The tunnel of chiming weirdness
We came home from Quebec through Detroit, which has a fine, modern airport. Unfortunately, it also has one of the banes of the frequent traveler — the under-the-runway concourse connection I call the Tunnel Of Chiming Weirdness. In Detroit, it is the tunnel connecting Concourse A and Concourses B and C. The tunnel has the standard moving walkways, but then inflicts upon the weary traveller a dim changing light show and weird, chiming, otherworldly music. In O’Hare, the Tunnel of Chiming Weirdness is the neon-ceilinged monstrosity that connects the United concourse with the rest of the airport. I am sure there are others I can’t think of at the moment.
Why do these off-putting light and sound shows exist in airport tunnels? Does someone actually think they are a triumph of modern “public art,” music, and design, or are they consciously designed to be so disturbing that they will cause travellers to sprint through the tunnel? Why can’t travellers who are changing planes just have a little peace and quiet as they walk through airports?
- Chateau Frontenac
Kish and I had a wonderful time in Quebec, where we stayed at the memorable Chateau Frontenac. It is a grand old hotel, replete with the kind of detail and polish and wood paneling and flourishes that you would expect in a grand old hotel. (We won’t speak of the air conditioning unit in our room, however.)
Prior to our visit to Quebec, the only time I have been to Canada was to visit Niagara Falls when I was a kid. I’m not sure why I haven’t been to any other locations in Canada, but I now think that we will look to our neighbor to the north for other visits in the future. The country seems to have a lot to offer, from the islands to the east, to the French-speaking enclaves, to the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver to the west.
Kish and I like to walk, and Quebec is well-suited to self-guided walking tours. It is very picturesque, with pretty street scenes, colorful buildings, and little parks wedged in between. The streets in the old town section are brick and shaded and lined with shops and bistros. It is ideal for a casual stroll, some window shopping, and a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop for a cold beverage at an outdoor cafe.
A visit to Quebec helps to demonstrate what downtown Columbus is lacking. The streets in Quebec are inviting and friendly to walkers, but the streets in Columbus really aren’t — there are too many surface parking lots, too little shade, and too few buildings that catch the eye. Unfortunately for Columbus and many other American cities, quaint older brick and stone buildings were razed during the urban renewal days, and the buildings that remain are like islands in a concrete sea. I don’t think Columbus could ever be as scenic as Quebec — it isn’t a 400-year-old walled city that with French for its main language, for one — but a few parks, and small buildings, and shade trees, and street vendors would be a good start.