By: H.K. English Teacher
Is visiting the US as fun as travel agencies advertise? I’ll definitely say yes, but it is way better than that, and here is why. I visited the US for the first time in November 2009. I enjoyed every day, every single moment. I was surrounded by a mix of engineering and science pieces of art, breathtaking nature views, and people with a very interesting culture. In this article I’ll do my best in sharing with you some of my experiences and insights during this trip.
I flew into Chicago, but my amazement started even before landing. From my window seat I could look over a gigantic city fully covered with lights. Neighborhoods, streets, highways, and skyscrapers were beyond the reach of my eyes, with the quiet Michigan Lake by their side looking like a mirror.
After landing, I headed to the state of Indiana where I stayed in Greenwood, a small town located south from Indianapolis. I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood. I could feel the fresh cool autumn wind on my face. The leaves had turned into wonderful yellow or red colors. Squirrels and birds were looking for food as they knew the winter was around the corner. “What God’s wisdom the nature shows”, I thought.
The city is beautiful, and it is well organized. For instance, some houses are surrounding a pond that offers a beautiful water view. In addition, the roads are well signed specially with speed limits that drivers carefully observe. Another driver behavior that caught my attention was that drivers really respect pedestrians. Drivers should stop for pedestrians in mall parking lots, and in pedestrian designated areas. Pedestrians walk knowing cars will stop for them.
Visiting stores is always a fun plan. One store I found interesting in particular was Borders. It is a big book store, with books for all subjects, magazines, CDs, and DVDs. It has a coffee shop inside with plenty of tables. In their business concept, they allow customers to grab a book from the shelf, and read it while enjoying a coffee without being enforced to buy it.
Indianapolis has the world’s largest children’s museum. Being an elementary school teacher, visiting it was a “must do”. The Children’s museum of Indianapolis designers did not overlook any detail. Their creativity is put in evidence starting in the outside. The front of the building welcomes visitors with a gigantic sculpture of a dinosaur breaking out the front wall. Once inside, a lot of different displays are waiting to be explored by children and adults. In the Dinosphere, for example, fossilized dinosaurs and plants are presented in the way they looked back in their strange and unique world. Visitors can be face to face with full size dinosaur skeletons and cut open bones while having the opportunity to interact with the well trained museum staff. Staff members answer questions, provide additional data, and share ideas, which help visitors drawing conclusions about the dinosaur world.
Other attractions are the largest sculpture of blown glass called “Fireworks of Glass” by renowned artist Dale Chihuly, the science center gallery, and the water clock. The Fireworks of Glass is a 13-meter-tall glass tower full of color that rises above a glass ceiling.
In the Science Center Gallery, scientific principles can be tested for a truly hands-on learning experience. The water clock uses hydraulic physics principles to measure time.
I made a long road trip starting in the Mid West, going south to Georgia, then North East to New York, and then back to Indiana. As part of this trip I had the fortune of visiting two aquariums. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, with more than seven thousand