Many Travels – Chicago Part 1

There are people who intersect your life not without impact, but without disruption.  A part of it has to do with knowing someone well.  Time passes, and regular communication may lapse, but still there is a strong connection.  Another part of it has to do with the pattern of a contrasting life.  Knowing someone parallels you in certain ideas, in humor or behavior, or in any number of other small kernels allows for you to walk in step with certain people more easily.  Jo is one of those people for me, so of course I went to Chicago to see her while she was in this country.  And it was good.  It was as if I’d spent no time away from my Jo-Jo.  It also allowed me to relax and for awhile not stress about all the life changes I have to worry about from moving cross-country.

The first day I was late to pick her up at the airport because I failed to correctly estimate how long it would take me to get out there on public transportation.  Point one against me.  Then we went into the city and just sat down to coffee and tea before we were supposed to meet some of my friends, Dave and Allie, for dinner.  Of course, then I totally messed up where we were supposed to meet them, and made them walk twenty minutes out of their way to find us.  Point two.  Still we had a lovely dinner at a reasonably authentic Mexican place, and Jo had a beer.  it was the first time I’d seen her drink alchohol in my life, since she’d taken a break from it while we were working together in China.  So here’s the shocking proof:

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Then we headed out to Oak Park, to meet with Tina, who was our host and hotelier for the next few days.  Yay Tina!

The next day we went to Buzz Cafe, which is a breakfast place just around the corner from Tina’s.  Jo had never eaten pancakes before.  Evidently the crazy little island (GB) doesn’t have real ones – they just have crepes or dense Scottish-type things.  So she was all about the diner experience – we wanted to get her an asthmatic, cranky waitress named Dolores.  Alas, our waitress was perky and totally not embittered.  Still, she did get some delicious fluffy pancakes.  And then we were on to the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Robie House.

Tina had been to the Museum before, and I had as well back in the days of my youth, but she had not seen the coal mine.  Jo thought it would be fun as well – I guess that coal mines are a rarity now in the UK, like pancakes.  I did remember the giant bug from the first part of the exhibit, but I did not remember the other extensive part of this exhibit, which is waiting in line forever.  Let me share:

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And it just gets better from here…

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We decided we deserved, nay, needed ice cream afterwards.

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We ended the day with a visit to the Robie house, a visit to the Trader Joe’s, and a nice evening of wine, bread, cheese, salad, and hanging out on the back porch overlooking Tina’s garden.

The next morning we were on our way when I discovered this sign.  I had to imitate:

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(The sign says “Danger – Keep Off Tracks.  High Voltage”  The figure does…what I am doing.)

The trip culminated with a morning at Millenium Park doing samba (yay free samba every Saturday), a visit to the Chinese sculptures, and lots of pictures with the reflective bean and the spitting fountain.  I’ll leave you with a few.

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1 Comment

  1. tracya said,

    August 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    small world! i used to live one block down from the buzz cafe in oak park and my son worked there!!

    nice photos!


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