I can see why people want to live here, Oakland

Oakland Lake Merritt from the bus

New phone, they say the camera’s better, but through the window of a moving bus is not optimal.

This was no exception to my habit of beginning air-travel days in a state of maximal hygiene, fresh shirt and thorough shower, but arriving at the airport nice and sweat-soaked anyway. But given that it was 86° F in Oakland, that wasn’t all that surprising.



Healthy bodies and sunshine smiles were gathered around Lake Merritt, on blankets and in running shoes, and the frisbees didn’t care that it was a workday. In the bus, we stood and swayed, smiled vaguely and forgot that “sweater” can refer to clothing as well as identity. And when we disembarked the AC Transit steed of slightly stained seats, it was into a Frank Ogawa Plaza filled with food trucks, conversation, and sunglasses.




Oakland sun

Not even hungry, I wanted to sit and eat anyway.

Smelling carne asada and grass, blinking at sun and skin, I felt the paired desires of my feet, the push to stop to sit meshing in sympathetic opposition with the pull to keep going. A mighty fine place, I can see why people want to live here, Oakland.



But I had a ticket, somewhere in the electric cloud, for a metal bird to carry me, up among the vapor clouds, to Chicago, the Land of Wild Garlic. (Probably should have said more overtly last time that that’s the translation for the indigenous word shikaakwa from which the city derives its name.)



Chicago curb

First impression out the door

Upon arrival, there was only room in my mental carry-on for food and sleep, but yesterday I got up and out into the city. Looking through the window of my memory I saw California sunshine, but the window of the hotel showed swirling white flakes.



My coat may have been closed up tight, but my heart and mind were open, looking to see why people would want to live here, Chicago. What waited on these streets?

(And thank you in advance to everyone who gave me suggestions for what to see, I’ve already checked a couple off the list…)