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Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Dave!When you find yourself driving between Chicago and Milwaukee time after time after time, you're always looking for something new and interesting to do. Today after work had FINALLY finished, I was planning on visiting America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, only to find out that they were closed for "summer break." To which I can only say "WTF?!?" Summer is when the most people take their vacation time and can visit your museum! Oh well. I guess I'll be saving that one for another trip.

With the museum out of the picture, I consulted a page of notes I keep about things to do in the Milwaukee and Chicago area. It's an ever-growing list of stuff I run across in magazines, web sites, or TV shows that sound like something I might enjoy. Buried in middle of the list was a single link and these words...

        Wilmette Bahá'í - Timothy.

And that's when I remembered that Timothy had written about a wonderful visit to the Bahá'í Temple in Uganda, and had mentioned that there was another north of Chicago. So, after consulting iPhone for an address and directions, off I went.

And what a sweet decision that was. The Bahá'í House of Worship (Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in the original Arabic) was completed in 1953, and is an extraordinarily beautiful building that has to be seen to be belived...

Baha'i House of Worship Chicago

Baha'i House of Worship Chicago

You can't take photographs inside, but the ornate carvings continue once you enter the building. The dome is a remarkable piece of architecture because those carvings go all the way through, making it particularly beautiful as the light streams through the holes. The building itself is open to the public (no admission fee), and is meant to be a peaceful place for people of all faiths to come and pray or meditate.

I have a fleeting knowlege of the Bahá'í Faith because some friends I know are followers. In many ways, it's a nifty religion, attempting to unify different faiths by looking at them as manifestations of the same single God. This means that divine religious figures such as Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad, all come from the same place and are teaching different aspects of a single religion. This principle is so important that symbols of these other religions are carved on the outside columns...

Baha'i House of Worship Chicago

(And, just because there's always somebody dying to make a smart-assed remark about Buddhists being Nazis, I should post a reminder that the swastika was used as a religious symbol in Hindu and Buddhist faiths thousands of years before Hitler was even born, and is used even today to mark Buddhist temples on maps in Asian countries).

There are currently seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship world-wide... Wilmette, USA - Kampala, Uganda - Sydney, Australia - Frankfurt, Germany - Panama City, Panama - Tiapapata, Samoa - Delhi, India (which is the most visited buildings in the world, and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful structures created). I can't help but wonder if I should make future travel plans around visiting all of them? Heaven only knows they are located in some interesting places.

And now, a few random bits to close out the day...

  • Lightning storms were so bad last night that the power went off at 4:00am this morning, right in the middle of work. This delayed my already-delayed project another three hours, which meant I got next to NO sleep over a 38-hour period. Good times.
  • Hating is bad, and I try very hard not to hate anybody or anything. That being said, I hate, hate, HATE hotels that have a check-out time earlier than 12:00 noon. HATE THEM!! I don't care how many stars you have or how highly you are rated, if you ask people to check-out before noon, you are a crappy hotel. Sadly, this is a growing trend, and more and more hotels are adopting this horrible policy. What's next... somebody breaks into your room at 8:00am and tosses you out the window?
  • When I checked out of my hotel in Wisconsin, I was sure to get some dollar bills so I had money for the highway tolls. This was great, until I found out my exit has an unattended plaza which claims to have a CASH lane, but only accepts COINS. With no warning and no way of turning around, all I could do was toss in the only coins I had... 65¢... and continue onward. When I got to my hotel, I was going to look up a phone number on the internet so I could find out how to avoid being arrested, and instead found that you can pay a missed toll online. Sweet!
  • But I'm still pissed. If an exit only accepts coins... WHY NOT WARN PEOPLE BEFORE THEY EXIT, YOU DUMBASSES!!
  • I was nearly wiped off the road when a semi truck decided to turn into my lane, apparently not seeing that I was already there. My only option was to speed up as fast as I could so I could slip into a hole in left-lane traffic before he hit me. Despite the fact that I was honking my horn, he never once veered from his course, and didn't even look at me as I passed. Scary.
  • So iPhone is not perfect after all. After you use Google Maps for an extended period of time, it will start crashing with increasing frequency any time you try to access a map. Also, iPhone forgets where you last were on a map when it crashes, meaning you have to start all over again. Lame! I finally solved this by re-booting, but it's pretty annoying to have to do this at a critical time when you are relying on having a map handy.
  • As I was fighting nasty traffic all the way back to O'Hare International, I looked over and saw a man driving with his lap full of dogs... there must have been at least three of them. They were all jumping around and going crazy as he was trying to drive, and I kept waiting for him to lose control and plow into me. Just when think that people can't get anymore stupid, something like this proves me wrong.

And I guess that's my Wednesday. Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will lapse into a coma.

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. kilax says:

    This temple is one of the most gorgeous buildings in the suburbs! I am happy you got to visit it!

  2. sizzle says:

    that is a magnificent temple. absolutely breathtaking.

    even though it sucks to lose power, i love a good lightning/thunder storm. i’m kinda jealous you got to be in one.

    happy travels!

  3. claire says:

    What stunning architecture. Thanks for sharing your pics.

    I hate early checkouts too. I’ve found most places don’t care if you call a few minutes before checkout time and say you’re running late.

  4. I had never heard of Bahai until we discovered the temple in Wilmette. Such an amazing place. I think it’s a pretty nifty religion too, mainly because there are so many similarities between religions. I think it’s unfortunate that people focus on the disparities.

  5. RW says:

    I used to just blow off the toll booths around here until I got my IPass. Never got called out on it. But paying the toll you missed online?? Jesus, Dave, you’re The Beaver!

  6. Suzanne says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    Hope you got some sleep…

  7. Wayne says:

    Been there with the work hours thing. My personal record is 53 hrs straight with a 45min nap around hour 28-29. Red bull, Pepsi and a healthy dose of Whataburger Taquitos did it for me then.

    Someday your iPhone will be a GPS-enabled, proximity badge that will pay all tolls, be your credit card, notify you of people nearby “new buddy lists” and oh will be embedded behind your right temple. It’ll be called the iBe and have the logo of an eye and a bee.

    You heard it here first, folks.

  8. margalit says:

    You forgot a HUGE B’hai temple… in Haifa, Israel.
    It’s considered one of the 7 wonders of the world. By whom, I have no clue. And I don’t know it that would be the NEW wonders or the old wonders, but it’s a gorgeous garden and building.

    Interesting they left that one out of the literature.

  9. Dave2 says:

    Kilax… Me too! Thanks, Timothy! 🙂

    Sizzle… It was particularly impressive, because the entire area was fogged in, so the lightning reflected off the fog and lit up the entire sky.

    Claire… Yes, most places will allow for a late check-out, but I don’t consider noon to be late, and shouldn’t have to ask to stay until then . 🙁

    Geeky Tai-Tai… Indeed, we are all so much more similar than we are different, and I’m always happy to see when anybody recognizes this.

    RW… So many places have cameras now to record violations, that i decided better safe than sorry. Especially since this was totally unintentional.

    Suzanne… Apparently not. Iwas just woken up by a bunch of people laughing and screaming in the hallway. Oh well. iPhone was handy on my bed-side table, so at least I get to use my rude awakening to answer comments!

    Wayne… Given technological advances in RDIF tagging, I don’t doubt it!

    Margalit… Actually, I didn’t forget. The building in Haifa at the Baha’i World Center (HQ of the Baha’i Faith) is a shrine that houses the remains of Bab (herald of their religion), not one of the seven Houses of Worship in the world. Though I did read an eighth is being built in Chile.

  10. jane says:

    What a magnificent building. Thanks for showing us the religious symbols, I never would have noticed them. I’m gonna have to look into that faith, I like beliefs that are inclusive & unify rather than the alternative.
    I definitely think you should make visiting all 7 a lifelong goal. It’d be kinda like the 7 wonders of the world…except Dave style!

    I had the same thing happen w/a trucker & if I’m ever on the side of a truck now, I speed up or slow way back down.

  11. adena says:

    I think the check-out thing is so the maids can clean the rooms before the relatively earlier check-IN times of 1-2, etc…

    I only know this because I’m currently working front desk at a hotel with an 11:30 check out time.

    And that building is gorgeous.

    And I knew about the swastika being a religious symbol long before Hitler perverted it.

  12. kapgar says:

    Unifying all the major religions into one system of ideas? Now there’s a concept people should grasp onto.

  13. Mike says:

    Not a Bahá’í faith follower myself, but I have friends who are. You have to dig a religion that tells you you’re smart enough to make your own mind up about the religion itself.

    But the whole “no drinking” thing… I don’t know.


  14. Chelle says:

    Well, I am impressed. Your usual posts are right up my alley with the whining and complaining, which I do enjoy greatly. This is a great post, because you shared some interesting information and I learned something (rare!). Great pics, and of course, thanks for the whiny follow up. 🙂

    As a frequent traveller, much of the information you have shared of late I have experienced. Although I have tons of advice on traveling, if you don’t do it frequently enough, it’s words wasted.

    On another note, I HATE those stupid little toll booths too. I was in Richmond, entering the city freeway (in a hertz car…on business). So, there’s this change basket that is COMPLETELY HIDDEN… Only people with telepathy, or those who have lived in this city their whole life would know it was there. As the man in front of me and I entered the freeway, I saw him slow down, so I did too. Then I looked over my left shoulder to see what the traffic was like as I entered the freeway, turned my head and saw that he had come to a complete stop.

    Now, I am a good driver… So I slammed on the brakes, knew I was going to hit him, and hit him straight on to minimize the damage. Then I realized why he stopped. For a FRAKKIN’ tiny-ass change thingy that was completely non-descript, and couldn’t be seen. No sign, NADA. I am serious. No sign, nothing about how much money, no major booth, just a change basket sitting there as if it just walked up one day and said, “I think I will hang out here”, and people just started throwing money at it.

    Suffice it to say I HATE Richmond, VA. Not only because of that, but the whole city seems like the hood. The kid I hit was 19 years old, and I swore he was a gang member. Weird, though, he was super-polite to me, and I felt so badly, but I just KNEW he was going to sue my insurance comnpany once he talked to his gang buddies (yeah, I know… I am such a bigot). It turned out to be okay, to my surprise, but I never saw anyone in Richmond that didn’t look like they were right out of the hood.

    And, to my pleasure, next week I get to go to Pittsburgh Sunday through Saturday. Good god; what am I going to to in Pittsburgh??? I love going to San Fran, LA, blah blah, but I hate the east coast. There is even a major difference between visiting NYC and working in NYC…

    Anyway, enough ranting… Haven’t had enough coffee to be this bitter yet; I might irritate someone too early in the morning. I try to shoot for my first offense around 9 a.m.


  15. Avitable says:

    That Bahá’í temple sounds interesting. Too bad you couldn’t take pictures of the inside.

  16. Kyra says:

    Ah yes, I remember driving in Chicago. I lived there for over two years. It’s amazing that I now live in a place with no stoplights or anything. I’m totally out of practice fending for my life and dodging doggie-driving lunatics while flinging my tolls and never slowing below 55 MPH anywhere.

  17. Lisa says:

    Looks like a beautiful place.

    A couple of weeks ago I was almost squashed by a semi as it came over on me and I had nowhere to go. 30 seconds after getting past that I came down with a massive migraine. Ugh!

  18. timothy says:

    Thanks, Dave, for the reference. I’ve also considered making future travel plans to visit all of them. I’ve been in many of the cities where they are located, but I was not aware of the Bahá’í faith until recently. Not only are the buildings magnificent, but the gardens around them are quite beautiful, too.

  19. hannita says:

    The temple is pretty. I’ve only driven past it a few times. I should try to stop in and take a look around.

  20. the patient says:

    So if the carvings go all the way through… how do they keep out the rain?

  21. Dave2 says:

    Jane… I think the one I am most anxious to visit would be the one in India. I’ve always wanted to go, and this is just icing on the cake!

    Adena… No no… they still had a check-in time of 3:00. I am never upset if I go to check-in early and there aren’t rooms ready… I just leave my luggage and go goof off for a couple of hours. But sleeping in until noon is a God-given right of all Americans (nay, all HUMANS) and should not be messed with! 🙂

    Kapgar… Except people who have already chosen their religion will probably be resistant to something that goes against their faith. I think the Bahá’í realize this, and think of their faith as an evolving one. Who knows, maybe that’s where everything will end up eventually?

    Chelle… Yes, well since whining is all I ever do here, it’s nice it’s appreciated. Pittsburgh is one of my most favorite American cities. I love the place, and would dearly like to go back one day. With a positive outlook, you can have an amazing time while visiting such a fun and beautiful place.

    Avitable… Well, I probably COULD have, but they ask you nicely not to. They really are a gentle and kind people, which is part of the charm of the place.

    Kyra… Chicago is kind of nuts, but it pales in comparison to driving in Detroit! 😀

    Lisa… It’s even more amazing in person! Photos have a hard time capturing the elegance and scale of the place.

    Timothy… No, thank YOU for giving me an idea for something to do! It was a fantastic detour in my day!

    Hannita… Well worth stopping. It’s a peaceful oasis that calms the soul. 🙂

    The Patient… I’m guessing there are windows. I dunno. Have to look into that, I guess.

  22. Baak says:

    Yet another awesome blog entry.

    Thanks! 🙂

    BTW, I’m convinced there is no maximum limit to people’s stupidity. It’s probably due to the fact that evolution can’t take them out of the pool as easily now as it once could.

  23. Dustin says:

    Awesome temple pictures. Sorry to hear your iPhone isn’t playing nice with Google Maps. 🙁

  24. Catherine says:

    I wonder why they wouldn’t let you take pictures of the inside?

    The family who run the company I work for are Bahá’í. They are Iranian. I think I’m gonna go look it up. Yeah, no drinking would definitely suck, and I wonder why religions make dumb rules like this.

  25. The Queen says:

    What’s even more interesting is that my people (Aboriginal-North American) use the backward swastika for years and years.

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