So I went to Chicago over a week ago, and I'm just now getting around to writing about it.
You already know that I experienced the thrill of riding a train and all the patience that I had to endure during numerous delays. Now I'd like to talk about claustrophobia. I think I mentioned in that post that the Metra was a claustrophobic experience for me - riding in the upper level, which was only wide enough on each side for a single row of seats facing sideways. I had to try hard not to think about how difficult it would be to get off the train in case of an emergency.
But I also found the city itself to be claustrophobia-inducing. On Sunday, before we caught our train back to Michigan, we wandered (actually, it was more like sprinting) around downtown Chicago for a few hours. Although I was naturally impressed by the skyscrapers, the art and the amazing architecture, I felt very closed in. I couldn't help but feel like I needed an escape route. I seriously can't imagine how people can live and work like that. I know it's a matter of taste, but it definitely doesn't suit mine at all. I would prefer a God-made wilderness over a man-made concrete jungle any day.
I was also struck by how clean the city was - no garbage on the streets at all. From the sights and sounds of the "big city", I also expected to experience the smells of garbage lying in the streets, for that is what I experienced in Metro Manila so many years ago. I know it wasn't fair for me to compare Chicago to a third-world metropolis, but that's what my senses expected. Then my friend assured me that it's only downtown Chicago that is so clean, so that the tourists will enjoy their stay and spend lots of money.
I had a great time with my friends from high school (fodder for yet another post), but you couldn't pay me a million dollars to live in the city.
Maybe a billion. . . . .