately. Must be end times approaching.
Another nice thing about the windy city is that there is a lot of free stuff to do.
Even the zoo is free.
People of all creeds and ethnicities hang out and play in lovely public parks.
Humans having fun.
Parks with beautiful public sculpture.
We enjoyed a free classical concert one day at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennial Park, a Frank Gehry designed building.
Guest pianist Simon Trpčeski played the Rachmaninoff Symphony #2.
It was nice for the rube to get a bit of culture.
Lots of people sitting in the grass, this fellow was happily conducting away, right along with the music.
Second day we decided to take the architectural boat tour, through the river and out to the lake.
We chose the First Lady Co,, after consulting with our excellent concierge at the Pendry, Alex Yu.
I think it was a good choice, they work with the Chicago architecture Center and the guide was very knowledgable.
Much of the downtown landscape and waterway has changed with the installation of the Riverwalk and some is brand new.
She did a great job of incorporating both the new and old architecture and bringing it to our attention.
She explained that at one time the river was a big polluted sewer so there were no windows on the buildings on its bank, now it is a wonderful thing of beauty!
One leaves the waterway with a new appreciation of just how important Chicago was as perhaps the most major hub in our nation's transportation corridors, both by rail and by boat. It was home to the behemoths of American business, perhaps second only to New York, but serving a very different purpose. Wards, Sears, many of the American business leviathans had their homes on the shore of this river.
Dave lived with his father on the fourth floor of this Lakeshore Towers building when it stood alone on the horizon in the 1970's.
We walked to Navy Pier after our boat trip, tired my ass out.
My knee started hurting.
I went to CVS and bought a brace the next morning.
I think that it is a truism that people that live in the city probably walk more than us country folk.
I certainly did back in New York.
I have one more chapter to go with this travelogue but will end this installment with this nice fellow.
We were trying to score a pedicab to the Millennial Park after our visit to the Art Institute and everybody wanted ridiculous amounts of money to take us the relatively short way.
Dave spotted Dale with his skull and roses banner blowing freely behind the cab.
A kind soul who cut the other people's price in half and a fellow deadhead to boot.
"Hey, I think I remember you from the Uptown Theater show in 1980? Wasn't that you up in the balcony?"
It's the same story the crow told me
It's the only one he know
Like the morning sun you come
And like the wind you go...