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Hemingway Adventure

Chicago, Illinois (first day)

Chicago, Illinois, USA 
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The heroic relief sculptures of the Fort Dearborn Massacre on Michigan Avenue Bridge.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureHere the rolling waves of prosperity on which the city was rebuilt after the great fire of 1871 are all acknowledged. The pioneer tower blocks of the 1890s, full of Gothic detail and chunky stone-work, stand alongside the sheer glass walls of the 1990s. It’s the oldest modern city I know. Things we take for granted, like steel frame construction, curtain walling and high-speed elevators were pioneered in the city, and the buildings which pioneered them are still working.

And once in the downtown area I begin to feel the buzz of the street life which Hemingway celebrated. Just odd things. A sign above a North State Street diner which reads ‘Bad Booze, Bum Food, Rotten Service, Great Seating’. The constant, precarious presence of the El - The Union Loop Elevated Railway - whose trains rumble raucously over wooden sleepers on a steel gantry that was first erected over a hundred years ago. And a woman’s voice outside the Chicago Tribune building asking loudly, ‘So, can your husband can achieve partial erection, or no erection at all?’

I swivel round but there’s no one there. It’s a moment or two before I realise the voice is coming from a loudspeaker, broadcasting a radio talk-show from somewhere inside the building.
Chicago, Illinois, USA 
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A choice of three evils at the gun range.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Chicago, Illinois (first day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Chicago, Illinois
  • Book page no: 37

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