The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Reflections in a Bean

Situated in Millenium Park (Chicago), Cloud  Gate, or as it is more popularly know, the Bean, is art with a purpose. This huge elliptical structure mirrors the city’s unique skyline.
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I found it tremendously fascinating and it provided many photo opportunities.  USA 097  USA 104 This is the reflection on the inside of the bean. All those little things that look like insects are actually people.
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I thought this piece of art would be a perfect subject for James’ Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Meeting Sue

I hope none of you were hoping to see a cuddly baby or a giggling toddler because Sue, as most of you probably know, is a Tyrannosaurus rex. Her wonderfully preserved skeleton holds pride of place at the Field Museum and this year Sue is celebrating her tenth anniversary of residence in Chicago.
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Having a four year old boy who is very interested in dinosaurs, we could not miss the opportunity to see Sue and her enormous grin. Sue is huge but somehow I thought that a T. rex would be much larger. What is very impressive is her skull. In fact, we got to know that her head is so massive and heavy that the rest of the skeleton cannot support it. So Sue’s head is actually a cast while her real skull is on the second floor of the museum, encased in glass.
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Seeing Sue was an awesome experience for all of us but I am really, really glad that these types of creatures are extinct. I am more comfortable with the cute green lizards that run around our yard.
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Sue is probably the hugest attraction that the Field Museum has to offer but I was equally fascinated by an exhibit about the Native American peoples. I have always been interested in the history of these ancient cultures and I was lucky that the museum has a large section dedicated to all the different tribes from North and South America.
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Another exhibit which I really enjoyed was the re-creation of the mastaba tomb complex of Unis-Ankh. I suppose that if I never make it to Egypt, I at least will have had the experience of descending into an exact replica which is built around two original chambers from the tomb in Egypt.
The trip to the Field Museum was really enjoyable. There was something for everyone, including very young children. My son still talks about Sue and I too cannot get over coming face to face with a creature from our very distant past.
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Monday, 19 July 2010

Majestic Chicago

I am not sure why I like Chicago so much. I am usually more at home in ancient cities where the ghosts of yesterday mingle peacefully with people from the present. But Chicago draws me in – perhaps it’s the bright shops on Michigan Avenue; or the majestic skyscrapers looking down from their dizzying height; or perhaps it’s the breeze that blows in off of Lake Michigan …
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I am not sure what it is. I do not know if I want to know what draws me to this vibrant city - except that it feels like I am being embraced by a gentle giant.
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There is so much to do in this city that the three days we spent there this time did not even come close to us having enough time to see all the things we wanted to see. But we sure enjoyed every minute of it.
I was last in Chicago 8 years ago and it was nice to see that not much has changed. However, there were some additions to the city’s majestic skyline - like the new Trump Tower which was exactly opposite our hotel.
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It felt nice to see, and recognize, some old landmarks like the Wrigley Building, Marina City and the Chicago Tribune Tower which were within walking distance of where we were staying.
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An open-top double-decker bus tour around the city also took us close to such other landmarks as the Chicago Board of Trade, the Chicago Theatre and the John Hancock Building.
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Then, towards the end of our tour, we got to see the oldest building in the city: the Water Tower, once the highest building in Chicago, nowadays it is dwarfed by the gigantic modern structures around it.
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And when the day is done and the sun goes down, it is time to explore the enchantment of the thousands of lights that beckon and flicker, till dawn once again bathes Chicago in sunlight.
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Monday, 12 July 2010

Ten Years On and I Still Miss You Nanna

My Nanna (grandma) died ten years ago. Ample time for me to forget, you might say. But there are some people who we will never forget because they touch our lives in so many beautiful ways. Even now I find it hard to think of my Nanna without tears coming to my eyes. She was really a wonderful person.
My Nanna was born in 1916, at the height of the Great War, the eldest of 9 siblings (two of whom died in infancy from whooping cough). I remember asking her so many questions about those two dead babies. I could not understand that the medicines and vaccines that we take for granted today did not exist back then. Life must have been hard in ways we can never know.
My earliest memories of my Nanna are of when she would pick me up from pre-school and take me for a walk on the country road that led out of our part of town. We would walk to a farm to watch the sheep and goats feed. Then my Nanna would patiently feed me a banana, bit by small bit – I did not eat much back then. I am lucky to have many other precious memories along with a few keepsakes from her little house. With the wisdom of hindsight, I wish I had appreciated her more when she was still alive. The biggest arrogance of youth is that we think we will always have time to do something tomorrow. But sometimes, there are no tomorrows left.
I miss her still. We all do. But I know she would not want us to be sad, so this little tribute is my way of remembering her and the good times we had together. And since her name was Rose, I thought I would post a picture of that beautiful flower which always reminds me of her.
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This post was supposed to be published on June 19 – the anniversary of my Nanna’s death. But somehow I must not have got the hang of how to have Blogger automatically publish posts. So I am publishing it today.
As you can see, I am back :) and I will soon be around visiting all of you. I have missed you all but had a great vacation and I am sure you will soon be hearing lots about it.


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