Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chicago - part 3

From W. Cornelia, we headed south on Lake Shore Drive to the Hyde Park Art Center.

I had read that the Art Center offered free walking tours of the Hyde Park area on Saturday. But we got there too late. The free walking tours ended at 3pm, and it was about 10 after. We did get a map, which did not include the Obama house, but would I like for it to be designated on the map? Maybe it was just me, but it seemed to me that people made a point NOT to draw attention to this being Obama's Chicago neighborhood. Unlike Crawford, Texas, there were no souveniers shops, nothing to indicate that this was the Chicago neighborhood of the President. Nothing but this sign in Ossama's barbershop.

We made our way down the 6 or 7 blocks to the Obama home, which was blocked by barricades and Chicago police. You could not cross the street, or even walk into the street to get a photo. When I tried to do this, the police man quickly sounded his horn.

From here we meandered over to the University of Chicago. I was trying to find the Frank Lloyd Wright, "Robie Home".

Enroute, we ran into an Oriental Museum, advertizing "Ancient Iraq".

Welcoming the air-conditioning, we were surprised by an incredibly extensive collection of art and artifacts from the Middle East - Persia, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Nubia. The history of humanity. One display board said that the different tribes corresponded to the different land areas - Kurds in the northern mountain region, Sumerians (or Akkadians) in the dry south - so that when drought (or some other natural weather pattern) affected one area, the people could help each other and/or migrate to the other region. Now there's an idea!

I was drawn to the cunieform writing in the rocks and the mathematics, finding these early attempts to order and make sense of the world to be complex and intriguing.

Finally we made it to the Robie house, which was just a block away from the museum. It was not open, but we could walk around, look in the windows. I was surprised at how big it is. This house must have looked quite "odd" in 1910, when it was finished. It is considered one of the most important buildings in American architecture, inspiring an architectural revolution. Uniquely American, the Robie House is renowned as the greatest example of Wright's "Prairie Style".

We had dinner at an Italian restaurant, then returned to the Hyde Park Art Center for ice cream. I wish I had taken a photo of the ice cream/coffee shop which is adjacent to the Art Center. The best ice cream ever!

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