So I took a mini-vacation/work trip to Philly. The drive out was cloudless and wonderful, I made it in 5 hours almost exactly. When I arrived my GPS told me there was traffic so I detoured around it... which brought me into the city a different way. Later, I was told that I came in the "bad" side of south Philly. What I can tell you is that it looked like the stereotypes of the "bad" parts of Philly that are shown in movies.
As a caseworker, I drive through areas that other people wouldn't even consider visiting (our so I am told). I barely notice anymore here in Pittsburgh, but there, I was uncomfortable. I arrive at my gracious Hostesses' home and greet her and her cat. I tried to be clever and send her a picture of her door (like in the AT&T commercials) but she didn't get the text and I was tired of standing outside, so I finally just called her.
On the way there, I had thought of a fun idea and suggested we go to Atlantic City for the night. After some internet price searching and not finding a price we wanted, we decided to stay in town. Dinner was pizza and then we went out. I discovered a few things very quickly when I arrived in Philadelpia: 1) As long as you stop at stop signs and red lights, you can do pretty much whatever you want as a driver there. 2) As long as you watch for cars, you pretty much do anything you want to do as a pedestrian as well. 3) People in Philly are overly ambitious and "not too far away" can mean you're walking up to 15 blocks, "kinda far away" means you could land in the hospital or reach your next birthday before you arrive at your destination. 4)The city has three smells: bakery, sewage, and urine. Sometimes they combine as well...
The first night we went to a wine and cheese bar, and then an Irish Pub. I liked the pub much more than the wine place. The wine was good and the company was nice there, but it was a little out of my price range and my feet still hurt from walking. At the Irish Pub they had drink specials and a DJ, way more my style. We cabbed it home.
I won't go through minute by minute but some highlights were seeing the campus of La Salle University, touring Eastern State Penitentary, dinner with friends from around the world, seeing City Hall, seeing the kids outside of city hall breakdancing, the Love Park fountain and statue, the Italian Market Festival, Drinkers Bar (where they serve 40's to drink inside the bar) and Gay Bingo.
Gay Bingo was an Aids Relief benefit that was run by Drag Queens dressed as celebrities. My favorite was the rendition of Dianna Ross.
I stayed for 4 days, I ate at Pat's not Geno's and liked my steak hoagie. I think I ordered it right, I hope I did... I practiced while waiting in line, but it was a short line :-( All in all it was a grand trip. As I left the city and I was on my way to attend to work matters, I was thinking about how the drivers in Philadelphia really do whatever they want, but somehow it works. Cabbies dodge and weave, and I have never heard car horns used so often in my life! Just as I was thinking about this, I noticed police lights in my rearview window. Thinking he must be on his way to an accident, I moved over and prepared to stop. Oddly... he moved over as well and then squaked at me and motioned for a side steet... almost like he was pulling me over... wait a second... he was pulling me over.
Ten minutes and $140 later, I was on my way back to Pittsburgh. 11 hours later after making 4 stops (two to see kids on business, 2 to charge my phone at rest stops because my GPS is in my phone), I arrived at home. At 11 o'clock at night I got home and checked my voicemail message. Oh... my family was going to help me move on Thursday, but tomorrow would be better for them. And so I rested about 30 minutes, got up, packed till 4 am, slept till 7:30 am, packed till they arrived at 9, moved all day, worked at night, moved some more, slept worked, worked again, got home at 8 p.m. tonight, had a beer with the new neighbors, unpacked some more and now here I sit... blogging.
It's time for bed :-) Have a great day!