My brush with Trump
America isn't Australia. It's a simple truth I'm reminded of each time I come here. Australia shares its language, devours its television and gets into bed with Bush, but even after all that we're not the same. There's the tipping thing, the insistent politeness ('How are you today, sir?'), the spirited conversations on public transport... the details are small but they accumulate, and I'm reminded that getting along over here requries a goodly amount of cultural interpretation and sensitivity.
It's always a happy realisation. If I wanted home I would have stayed there. Here's something I can't do in Canberra: stand in front of a giant kidney bean and look at myself. This is the Cloud Gate monument in Chicago's Millennium Park. 'The Bean', as it's known to locals, was designed by Indian artist Anish Kopoor and is meant to resemble a drop of liquid mercury at the point of landing on the park's plaza. It is made of a highly polished reflective steel, and when I was there it was surrounded by curious locals and tourists intrigued by the distorted reflection of themselves and the city behind them.
I also dropped by to see how Bill Rancic was doing. Bill, as you'll recall, was the winner of the first series of the Apprentice, and for the last 12 months he has been hard at work in Chicago building Trump International Hotel and Tower. (Kelly, the winner of the second series, was not so fortunate - on last report he was head of sales for Trump Ice, a brand of bottled water.) If today was any indication, the construction of this building is going to take a while - but it's a Saturday, so we can forgive Bill a day off. Just tonight I discovered an advert for this development - it featured a comely blonde and the promise that the reader could 'discover the elite lifestyle known only to a select few worldwide'. Residential condos start at US$506,000.
And a special thanks to American Airlines, whose glacial check-in queues caused me to miss my LA-Chicago connection and afforded me the unexpected delight of 4 additional hours in LAX. Next time I'm bringing my push bike.
A couple more photos