Today I explored another part of downtown before meeting up with Bill and Annette. The financial district was busy over the noon hour with lots of traders standing around having cigarettes for lunch. Many of them were wearing special mesh trading jackets with ID badges and lots of pockets with folded up newspapers and notepads. I grabbed a mach and did some people watching because I thought I had lots of time to grab the train down to Hyde park where we were meeting. When I got to the train that google maps told me to go to it was a regional train that only left every half hour. Without wireless access on my phone I decided to take a cab so that I wouldn’t keep them waiting. I only had a rough map so I didn’t know exactly where at UChicago the oriental institute was located. I got dropped off and didn’t know exactly which way to go. Morry’s deli had free wifi so I went in a bought a hot dog so that I could get access to google maps and figure out at this point just how late I was going to be. The guy at the counter forgot about my order and the manager gave me my money back and an extra dog in the bun. At this point I knew I was at least 15 minutes away with an extra messy dog to eat before starting the sweaty walk.
When I got to the oriental institute I was 20 minutes late, but Bill and Annette had only just arrived because they were forced to park several blocks away and it took a long time for them to walk.
The most interesting part of that museum was an exhibit about some archaeological excavations in the middle east that the University of Chicago had been a part of. It was in the form of a timeline that stretched from 14,000 BC to 600 AD. The formation of cities, city states and the rise and fall of different empires around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was especially fascinating, likely because of all the hours I’ve logged playing Civilization and Age of Empires.
After the museum we walked around the campus for a while, proving that Bill has incredible stamina for his age. The only thing he seemed to have issues with were stairways without railings. After he retired from the University of Illinois he lectured at the University of Chicago in a few different schools. He showed me some buildings that he taught in, and we also went inside the library which has a space-aged underground automatic storage and retrieval system. We discussed the transition from print to digital reference materials and the question of how long print materials will exist in any form.
After the library we did the long walk back to the car and drove to the grocery store where we picked up a few things for dinner. I offered to drive again but was rejected.
We cooked a couple of Cornish game hens and sat around the table for a long time talking about the relationship between city planning and neo-classical economics. Whether or not traffic congestion is an externality and other light topics.
After dinner I called a cab but it had just started raining so cabs were in high demand. After 45 minutes it finally came and I went back to the hostel in Greektown.