Monthly Archives: May 2012

Four Days in Chicago

The last time I visited Chicago must have been around ten years ago. I was passing through on my way to New Orleans. I spent most of the afternoon looking around, and left by train later that evening. I vowed  that I would make  a visit sometime later.
The visit last weekend was as planned, but in many ways it was very different. I arrived to find a city preoccupied with the staging of a NATO meeting, and the demonstrations which were planned.. The trappings were unexpected, lots of talk of security, lots of police everywhere, and sometimes unnecessary closures of streets, and buildings. Yet the locals seem to take with candour, even though they were inconvenienced somehow.
Most pointed fingers at the new Mayor, suggesting he was simply flexing his muscles. Others were convinced that the security was probably needed. I wasn’t convinced; since I witnessed almost no demonstrations or threatening disruptions.
My big disappointment was on Sunday when I arrived at the The Art Institute to find it closed for the day. I thought it extreme for any museum to be closed down because of the planned demonstration. Later that day. I learned that the museum was closed to facilitate Mrs. Obama entertaining the wives of the visitors.
Did it wreck my holiday? Not altogether, as  I was able to adjust to situations whenever it was necessary.  But had I known about the planned event, I would have chosen another weekend.

France Has A New President

I spent the last three days in France. It was supposed to be my usual May weekend break, until I shifted the trip to coincide with the Bank Holiday. The mood in Nice, where I was staying at the Kyriad Hotel, was sombre. I was able to understand why when I looked closely at the breakdown of the election results.

Nice, and the rest of the Alpes-Maritimes population, was always described as a right-wing area. And sure enough the election proved this. In all the principal areas, the vote was over sxity percent in Nicolas Sarkosy’s favour, which showed that there was not much support for Monsieur Hollande. This, very definitely, explains the mood of the locals here; while in other part of the country, the people obviously continued celebrate.

It would be very interesting to see what the change in national leadership will mean for the Cote D’azur area. Tourism, no doubt, will continue to play its part in its economic existence, but what else will unfold. Maybe not much.