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Chicago: A City of the Senses

Chicago has enjoyed the tourist spotlight over the years, due to its

cultural and economical prosperity. The crowded streets, ethnic bakeries, and

popular malls add zest and flavor to this enriching city. Since my short visit

in May with a high school class, I have dreamed of making the busy commuters,

blinding and mind-altering lights, and sheer musical excitement a part of my

everyday life.

Commuters livened up Chicago in delightful ways. Several groups of men

and women sat together in close, casual delicatessens on the street and

conversed about cosmopolitan attitudes and modern ideas in popular culture. In

another area of the city, men ate lunch at The Berghoff and seemed separated

from their surroundings, concentrating only on the conversation and the

condition on the food being served. To be acceptable at such high prices, the

food needed to be flawless. One look outside, from the close quarters of such a

place revealed to me a different world entirely: commuters rushed about

continuously, convinced they would never reach their destinations on time. On

the elevated train, faces contorted in distress and I heard laughter and loud

sighing. The flash of an Indian woman's purple sari caught

Holzman 2 my eye. The

different facial expressions, personalities, and wardrobes present added

sparkle to the otherwise dull and uninteresting dimension of public


While watching these different characters, I was drawn to the highest

floor of the Sears Tower, where lights illuminated the sky and blended artfully

into a pattern of lines. When I walked in the street, lights from stores and

nightclubs permeated above and around me, making me feel as if I were at the

bottom of a pit of existence, looking up at all the activity. This visual

vertigo lasted until I ended at an elevated train stop, with proudly addressed

street signs above the stairs leading inside. When I was riding on the elevated

train, the quickest way to travel in Chicago, the lights became a blur. I was

delighted to sit and watch the green, lighted street signs disappear quickly

behind me. If the lights of Chicago alone could affect me, I was curious how a

full tour of Chicago might captivate me. The array of lights held my attention

and mystified me through the remainder of the night.

While the light engaged my eyes, my ears began to ring with the very

different sounds of talented men singing in the street for money and a sitar and

a banjo strumming along, each with a distinct tempo. These musicians competed

violently for the dimes and quarters offered sparingly for their time, each man

striving to catch more attention than his competitor. The musicians wore

clothes to represent their respective home countries. With one glance, I saw

India, Mexico and Greece represented in vibrant, alive colors. The sounds

didn't complement each other at all, but they all add to the collage of sounds I

loved to hear. Trumpets, saxophones, and a mean bass made my blood jump as I

walked in front of a blue building on a populated street. This famous blues

club vomited forth loud, raunchy music that guaranteed a good time to all who

were more than twenty-one years of age. Crowds, struggling to slide past me,

laughed loudly and contentedly, bringing a smile to my face. Sound soaked into

the very environment, and reverberated through my mind even after sleep had

taken the best of me.

After a night of deserved sleep, I was still amazed at the life and

enthusiasm of the different shades of personality present. I left Chicago with

many different ideas to write about and several vivid and sensual impressions to

feed on. However, my greatest inspiration came from the hustling pedestrians,

pulsating signs, and unending musical experience which caused an exhilaration of

my spirit. For the budding writer, artist, or photographer, this graphic and

sensual city was paradise!

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