I am going back after a week in Chicago. And its been an eventful week. I saw many sides of Chicago, I jogged about, cycled up the lake shore drive and rode back thru the city. The most astounding thing about the city is the ready smiles and the ever helpful staff in the utilities. I took the bus, I took the train, I did the subway and exhausted all modes of public transport. And incredibly all very simple – nothing to learn. Well come to Melbourne and try our tram system I say: Zones, only coins and grim uncommunicative passengers.
At the top end of Lake shore drive I parked the bike and took out the map. This bloke approaches me – ‘are you lost?’ he asked. Over the days I saw this happening not only to me but to all sorts of people, ‘are you lost’. Such a simple courtesy. Anyway – we got talking and he turned out to be recent graduate of SAIC in photography. And was a cyclist. I was a cyclist in Chicago too – ‘oh yes, I ride in Melbourne’. And Anne turned out to have worked in bicycle advocacy.
The weather is frightening by all accounts. Apparently everyone gets morose and crabby. Laura spoke of the winter as being really nasty if you had to take public transport. So what I saw was the sunny side of Chicago. Too sunny. Riding back I ran into a head wind – and had to dismount. A little girl began to cry – it was so windy. It is the windy city – no doubt about it.
Chicago is slated to get the Olympics for 2016. And there is pride and a buzz about it. Mayor Daley, everyone feels, will pull it off. He has made Milenium park – he can do anything. Which is touching really.
And there are issues in Chicago. Issues of unemployment, with all sorts of related issues. Then there is waste – Chicago has a dodgy record of recycling. Many people believe it doesnt happen. But Daley is keen so it will start happening. Maybe I will write to the mayor. In conversation on tue I mention Michelle Obama’s work with the medical care for the poor/ or low income groups. I am immediately asked – ‘have you spoken to her, have you met her’. Chicago is a small town I am told. But definitely very friendly and helpful. Maybe I will send Michelle our Diabetes Paper.
Still Chicago rocks.