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Business and pleasure

Spent a few days in Chicago on business. The schedule was fairly packed, but I managed to squeeze in an evening with the little brother and his family. Did not manage to find much time for idle city-seeing, although I did try to take different routes between the hotel and the office, as I aways do.

From a point of view of an architecture lover, Chicago must be one of the most impressive American cities. All over the Loop, there are gorgeous examples of a wide variety of architectural styles. The concept of uniformity was seemingly paid no heed whatsoever when Chicago was built up in 19th-20th centuries, so there are literally no two like buildings in any proximity of one another. On a bright, sunny day, even the heart of the city’s concrete jungle is rather pleasing to the eye.

I’ve been to Chicago quite a few times in the past, and yet I never knew that many streets in its Downtown area exist on two levels, with the lower level providing a quicker driving route between various points; much fewer cars use those lower streets. When you walk around Chicago on foot, you may never realize that a wide thoroughfare such as North Michigan Ave is, in fact, an elevated roadway, with the ground-level street directly underneath it. When a taxicab suddenly took me along the lower-level route, I was stunned by the discovery.

I also feel like I should have been familiar with that before.

Having had been a comparatively frequent business traveler prior to the family move to England, I have not been on a business trip for nearly three years. The shaving cream can felt victim to my lack of recent exposure to traveling without checked-in luggage. It was a large container, well above the 100g limit allowed in the carry-on these days. The TSA agent looked at me with barely concealed disdain and my pride took a serious hit for being publicly nailed in an attempt to break the law, however inadvertently, especially as I was unable to conceal my incredulity and duly attracted the attention of everyone behind me in the security check line. It all makes sense, I suppose: Idiotic rules make you feel like an idiot.

On the other hand, I consoled myself, at least I can hope that a truly dangerous object would not escape TSA folks’ scrutiny, seeing how successful they were in preventing various bottles, cans and containers to accompany their hapless owners. My shaving cream joined a pile of at least 50 similar objects…