Monday, May 18, 2009

The "Staycation" - Part 3

Here's what we did on Sunday...

First trip out to Dick's Sporting Goods. What's a vacation without some shopping? I needed (er...wanted) a new pair of golf shoes. While I tried on every pair in the store (it seemed), Mary tried on some new clothes and discovered that her regular size 8 is really a size 2. We both left happy, though Mary wants to know what the heck is going on with women's clothes.

Next stop was the Otte Golf Center in Greenwood, just south of Indy, to hit a bucket of balls. We've visited their driving range several times in the last few weeks. Last weekend we played their "Executive Course" - a tight little par 3/par 4 course with plenty of challenges to keep us busy. We keep going back to Otte. The place is clean and well-maintained, and everyone who works there has a super attitude. Every time we walk through the door, they seem genuinely happy to see us and to have our business. In a world where surly customer service is the norm, these guys are the exception. We'll keep going back. (The price is right, too - a large bucket of 125 balls is $10, and they usually throw in a few extra. 18 holes is $16, walking, on the weekend.)

After the driving range, we drove back downtown to have lunch at La Parada Mexican Restaurant on New York Street at State Avenue.

This was the "hole in the wall" place recommended to us by the young lady from Zimbabwe we met on Saturday. It's a small place, with about 8 booths. The walls are clad in some kind of faux brick panelling that has been painted in a yellow and white wash. We each tried a fish taco ("pescado"). Mary also had a taco with goat stew. I had a chicken quesadilla. The food was very good, and noticeably different from most Mexican food we have had. (This probably reflects our experience of eating in Americanized Mexican restaurants, where flour tortillas and lots of cheese reign.) Our selections were served on small corn tortillas, two tortillas wrapping around the meat. The fish was pan-fried, not breaded, and served with lots of cilantro. The chicken quesadilla was long on chicken (also pan-fried), with minimal cheese. The goat stew was tangy. With a Modelo for Mary and a Negra Modelo for me, our lunch was only $16, plus tip. This will be our "go to" place for Mexican food from now on.

Later in the afternoon, we got out the bicycles and went on a ride around downtown. Our first stop was at the open house for the Landmark of Lockerbie condominiums, a new development on East Street. We live downwind of their construction site and were curious to see what's been created in the midst of all the noise and dust. We were impressed by the finishes in the place. They are nicely done - pricey, but nicely done.

After the open house, we rode around downtown, looking for each of the installations of sculpture by George Rickey. Rickey was an artist, engineer and sculptor who was born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1907. He died in 2002. Ten of his kinetic sculptures, created between 1964 and 2000 are located around downtown in an exhibition entitled "George Rickey: An Evolution", sponsored by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. We were fascinated by the balance and lightness of the various works, some of which were very large. Each one moved gracefully in response to the afternoon breeze. Two of our favorite pieces were:

Column of Four Squares Excentric Gyratory III Var. II (1990)

(Located on Washington St. at Pennsylvania Ave.)

Four L's Excentric II (1987-90)

(Located in front of Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle)

Just before 5pm, we had found all but one of the Rickey scultures, and were on Maryland St. at Capital Ave., near the gardens behind the Simon Property Co. building. (It's worth a walk down to see the gardens. It's a very simple, peaceful space, currently featuring two of the Rickey sculptures.) While we were waiting for the light to change, a man walked up to us and asked, "Did you know Barack Obama is going to be right down there at the Westin in about half an hour?" We had forgotten that President Obama was scheduled to speak at a fundraiser in Indy, after his commencement address at Notre Dame. We decided "what the hell", and rode down to the Westin. We joined a small crowd of people who were all waiting for the President to arrive. We could see people a block away on Washington St. waving signs. We figured they were protesters. After a few minutes, we decided to move on, figuring our vantage point was not good enough to give us a close look. (It was just as well. The evening news reported that Barack didn't get into the Indy airport until nearly 6pm. We'd have waited another 90 minutes before we saw anything.)

While it would have been fun to see the President up close, we pushed on for what became one of the most interesting sights of the day. Embedded in the crosswalk on the west side of the Maryland St. and Meridian St. intersection is a "Toynbee Tile".

It's about the size of a license plate, and says "Toynbee idea in Kubrick's 2001 resurrect dead on planet Jupiter".

A number of tiles like this have been found in Philadelphia, PA. They have also been found in Pittsburgh; Toledo, Ohio; New York City; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Boston; Atlantic City, N.J.; Chicago; St. Louis; Kansas City, Mo.; Detroit and even Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile.

No one knows exactly who is responsible for the tiles, or exactly what the cryptic message really means.

According to the web site

The most tantalizing clue as to the source of these tiles was a 1983 newspaper interview with a social worker from Philadelphia, a man named James Morasco, who claimed that Jupiter could be colonized by bringing Earth's dead people there to have them resurrected.

The site also offers some brief explanation of the relationship between "Toynbee" - Arnold J. Toynbee, a British historian, and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey , but it seems like a lot of conjecture.

So, our day ended with a puzzle. It just proves that Indianapolis is an interesting city. Damn interesting.

1 comment:

Bert Johnston said...

Just discovered your Staycation posts, parts 1-3. I can see why you like living in Indianapolis. Hope you have a good week. I'll look for more blogs. Glad you've resurrected "The View from the Roof."
~ Dad