Chicago: Begging Me To Visit

On my way back to Holland, somewhere around September 6, I had a seven-hour stop in Chicago. You should know, I always get a little nervous when flying. I love the flight itself, I am staring out of the window like a little kid (yes, even when I don’t have a window seat), but I’m always afraid I’ll miss it. It’s not like the subway where you just hop on the next one. I was absolutely certain I wouldn’t go into town, because it would absolutely freak me out. I figured I’d see what the airport had to offer me. Let me put it like this: Chicago O’Hare is in one way not made for long lay-overs, but in another way it sure is. I was bored after ten minutes wondering around, so I decided to get a train ticket to downtown Chicago. It was a 40-minute ride, which left me with enough time to look around a bit, go back and still wait four hours for my flight back home.

The one thing I’ll remember Chicago by will be the beggers. On every street corner, at least four men were trying to reach my charity spot. I didn’t have any money, but it sure surprised me a little. It wasn’t the first time I ever saw a begger, but it was the first time in The States I saw a downtown area filled with them. At one point, I decided to buy a nice man a hamburger at MacDonald’s around the corner. I bought the burger, walked outside and saw the very same man slamming his head into the wall while screaming. I decided it wouldn’t be the best time to give him the burger, so it was someone else’s lucky day. On my way back to the airport, one homeless man/woman fell asleep on my shoulder. I decided to do my part for humanity and let him/her.


2 thoughts on “Chicago: Begging Me To Visit

  1. Having grown up in the Midwest, I find your observations on American culture quite interesting. And having spent a little time in The Netherlands this year, I can see where you’re coming from. Whether us Americans want to admit it, Missouri (representative of the whole Midwest) is about as real as the U.S. gets. I wonder, though, how much your viewpoints on the U.S. might change though if you had a chance to spend more time in more metropolitan areas such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, etc (though maybe you did but haven’t had a chance to write about your adventures yet). I hope you would see that our culture is more intriguing and welcoming than meets the eye.

    I hope the next time you’re in the States that you’re able to spend more time in Chicago! Sure, we have problems like homelessness (among others), but the city has so much more to offer beyond O’Hare. Beautiful landscapes, great music, culture, amazing dining, to name a few. Thanks again for sharing your viewpoints.

  2. Amberwrites, welcome to my blog. I’m glad you can relate to both sides of my story, probably more than anyone else. I have the same feeling you describe when people see Amsterdam as all of the country. It feels like a dilemma to me, because sometimes I tend to write a little more blunt than I feel. You should keep in mind that I write mainly from a anthropological viewpoint, resulting in stating only the sharpest differences. I like the States and Midwest more than I sometimes make clear and believe me, I’d be happy to let myself be positively influenced by Chicago a second time if someone would sponsor me. My next trip is planned in January. If I see long lay-overs coming up, I’ll ask for recommendations. I hope you’ll like my further writings as well.

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