my2cents

2. July, 2006

Finally, home again

Filed under: North America 2006 — frightanic @ 21:54

After a long day we arrived here in Switzerland at 7 this morning. Puhhh, home, sweet home!

We really enjoyed the few days in Chicago. Despite its size we found it pretty calm. It’s rather the laid back attitude of a west coast city than the hectic, bustling atmosphere of let’s say New York. We were lucky to visit Chicago during the best weeks – summer, the time of free events for the public. In and around Grant Park there all sorts of of events taking place. We enjoyed two free concerts as part of the Grant Park Music Festival (classical music, orchestras). It’s like magic: a warm summer night, the sun is setting behind the skyline, the moon rises, and you sit in this park encircled by skyscrapers and listen to classical music.

While in Chicago we also visited the Museum of Science and Industry. Maybe it was because we have seen many similar museums before, but the exibitions didn’t really ignite interest. A few things like the Whispering Gallery or Genectics: Decoding Life we thought were nicely done. The whole Basic Science floor could do with a serious overhaul. What personally disappointed me the most though, was the attitude most visitors (families and school groups) seem to have towards such an educational place. To get something out of it one needs TIME, you can’t just rush through. Kids need explanations and guidance from their parents/teachers. It was almost painful to see how “neglected” they were – no surprise most of them appeared to be bored.
One hint for fellow travellers: to get to the MSI take the CTA green line to Garfield then transfer to bus X55/55.

We also were at the Shedd Aquarium. Now that’s definitly an attraction we would recommend to anyone, despite high admission fees. However, again, it takes time to really get idea about marine life. The dolphine show is much less sophisticate than for example the shows at Sea World in San Diego. Nonetheless, we though that since much less is expected of the dolphines in terms of stunts they must deliver they might have a happier life in Chicago…

As in New York, Akiko and I managed to visit a local Toastmasters club, Toastmasters of Lincoln Park. As expected the corner stones of their meetings are very similar to ones in our club. Their meeting protocol and the setting is different, though. We had a good time and felt very welcome. It appears that they hadn’t had visitors from abroad in a long while. After the meeting we joined them for beer/dinner at a nearby bar. Later that night we went up to the 96th floor of the John Hancock tower to have a drink in the Signature Lounge. The view is awesome, but the drinks lack any sort of sophistication.

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