Saturday, December 16, 2006

Chicago Updates

The weather in Chicago is a pleasant change to Milwaukee's hovering-below-zero temperatures. The skies are a shade of brilliant blue and except for gusts of wind, the climate remains at a comfortable 4-10 degree celsius.

The blue, cloudless skies

Actually, I kinda like winter because it makes everything serene and beautiful. Like I always say, the cold just makes me wanna snuggle up to someone for a great big hug. Couples saunter around in tight embraces, stopping for defrosting nose-rubs. There is no need for campaigns such as "Romancing Singapore" to keep love alive in such temperatures. And have I mentioned that to feel the hot cup of caramel apple cider trickle down your throat as the wintry wind blows is one of the most inexplicably heavenly sensation ever?

I like this city. It has a densely populated district of awe-inspiring skyscrapers, but it is fringed by extremely beautiful urban gardens. The Millenium Park serves as a fashionable civic center that defines the city lakefront.

Its signature feature is the the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a band shell designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry with 4,000 fixed seats plus additional lawn seating for 7,000. We would remember Frank Gehry as the guy who proposed a gold-fishy looking design for the proposed Intergrated Resort.

Another unmissable feature is the Cloud Gate, a 3-story, 110-ton steel sculpture that has been dubbed by residents as "The Bean". I think it is pretty cool to observe the city skyline reflected upon it. This is my personal favorite within Millenium Park.

Reflections in the bean

I had the Friday night to myself after my room mate left for Singapore and I returned to the park to watch caroling at Cloud Gate.

The Park was a rather breath-taking view at dusk. More apparent against the darkness of the night are the feature blocks known as the Crown Fountain. They basically comprise of glass bricks that hid high-tech LED video screens which illuminates and scrolls through videos of the faces of nearly a thousand individual Chicagoans.

The Millenium Park sights at dusk

The outdoor skating rink

The Christmas atmosphere is eletricfying. As the carolers sang, the crowd of audience sang along. Many began to grab some candles and join in as well. It is hard not to jiggle along to the powerful vocals (Blacks are really awesome at singing, no doubt.) that chorused Jingle Bell Jingle Bell Rock. There was even complimentary coffee and cider.

'tis a beautiful evening and I would have love to remain and watch if I haven't bought the tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Welcome Yule's concert.

I enjoyed the concert tremendously, gawking at the dancers, the ensemble of choir and the grand orchestra group within the the warm glow of festive decorations in Orchestra Hall. There were excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, originals like “Christmas in Chicago,” and many Christmas Carols where the conductor would turn around and cajole the audience to participate. Ah, I feel so Christmasy, more than ever.

Besides the Millenium Park, the other more isolated parts of Grant Park are also adorned by sculptures and art installations.

Apparently, these are large-scale lilies created from old Cadillacs by Dessa.

Other installations include...

Or if you prefer less contemporary ones, the Buckingham Memorial Fountain.

All right, I will stop here for now to pack my luggage. I will update more on the trips to museums and other touristy spots when I head back to Milwaukee tonight.


Anonymous jacey said...

may I ask which model of digicam do you use?? All your pictures turn out SUPERB!

Hmm, guess u are leaving back home to Singapore by now huh? Miss another chance to meet you up *sniff*

5:35 PM  
Blogger jellybeano said...

ehh i use canon ixus 60. I think the scenery is superb, that's why they look nice lah. (maybe the model also superb hor? eh just kidding! Don't puke)

Yeah I am in Singapore now! So sleepy!!!!! Come Singapore and meet me lah!

10:29 AM  

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