Hello, everyone. I am here in Chicago visiting my daughter, Kate. She lives on the edge of downtown Chicago, high up on floor 26 which is an ideal place from which to get my bearings.
Stretching away from me to the far horizon, I can see through the gaps in neighbouring apartment towers, a toy town of miniature streets separating blocks of flat roofed commercial units, renovated warehouses, offices, multi-floors of dwellings and apartments. From up here there is nothing private, everything is out there and on show – the turquoise waters and lined-up sun beds of swimming pools, the balconies of apartments with their dolls house furniture all still praying to the sun and ignoring the fact that winter snows are around the corner. I can follow trucks and cars and Little People, fidgeting about the streets with purposeful intent going…..goodness knows where – work?
From up here I can watch the endless traffic on the tracks of the marshalling yards, six in one direction, three in another, bending and wriggling over and under each other. Two-storied, silver wagons are pushed and pulled about into convoys of shining transport worms before disappointing around the bend, sometimes four at a time are ringing the curves. This is all accompanied by the clanging of bells, the roar of diesel engines and the horn. Oh, the train horn. The sound of so many American movies. I can only be in the US.
Down at street level the neighbourhood becomes real, the tracks curving around the streets, embedded in the tarmac with only the flimsiest of barriers cutting the progress of pedestrians and cars at the approach of a locomotive. Evidence of the railways is everywhere.
Let’s get out there. First of all a doughnut and coffee at the Doughnut Vault, open until they run out of doughnuts. Here’s Josai with his wares.
The Blommer Chocolate Factory is just that. Boy, does it smell good as you walk past. Pictures of Mr Wonka’s factory come right to the front of the mind. Imagine deliveries of liquid chocolate in wagons like this.
The Loop is Chicago’s subway system. Some of it runs underground, some of it runs on the ground and some of it runs above the ground, supported on a gantry of steel girders. It can be seen throughout the city. These images are within a few metres of the apartment.
So that gives you a flavour of the local community. I am off now to go further afield. Will catch up soon.