Thursday, January 4, 2007

Pilsen Neighborhood

For the past several years, I have been studying Spanish in adult night classes. As any student of a foreign language realizes, the only way to improve is to practice speaking and listening and preferably with native speakers.

The Pilsen neighborhood on Chicago's near south side is an enclave rich with Mexican people, food and culture. The highlights of the annual celebrations of Cinco de Mayo and Independence Day are the parades down Cermak and 18th Street respectively.

Without having to purchase an airline ticket, I can quickly be transported to a Mexican street complete with Spanish language signs, vendors selling paletas, friendly people and Mexican flags. Friendly people curious as to why a gringo photographer is visiting their neighborhood are quick to strike up conversations and humor me as I attempt to carry on a conversation in Spanish.

No comments: