Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Philly-ing Fine, Part 2

It's been almost two months since I took my trip to Philadelphia, and I find it very difficult to recall things in chronological order, so if you don't mind, I'm just going to list random things that I did or saw during my visit. S'alright? S'alright.

- Philly is really a beautiful city. Very bright and lush. Lots of nice parks and public spaces. I especially enjoyed seeing the very old parts of town where the history practically oozes out of the pavement.

- I was introduced to the deliciousness that is Rita's. I had a root beer Misto the second day I was there and fell in love. The next day I had a Swedish Fish-flavored one and fell even deeper. Oh, how I wish we had Rita's in Nashville!

- The University of Pennsylvania has a nice campus. Lots of neat sculptures (including one of a huge, broken button) and cute boys. Mike and I visited a neat second-hand bookshop and a strangely comic book-less comic store. Still can't figure that one out. Then we had sushi served to us by a girl in a Pacman shirt.

- Reading Terminal was nice. LOTS and LOTS of neat things to see and food to eat. My mouth was watering the moment I walked in ... and not just because I almost walked directly into a really hot guy with a backpack near the produce section.

- Eastern State Penitentiary. Holy crap. Such an amazing and interesting site. Both spooky and awe-inspiring at the same time. It was cool to explore the history of the place but also enjoy lots of installation art as well. I thought it was especially neat that part of 12 Monkeys was shot there. At one point I felt a weird cold feeling on my neck that I thought might be a ghost, but then Mike pointed out that very small droplets of water were falling on me. Oh, well. The creepy feel clearly isn't lost on the locals, because they were using part of the prison as a haunted house. As we were leaving, we heard a guy telling a newbie about how fun kids are to scare.

Since no description of Eastern State Penitentiary would truly do it justice, watch this footage I shot on the day:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Philly-ing Fine

At the beginning of October, I flew to Philadelphia to visit Mike, one of my besties, and to explore the city for the first time.

The flight from Nashville to Philly was pretty uneventful, although I had my first "funny" experience with Southwest: one of the attendants sang little songs to begin and end the flight. The second one was to the tune of Heartbreak Hotel, if memory serves. The guy who sat a seat away from me was incredibly nervous about flying. He fidgeted and shuffled his feet throughout the entire flight. Sometimes this behavior makes me nervous too, but thankfully I stayed cool as a cucumber. I just looked out the window placidly at the passing landscape.

Mike picked me up from the airport and showed me around a little on the way back to the apartment he shares with his boyfriend Charley. And WOW it's a nice apartment. Of course, I might just be saying that because I got to have my own room. :D But as I was saying, Mike drove me around the neighborhoods of Manayunk and Roxborough, and we had a late, greasy-spoon lunch at the Manayunk Diner. Dinner was decidedly more "gourmet", as Mike made one of his famous chicken pot pies from scratch. De-licious ... and possibly the main reason I made the trip in the first place.

I must digress for a moment and admit that I did something on this trip that I typically don't do when I'm on vacation - watch a bunch of T.V. I was hypnotized by Mike and Char's DVR. I watched anything and everything, from Glee to Whatever Martha! to Drop Dead Diva to Jeffery & Cole Casserole. Basically, I binge-viewed, and I'm embarrassed about it.

The next day, after crawling out of bed and making love to the coffee-maker, Mike and I headed out to explore. At my request, we visited the bizarre and fascinating Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The Mutter features a large collection of medical ephemera, including the world's largest colon, the skeleton of a giant, and a tumor removed from the jaw of Grover Cleveland. Grotesque? Yes. Absolutely enthralling? Also yes. Afterward, we walked a few streets over to visit Fat Jack's Comicrypt (a really neat comic book store where we were party to an earnest (read "very loud") discussion amidst the staff regarding the merits of Supernatural's first season), Circa Antiques (a junk store absolutely jam-packed with stuff), and Sophisticated Seconds (a run-of-the-mill secondhand store with a highfalutin name). Of course, being us, we had to stop by Starbucks before heading home.

That night we had dinner at Cooper's in Manayunk. It was a nice place (that reminded me of Bosco's here in Nashville) with a very cute waitstaff, but it was exceptionally loud and although we didn't receive part of our order, we still got charged for it. We went back to the apartment for a quick drink, and then Mike and I headed out to take a taste of the Philly nightlife. We hit a bit of a snag, however, as two of the bars we were interested in visiting had recently changed names, making them difficult to locate. "Pure" had become "Voyeur" and "Bump" had become "q". The former was cavernous, stylistically designed ... and empty. The latter was colorful, loud and very, very full. Woody's, sitting basically right between the other two, was much more my speed - casual and fun without getting pretentious.

I'll post more about the trip later. This particular post has been sitting in draft form forever, so I figured I'd go ahead and publish. Check back in for the rest!