Tall Buildings

Ever since I moved to Chicago I heard that for a while the Sears tower was the tallest building in the world. Actually to be exact, it was the tallest building from 74 to 98 when the Petronas Towers in Malaysia took over. The title is currently held by Tapei 101 in Taiwan, but there are plenty of buildings coming down the pipe that are gunning to take the title. Not to be anticlimatic, but a Dubai building is going to just be almost Babel tower like and dwarf everything by a long shot… the building is called Burj Dubai but I think it already looks too inspired by the Sears tower. It might just be Chicago pride.

It seems unfair to just dismiss the building because it is going to be gigantic, a word often used the right way. I blame marketing types. However two engineering marvels are being built in Chicago that will be spectacular.

Aqua USA does not look all that impressive when looked at from a distance, but once it is built and we are able to look at it from a closer angle a water effect is going to make the building appear as if it was made out of water. I actually considered architecture as a career path, but back then i did not realize how fantastic the field could be.

There are other impressive buildings being built in China, Russia and these very futuristic building in Penang, but the one that I am looking forward to the most is the drill bit like building called Chicago Spire by Santiago Calatrava. Call it Chicago Pride, or just the fact that this is probably the tallest building I will ever be in, once it is constructed, but I am really looking forward to it changing the Chicago skyline.

Stuff White People Miss

I have been laughing at Stuff White People Like for like a month now. The site is pretty hilarious and IMHO very well written. I would give you some of my favorite posts, but I think it is worth just reading several of them if you have the chance. Reading that site has made me think of one of the first essays I wrote in my first English class. People that do not associate with other races miss a lot. So after a weird conversation with a couple of Mexicans I decided to write, Stuff White People Miss.

To most people in the US, Mexico is just a dirt down south of the border where you can go see a donkey show. It is also the place everyone runs to when the law is on your tail. Some more sophisticated individuals have actually travelled to our friend to the south and been to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta and think it is an awesome vacation destination and they could totally see themselves living there. What people don’t realize is that the country is huge and it has many different groups of people. Just like the people on the coasts look at midwesterners, people from the capital aka Chilangos look at the rest of Mexico.

One little known fact about hispanics is that overall people from different countries have stereotypes about each other. It goes from the joke that Colombians are just drug dealers to the point of not associating with each other because of their country of origin. When living in Chicago I was told a reason Puerto Ricans do not like Mexicans is because they come to work for lower wages, Puerto Ricans being American citizens take that very personally because someone in their family might have lost a job in the past. Mexican people are not the bad guys of this post, but they do seem to be center stage. I think it is mostly because it is the predominant country of origin that people think of when you say hispanic.

We buy calling cards to make calls to Colombia. It is cheaper than have a plan through a phone carrier still. It is almost a fun trading card game to see which one will give you more actual time when you are making a phone call. I ask the attendant at the store which one is working better recently and most of the time he will have a suggestion.

While waiting in line to buy my card a group of Chilangos was in front of me. They kept on looking back and later I found out that I looked a lot like one of their brothers… not sure if that was true or not. I am not sure why but they thought I was from Guadalajara. I took it as a compliment because the people from Guadalajara I have met have been pretty nice, but I am not sure it could have been an insult. They were young and were just being very open about what they said. I corrected them and told them I was from Colombia and this is when the difference between white people and hispanics begin.

Even the most ignorant person in the US has seen a couple of movies that tells them that Colombians are the drug dealers of the movie world. Just like the Russians are the nuclear arms dealers and the British are the cunning villains. Colombians worst representation comes from Scarface where they are portrayed as savages that want to use a chainsaw on Al Pacino.

The hispanic world has a “better” source for information, Telemundo. There Colombians are painted as violent kidnappers that will kill you if you look at them wrong. While it is true that Colombia has its issues and it is dealing with the FARC, most of its people is very removed from kidnappers, murderers and drug dealers.

The Chilangos took a couple of steps back almost looking scared and started joking about how they should be careful or they would get kidnapped. It was half joking, half kind of ignorant behaviour but I did not do much more than just smile. They confirmed they were Chilangos and told me I look a lot like one of their brothers.

Its funny when people put all of hispanics or even every Mexican into one stereotype box. Even within Colombian there are many cities and we are not all alike. If you like, or dislike me it means nothing when you talk to another Colombian. Even though we might have a lot of values in common, we could also have nothing in common. I just would love for people to drop the labels and start looking at people in an individual basis, but I guess that is still kind of a crazy dream at this point.


I am not the biggest sport fan there is, but I do like to cheer for my teams and the Royals and the Chiefs are in different divisions than the Cubs and the Bears so it is easy to cheer for all of them. The Wizards and the Fire are another story.

Today is the Cubs home opener, and I know many people will say that the Cubs have never done anything within my lifetime. I do not deny that, but then you just don’t understand what it is to be a fan. You like your team because you have lived there, or like me was the first professional baseball team you ever saw play.

One of the hardest things of being away from Chicago, even though I love Kansas City, besides being away from family is the great food. I have yet to have found good Chicago Deep Dish pizza, and miss my loaded hot dogs and Italian beef.

Thanks to Food, K.C. and Other Things, I found out about this Cubs home opener day lunch today. I might have to go and get an Italian Beef :) if have never had one, go to KC Lunch spots for the false advertisement (the first time I saw his blog I thought he had found this delicious dish here in a KC lunch spot). I am already wearing my Cubs jersey :)
I am predicting that the Cubs are going to win it all this year and hope to be right as I was when I predicted the Patriots demise at the hands of the Giants.

Vehicular Situation

Car Crash
We just got back from Chicago and had some car issues. Thankfully that is not either of our cars and neither of us was driving, but Bea and I were on the backseat of the car and got to see life flash before our eyes.

It can be a pretty traumatic experience to get into an accident like this one. I will not discuss the details but lets just say we are both glad that we are just sore and not really hurt.

La Calle – The Street

English Version.

Tengo un nuevo amigo por Internet. Es un Colombiano de Medallo! y conversando vía e-mail nos prometimos hacer un articulo de lo mismo pero desde las dos perspectivas, Medellin, Colombia y Overland Park, Kansas.

Aunque desde mi punto de vista tengo algo de ventaja, yo se que es una calle en Colombia por haber crecido en Cali, nunca he estado en Medellin así que será un poco interesante. El primer detalle del que quiero hablar es que en general la gente acá en los Estados Unidos no camina a ninguna parte. En parte por las distancias, nomas para comprar un galón de leche, acá no venden bolsas, se tiene que manejar a veces unos 5 o 10 minutos. Me acuerdo tanto que después de haber vivido en un apartamento en Chicago como tres anos, me di cuenta que nunca había cruzado la calle… pasado en carro, muchas veces pero nunca cruzado la calle. Tener carro acá no tiene nada que ver con estatus social, es casi una necesidad. Digo casi porque en las grandes ciudades hay transporte publico, pero apenas sales de una de las mayores ciudades así sea la población inmensa no hay transporte publico.

La palabra calle tiene dos significados muy distinto entre los dos países. La Calle en Colombia a veces se utiliza solamente para indicar que uno va a salir afuera de la casa. En algunos sentidos cualquier lugar afuera de donde uno vive es considerado la calle. En los Estados Unidos el termino La Calle tiene que ver mas con el lugar donde vives. El termino es usado negativamente hasta el punto que decir “street walker” que literalmente significa persona que camina en la calle significa prostituta. Cuando uno le dice a alguien callejero en Colombia significa solo que a la persona le encanta salir de la casa, pero acá seria alguien que esta como en malos pasos o en malos negocios en la calle.

Cuando salgo de mi casa veo los apartamentos de mis vecinos y al lado la oficina del conjunto. De donde vivo ahora si he caminado a comprarme una gaseosa hasta le estación de gasolina que queda a unos 200 pasos de la casa y he también salido a tomarme una cerveza al bar que queda casi a la misma distancia de la gasolinera pero hacie el otro lado. También he caminado hasta el parque que queda como a una cuadra a jugar fútbol y también solo a caminar por ejercicio con mi mujer.

La calle que recorro todos los días es la 87, trabajo y vivo prácticamente sobre esa calle. Me demoraría unos 20 minutos en caminar hasta el trabajo, pero la costumbre ya es de manejar hasta la oficina todos los días. Todo acá es cuestión de tiempo. Es cuestión de no gastar mas tiempo de lo que uno tiene y caminar parece una perdida de tiempo… aunque yo se que seria mas saludable y si no fuera por los cambios extremos del clima de acá depronto hasta me animaría a caminar hasta la oficina de vez en cuando.

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