It took a while to actually land in Chicago at O’Hare airport. Together with about six other planes we flew in a great circle above the city, waiting for a landing spot. Laid out beside the vast blackness of Lake Michigan, Chicago’s grid was lit up in orange and stretched out for miles and miles south, a stretch of sodium-woven plaid with fringes made out of the speckled lights of the suburbs.
And then we landed to a round of applause and we were out of the cramped plane, through immigration, into a taxi and heading along one of the brightly lit arteries that led downtown.
Our hotel room here is not actually a room. It is an apartment with a kitchen and a living room. The Hotel Seneca, built in 1924, was obviously designed for guests who needed to stay a while and maybe entertain some friends. It would be nice to offer people cocktails in room 1620. Shame we don’t know anyone to ask. But it is indicative of the city. Everything is generous, from the portions of the food to the people who we’ve asked in the street to recommend a place to eat (no meat). The buildings are mostly enormous, of course, sky scrapers towering above huge streets. Down by the lake there’s a huge sculpture by Anish Kapoor, a giant silver bean which reflects back the towers and which you can walk underneath.
But so far, I like the El most of all, the elevated subway which travels around downtown in a rounded rectangle. The silver trains hurtle round on the Loop and appear briefly but regularly like an apparitions from Fritz’s Lang’s Metropolis. I’ll post some pics later.
Today we’re going to the hip neighbourhood Wicker Park. And then to a blues club. The weather is perfect and the air is fresh but not in the least windy. More tomorrow.