/* */ vita graphein/-: weekend to remember

Monday, August 15, 2005

weekend to remember

Well, I am at office now and while I am on one of my breaks, I am ranting here! This also happens to be my last week at work and I have to get back to school the following Monday. Which also means I leave Chicago and the life out here and also not to forget the pay compared to the pittance I get with on campus jobs.

This (last) weekend I decided to explore a little, and went to the Chicago Historical Society and actually had a pretty nice time. More than half of the museum was actually closed for renovation as they are nearing their 150th anniversary(!!), but whatever was still open was pretty striking and pretty impressive. There was a special exhibition too, called Without Sanctuary, which was a very graphic display of America's dirty past, and all injustice done to African Americans by whites. There were all 'original' postcards which people over the years had kept as souvenirs and actually posed in front of the dead bodies. It primarily showcases lynching (definitely see this link) and how some 5000 odd people were lynched to death due to racial hatred. It reminds us all of the brutality and inhumaneness of man and most of the images are horrific to say the least, and extremely graphic. In fact these postcards were like an 'in thing' back then as I gather and people took pride in getting photographed with the burnt/hung body. So this was a business too for the photographers as they charged for these photos and you could like buy them. There was also a display of a (Kodak) Brownie camera which was a popular one for the shoots. They also had a very detailed section of the murder of Emmett Till (wiki link) and his case was coincidentally reopened in 2004. It was interesting to learn so much about American history. I also got a detailed account of the Great Chicago Fire (1871) and was really amazed to see the entire history associated with it and more so of how the city restarted from scratch and came to be what it is today. There were a couple of other photographic exhibits and were very impressive as well.

(Continuing after some 3 hours...)
Then (I had already planned) I went to the Sears Tower Skydeck (on the 103rd floor, that's 17 more floors than what I was at the Empire State, NY). It was breathtaking and luckily it was a clear day as well, else clouds tend to block your view below! It is said, on clear days you can see upto 50 miles out and also can see 4 states (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan). I could see as far out into the horizon and was a stunning experience literally. I stayed for a while on top and saw every building I could ever recognize from up there. Trains, cars, humans, all seemingly like toys and you were (literally) on top of the world. An interesting stat is that the elevator you ride in to the top travels at like 1600 feet per minute, so which means I reached the the Skydeck (about 1350 feet) in about 40-45 seconds!! That too straight up..now that's something.

I have just finished following the 3rd Ashes test and boy, what a match. Still laughing off at the Indian cricket scenario now, and its become more and more ridiculous and inexplicable even as a friend vented his feelings in quite a satirical way..