Chicagua, the smelly onion patch

September 15, 2006

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“Chicagua” — I learned today that that is the origin of the word Chicago.
We are here in Chicago for another wedding. Even though I was born here (well, Evanston) it’s as though I hardly know the place. It’s truly a great, great city. We have been staying in the ‘magnificent mile’ in the heart of downtown. The prices seem the same as New York or LA.

I made the mistake of asking “where is Macy’s” having seen a bag, and needing socks for the wedding. I soon found out that the city of Chicago seems quite upset that Marshall Fields is now owned by and CALLED Macy’s. Nevermind that MF has been owned by the May company for 20-some years, they at least had the sense to keep the name the same.

If you have avoided Chicago, or never been, put it on your list of places to visit. We took the architectural boat tour today, hosted by a brilliant retired professor of architecture who introduced us to the incredible buildings, styles, and architects who have worked here for the past 150 years. Like Boston, much of these enormous skyscrapers are built on garbage, or landfill if you prefer.

Although I couldn’t help notice that Miller Lite seems to be the drink of choice around here, I was impressed with the quality of the various bars in the grand hotels that seem to be everywhere downtown.

We went out with JP and his fiancee the first night to a marvelous restaraunt (they are getting married NEXT year), and my social butterfly personality, one that I thought had gone to sleep decades ago, came out in full force. We sat next to an Australian vintner and the chap who distributes his wine in the states, and joining them was a heart surgeon and his wife. By the end of dinnner, we all went back to Dr. C’s gorgeous home, and continued the party there. His wife put on some music from the 60s, and, well, I couldn’t help it: I grabbed her and we started dancing. JP remarked later that if that had happened to him and HIS wife, we would have beat me bloody and thrown me out on the street. But in that the good doctor knew I was gay, he loved it, and said that we should come back and stay with them any time we came to town. We left at 2am, having had a great time with complete strangers who became fast friends.

Tonight after the W&C’s dress rehearsal, we went to the Park Grill for an incredible five course meal. What is thrilling about this wedding is that W is Korean, and C is half black, half Korean and gorgeous. Their children I’m sure will be stunners. I got to meet their parents whom I had never met. I was the minority as one of the few white people there, it being mostly Korean and African-Americans.

I bailed on more drinks at the W, which is where they are all now, in favor of checking in with my faithful readers.

[Photo by Daniel Shiplacoff; on the architectural boat tour]

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