We went to Chicago for medical reasons (more about that below) but found ourselves acting as “tourists.” The nature of the medical appointments and our travel arrangements gave us a few days to be unencumbered, free-wheeling, tourists — I mean, money-spending, mouth-open-with-eyes-on-the-sky-scrapers, scalped-just-a-bit tourists. This, I think, may have been a first in our 50 year marriage — I can’t ever remember throwing money around to be splashed across Lake Michigan and entertained on tour buses by aspiring comedians.
So about that splashing: I was determined to take the Chicago River tour of Chicago architecture. We took two tours, the first the comedia-splashing one (Jer got soaked with Chicago River water and I got wetted with Lake Michigan.
Later we took a real architectural tour (the academic one), from which I have at least a hundred photos, of which I can identify the Wrigley building.
Here’s the Wrigley Building and what’s not to love about it?:
My favorite skyscraper (besides the Wrigley) is the one in the center in the photo above-behind the other bullies –it’s a building whose name and designer I can’t remember at all. But I liked it with all its curves and elegant styling.
Besides the river tours, we opted for the Red Tour bus. We were staying just outside the loop, on the north side of the river, and the tour bus which we were assured (by the operators) was the best was within easy walking distance of our hotel. So we also toured Chicago architecture from the streets, hopping on and off the Red bus. We saw the Field Museum (from the outside) and the Bean (more formally known as the Cloud Gate) and the Art Institute and the erst-while Public Library and fountains and the Navy Pier and fireworks and various parts of Michigan Avenue, all the while being entertained by a variety of would-be actors and comedians, never the same one twice. All wanting tips, of course. But all charming in their own way.
We spent lots of time at Millennium Park — even left a concert (directed by Portland’s own Carlos Kalmar) at the Pavilion as it couldn’t compete with the city around it. We took tourist photos of the tourist sights: Crown Fountain:
Which changes faces and spouting waters frequently.
The Bean (where we took photos of people taking photos of people taking photos):
And most particularly, the Art Institute, or the ‘tute, as my friend who once lived there calls it:
We actually bought a ‘tute membership, because for three visits for the two of us, it penciled out as cheaper as members than with individual tickets. ( And just the other day, we got our official (non-cardboard) membership to the ‘tute in the mail.) The “Impressionists and Fashion” exhibit was fabulous, I got reacquainted with the non-abstract expressionists, 1945 –1960, and by the last day, was more entranced by the other tourists than the art itself:
Altogether, the four days we spent touring the Loop and tourist attractions of the Second City was grand. And now that we’ve done it, I have no desire to go back. It was fun to fling tips at people and get soaked by classic midwestern rain storms, and to be silly aging tourists gawking at tall buildings, but only fun for a little while. Then it was time to come back to Our Fair City and our own working projects.
And the medical stuff? the Chicago neurologist we went to see said “no” to any more surgeries (hooray) and then said he had a long list of possible problems for which he would prescribe medications, one at a time. Mostly trial and error, he said, and, of that, mostly error. As he is one of those doctors who seems to love the challenge of mysterious vertigo, is kind and sympathetic and really really smart, we were soothed by his ideas and approach and are cautiously optimistic. I have been on the first medication for almost two weeks now, and it may be making a difference. As this is the first one, we are really really cautious about getting too excited. But at least we have the second med in hand, so when this one and the next one fails, our good Chicago doctor has a third and fourth and fifth option in his files.
So there’s an update on the U-woods (the elder U-woods) for the nonce. It’s paradise time (ie: summer) in Portland, and we are hoping to get out more and do more and partake more of our fair city as the summer winds its way along the Willamette. –June
By the way, my email server has been crippled by a massive spam attack, which makes the june at juneunderwood dot com address unusable. In fact, if you get any bounced mail from that address, delete it, don’t open it. It could be further incursion from the spammers. If you want to email me, I have a gmail account: junomain at gmail dot com.