Thursday, March 01, 2007


one day in chicago

best western is a chain hotel that you can see everywhere it seems. BW at grant park is exactly that. it’s just opposite the grant park which has a cluster of museums in a ‘museum campus’ . you just have to cross the madison ave which is the main road of chicago along the michigan lake in front of the hotel and walk may be a 100 meters or so in the park which is smallish but looked very beautiful in winter with all the snow and the chicago skyline right along the lake side. and you are within three 3 main attractions of chicago – field museum which has some really beautiful african masks and carvings, and also great indian (red) masks and artifacts, latin american potteries and creditable egyptian mummies which seems to be everywhere in western museums... these white people are the biggest robbers in the world ,always remember that but then again, if not for them most likely all these beautiful arts will be all gone and dispered to god knows where, because we the eastern people are largely retarded and probably would’ve done exactly the same thing but will sell them to all and sundry and even if we keep them may not preserve them as well...anyway... Shedd aquarium is just opposite and it is a beautiful building but i did not have the time to go in there and a bit further jutting into the lake michigan is the adler planetarium which i did not go in either. All three are very popular with kids and families.

if you’re on a relatively tight budget (though in summer the rate can be astronomical) this hotel is as good as any as it has direct access to subway from chicago o’hare airport. grab a decent subway map and you’re connected. just take the ‘blue line’ CTA – chicago transport authority (the term they use for metro/subway) and stop at jackson in downtown and take the ‘pink line’ to roosevelt station which is just 2 stops away. turn left from the one and only exit door , walk 10 steps or so till you reach a juction with a traffic light, turn left again and walk may be 50 meters till you reach another traffic light and turn right and twenty steps or so away is the hotel. It’s around 10 mins walking distance away from the roosevelt CTA. and though the lobby looks small and crappy the reception people are very friendly latinos or african americans which i’ll simply refer to as blacks from now on. that reminds me of a new yorker cartoon which has this penguin sitting on a sofa among a few humans and the caption (the penguin) says ‘ actually , i prefer the term artic american’. and you’ll feel right at home. the room is biggish and clean. i’m writing all this in case i’ll be coming here again in a few years time and i’m a very forgetful person, so....

and if you only have one and a half day what you do in chicago? for me i climbed sears tower and go to chicago institute of art (twice). if you’re a woman you’ll no doubt want to visit the most wellknown shopping area along the michigan ave and buy shoes and more shoes and such silly stuff. not me. oh and before that since i came on 19 feb which happens to be the chinese new year i went to chicago chinatown on wentworth street just a CTA station away (stop at chermak). they had this very lively parade of all kinds , schools, associations etc and we see all kind of crappily decorated parade vehicales and people marching and not only chinese, the more fancy ones are blacks actually. there was a huge and very cheerful crowd of all kind of people and not just chinese on both side of the street cheering every crappy parade that passes by and children playing with little firecrackers that look like small pebbles that they throw on the street and they explode with a tiny pop. and i noticed they even have ‘dr sun yet sen museum’ here but it was closed on that day.

and as i say i went to the art institute of chicago and in fact this is the reason why i stopped in chicago and it did not dissapoint. finally get to see the iconic american gothic in the flesh so to speak. it’s the mona lisa of american art and you see clusters of people in front of it continuously. and of course the famous ‘la grande jatte’ by seurat the pointilist is there. and so many other well known paintings by well known american and other western artists....the reason i had to go twice was because they had this smashing special exhibition “cezanne to picasso” : Ambroise vollard patron of the avant-garde. ( which is on chicago leg from Feb 17- May 12 2007). the exhibit was about the paintings that went through the dealer vollard during the time when nobody cared about the paintings that has now become icons and ‘THE’ paintings of the western world.... you get to see several hundrep paintings of gauguin, cezanne, picasso, matisse, bonnard, van gogh and many others....unlike the permanent exhibits which happens to be free of charge for this month (feb) and the rooms were full of noisy people and kids the special exhibit was visited by the real art lovers and the moment you were in there it felt like you’re in a funeral service and you see people seriously staring at paintings and wishpering to each other and walk silently from one picture to another and i imagined almost reverently.

the first time i was there there was this young black kid busking in front of the museum doorsteps banging on a couple of plastic pails and a white guy holding a placcard in each hand . one critical of israel and another FOR iran. I asked him if i can take a picture with him and yes he was more than glad to oblige and for good measure i took one with ME holding both placcards. These were the only two pictures i took of myself in chicago.
on my second visit the black kid was still there happily banging away on his plastic pails but the white man with the placcards was gone.

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