I was thinking yesterday that since I was only a few days from D-Day, I should distance myself from all earthly matters; so I took the Ferris Wheel.
Well firstly, this was Valentine’s Day, and I needed to please my partner-of-the-past-fifteen-years who’s been nagging at me ever since the first day of the year
(she does that every year: New Year’s Day is Ferris Wheel Day; but this time I adamantly stood by my principles, and refused to do it … I couldn’t refuse again on Valentine’s Day, though).
The Ferris Wheel was the Yanks’ answer to Gustave Eiffel’s Tower. Just as the Frenchman’s monument was meant to grace the 1889 Paris Exposition, the Wheel was designed and constructed by bridge-builder George Washington Gale Ferris Jr to embellish the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was opened to the public on June 23rd, 1893 – which also happened to be the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. It culminated at 80,24m, far behind the “Grand Lady” (324m) ; except the wheel turned with the people on it, which was quite a challenge. So the result of the Chicago vs. Paris match, engineering-wise was a tie.
While on it, I couldn’t help but imagine what Ferris must have felt like on the opening day, when the public was confronted with his iron masterpiece for the first time.
That Wheel was the symbol of many things: firstly, it was the symbol of the will to surpass the French; secondly, it would be an achievement of a scale that would honour the memory of the Great Columbus; and thirdly, it would symbolize the fact that Chicago was the number one city of the USA.
But the biggest symbol of all was that the wheel was turning, and that the world’s center of gravity was shifting from the Old to the New World.
So while I was on it, I was thinking about all that; but most of all, I was just having fun! Having a good time reviving the child in me.
I was marvelling at the breathtaking sight of Paris … and I was makin faces, and teasing my partner by shaking the cabin in a playful search for unsteadiness, and the effect this would have on her.
And, of course, I took a few pictures …