Sunday, November 22, 2009

Partying in Chicago

So I am in Chocago and the waeather is beautiful. I don't need a jacket nor do I need a sweater.

I have a guest poster today...

Walking through suburban Chicago, flip flop-clad, shorts-wearing, in the middle of November was a glorious experience; corroded side walks, ethnically diverse pedestrians wearing colorful clothing, and lots and lots of traffic. Shops and grocery store chains line the streets for as far as the eye can see. Waking up in the morning and endeavoring to acquire a cup of coffee led me through 4 blocks of the suburban landscape.  The culture and magnificence of this great city is indeed visible with every step taken.  Immediately passing mom and pap and family-owned venues, one cannot but help wonder what secrets, what history, what stories construct the present. My only disappointment is that there is so much left to explore;  so much left to learn about.

When driving in yesterday, a GPS unit was loaned to be my guide to Chicago ultimately led me astray; I drove an extra 75 miles through greater East Chicago; a vast expanse of sterile, manufacturing plants and steel processing centers stretched from street to sky.  No gas stations, no food, no local culture.  East Chicago is what people from Chicago call the region; Gary, Indiana is its name on the map.  It is a melancholic experience to drive through the region for two hours and then realize you have just toured the hometown of the king of pop (RIP).  Every detour that the GPS navigator suggested only led me down paths that culminated in road closures. No entry ramps. No street signs. No exit.

Tonight a great uncle told me how my great-grandfather was an official municipal official in Colonial India, a post that was governed by the British. The story that followed poignantly portrayed my Great-Grandfather and his role in non-violent resistance to support Ghandi against British opression.  He fought and resisted the British mandates and was placed in prison.  I also learned that my dad's original name roughly translates to a 'pharmacist' which is remarkable given that his PhD in pharmicokinetics. As we celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family it is  important to remember that there remains a history of untold treasures and cultural wisdoms that simply need to be told and explained. Chicago is a mixing pot of great cultures that can simply be excavated with the right questions. So if you are at my table on thursday, do not be surprised if after i ask "can you pass the turkey," i follow it up with a querry a bit more miscelleneous.


mythopolis said...

Nice post. Yes, that stretch around Gary Indiana as you come into Chicago from that side is a bleak landscape! Your descriptions of the diverse neighborhoods made me miss that city.

Nicole said...

If this is written by a guest poster who was it???
I'm lost :)