Tuesday, February 28, 2006

“the elevator has just gone down...”

Today was cold but lovely and sunny so I decided to take the boys on an outing... Destination: Garfield Park and its lovely old Conservatory, now about 100 years old. The Conservatory is a huge glasshouse, full of exotic plants. It really is a great place to go when it is cold, to hang out with a bunch of arid plants (and their warm climate). A huge palm house, an immense fern house and a magnificent display of spring azaleas, camellias and other bulb plants, were all highlights. A fish pond with large Koi fish and a Children’s Garden were the definite winners. The Children’s Garden included an area with large foam play blocks, a twisting twining vine to climb upon, large Monsteria leaves to peak through, and a curly slide - all assisting with the tiring out of a toddler. The staff were lovely and there were no crowds to get lost amongst: the perfect place to beat the winter chills.

A real highlight for Luc was catching a train to the Conservatory. This was a task that did require some research as the main train services are either the subway or the ‘L’. As these both have numerous stairs to negotiate and to navigate with a stroller, I really needed to make sure that the train stations we required had access for the disabled, i.e. an ‘elevator’ (or ‘lift’). The ‘L’ is so named due to it’s ‘elevated’ nature. The tracks are located a couple of storeys above the ground (mostly with the road network running beneath). The L provides a great vantage point for the city as it runs right through it (and over it!) and is not segregated to a separate rail corridor or under the ground.

All went well with our journey and we were just about to leave the station of Clinton (right next to our apartment) when a CTA official told me that “the elevator has just gone down”. No problem I thought, I will wait until it comes back up... until I realised that what she was actually telling me was that the elevator was broken. This caused some momentary panic. My cell phone had just run out of charge and there was no way that I could possibly get a stroller down the stairs. The CTA lady told me she could not help me as CTA officials were not allowed to lift anything. Instead, she set off to recruit a fellow commuter to assist! Be it Chicago, or the renowned mid-western hospitality, there always seem to be people around ready to help - willingly. Lucky for us, the elevator repair man came to our rescue and we were on our way in about 5 minutes - PHEW!

After doing a little research on the ‘L’, I began to think that perhaps ‘Granville’ was not the best name for a location on a train line - refer to the links re: Sydney’s Granville and Chicago’s Granville to see what I mean.

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