You make the most of summer in Chicago. Even our most extreme climates here in India don't compare to the winter minimums of -20°C and the wind chill factor of -50°C with the blizzards of course. So Lake Michigan and the parks take on a festive air as the citizens of the windy city and surrounding 'burbs get out to have a good time.
An ideal time for an air show. I land up, camera and aunt ( Rangamani Periamma, mum's oldest sister) in tow and am gobsmacked by the 10s of thousands of people who've gotten there before us. Parents, couples, kids, picnic baskets, tents, fold-able chairs, barbecues, umbrellas, cameras, corporate promotions, protesters, army recruiters, teens, toys, world war vets - they're all there in complete sun worshipping attire.
Planes from four generations roar around, do formation runs, tricks defying the laws of physics. The Blue Angels, USA's premier air force formation squad flies inches away from each other earning collective gasps for fearless feats of daredevilry.
In the midst of all this recruiters from all wings of the armed forces rally around and rabble rouse the already impressed crowds, urging them to sign up for Uncle Sam. One even walks towards me with purpose and thinks the better of it when he sees my long hair and camera. Not ideal army material apparently.
Freedom of speech is alive and kicking here and a group of hippy protesters get the placards out to protest the war in Iraq and the air force's show boating , braving taunts of 'traitors' and even the occasional spitting on from irate republican patriots.
What a blast. Apologies to my aunt for keeping her out in the sun for long. :)