A classmate of mine, Pons Cabagnot, from veterinary school recently arrived with his family from the Philippines as immigrants. During their first weekend in Chicago where they are planning to settle, I took them for a water taxi ride to Chinatown for lunch.
It was a little bit chilly yesterday, but I think we had a good time seeing some parts of Chicago that many people haven’t seen. We were a little bit lucky to be treated to a side show – a Great Blue Heron hunting for food on the Chicago River. It’s getting to be more and more common now – wildlife on the revived river!
Had to visit the International Hotel and City Lights Bookstore before I went back to Chicago.
The International Hotel, often referred to locally as the I-Hotel was a low-income single-room-occupancy residential hotel in San Francisco, California’s Manilatown. It was home to many Asian Americans, specifically a large Filipino American population (the Manongs) who came to the US to work in agriculture and fisheries. Because of a scarcity of the Filipino women and American laws that prevented interracial marriage, most of the men were lifelong bachelors.
It is now converted into a retirement home.
City Lights on the other hand, is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.
I had most of the day free on January 3 before I flew back to Chicago in the evening, so I spent most of the day re-acquainting (?) with former Chicago-resident and University of the Philippines classmate, Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz, who lives right in the edge of Chinatown. I have known Lorns since 1974 when we were with the Freshman Orientation Program Committee welcoming new new students enrolling for the first time. So were practically the first people the new students were meeting to pick up their registration materials at the admin building. We kept in touch throughout the years – living parallel lives, sometimes intersecting here and there, and reconnecting again, this time in her own neck of the woods.
We were just going to go around Waverly Place to see the murals, but our walk meandered around the area that included other parts of Chinatown, North Beach, Little Italy and back to Chinatown with lunch at an incredible vegan restaurant called Enjoy.
Near epic day trip to San Francisco – from Chinatown to the Crooked Street to the Presidio, Baker Beach, Fine Arts Palace to Twin Peaks. For some reason, i didn’t take any pictures at the Presidio nor at the Fine Arts Palace. Shame on me.
Play it by ear because we didn’t have any idea where to go. We just let the conversation bring us to wherever … around the Loop and then to Chinatown, specifically the Ping Tom Memorial Park along the south branch of the Chicago River!