March 7, 2008

Reporting Live from Chicago

Chicago is certainly living up to its sobriquet of the "Windy City". In fairness, though, my stunning inn is just a block and a bit from Lake Michigan so the winds are coming off a huge mass of very cold water. The picture attached shows the north end of the downtown. The tall black building is the John Hancock Centre. I am staying just three blocks north of it.
After a harrowing cab ride from the airport I settled into to my suite around 1:30, which gave me plenty of time to stroll down "The Magnificent Mile", which is Chicago's version of New York's 5th Avenue or Toronto's Bloor St, albeit with much better architecture. I think I walked for about an hour, with a stop in Millenium Park before heading to my ultimate destination, the famed Art Institute of Chicago. This musem has easily the best Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection anywhere in North America, and I was suitably impressed and blown away. They seemed to have an endless collection of Monet pieces, as well as plenty of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, Degas, Bazille, and some stunning works by Renoir. It was like walking through an art history textbook. The most famous work is "A Sunday on La Gande Jatte" [click enlarge photo to see how grand it is] by Georges Seurat. It's a huge painting, at 81 feet by 121 feet!! This is the painting that Ferris and his girlfriend stood in front of in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" when they were playing hooky and going around Chicago.
I met up with my colleagues arouns 8:00 for a late dinner at a celebrated restaurant called Rosebud. This was the finest Italian cuisine I have ever had! The only downside was the portions were huge. The other interesting gastronomical fact about Chicago is that they love to put cheese any anything and everything. I guess it's part of their mid-west heritage. On tonight's roster is some famous Chicago deep dish pizza and a legendary blues club. More to come...

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