So I awoke to my second day in Philly and the day was overflowing with untold possibilities. I wanted to experience everything but reality set in and I knew that was impossible since I was scheduled to depart the next day.
Needless to say, time was against us and true to the nature of our relationship, we lounged in bed most of the morning. But can you blame a brotha? It's not often you get to chill in Philadelphia with your boyfriend in a fancy loft of a semi-famous musician ...
We lay there telling stories and I discovered that The Voice used to bus tables during his undergrad years. However, that gig didn't last long after he knocked a customer out cold with a busing bucket! A long story I won't digress into but he had me in stitches for a good five minutes!
We eventually made our way out of bed and showered, eager to explore the city. And of course we couldn't have a weekend away from Boston without a small disagreement. I fussed about his slowness in getting ready but he snapped back regarding my lackadaisical attitude. The argument fizzled once we were in the car and in a few minutes, we were cruising towards downtown Philadelphia.
We zipped past Love Park and City Hall and then proceeded down the Avenue of the Arts. I pointed out the statue of William Penn at the apex of the building. We stopped at a Whole Foods on South Street to pick up some stuff. However, I was on the hunt for the one thing I craved and needed to experience before leaving this city: a cheesesteak! The Divo and his boyfriend visited Philly a few months prior and recommended Geno's Steaks, a few blocks shy of South Street. After a few wrong turns (my one significant complaint about Philly is the lab rat maze-like feel of numerous one-way streets! ARGH! There's no such thing as "around the block"!), we found the Geno's and their competition, packed with hungry people and lines wrapping around the building. I parked in a lot a few blocks away and walked back.
The line moved at a measured pace and I gazed over the many celebrity and non-celebrity photos, autographs and multitudes of fire and police patches. There was even a sidewalk dedication to law enforcement, complete with plaques and bronzed memorabilia. The turn was mine and I ordered a steak with swiss cheese and no onions (they don't agree with me) and got a side of fries and a coke. I swear I put on about 10 pounds after that meal but it was well worth it! The Voice stood with me but being a Vegan, he had no interest in joining me.
Shopping was next on the agenda and I steered us northward, back toward City Hall and down Market Street. We hopped on Interstate 76 and cruised past Boathouse Row on the Schuylkill River and down the scenic Lincoln Drive. The road curved and twisted like a boa constrictor and eventually deposited us in the Chestnut Hill area.
Having fell in love with this area from my last visit, I had go back there. The quaint shops, the cobblestone roads, the small town/village relaxed me to no end and once again, true to our relationship, we sought out the nearest bookstore (Border's) and set about buying stuff we probably didn't need. Yeah, I know, we're dorky like that but we're both huge readers and can easily spend HOURS in a bookstore and not be bored!
We then drove up to the Franklin Mills Mall after some more wrong turns and shopped around for a while. I managed to snag Musiq’s latest album and then we decided to get back to Philly so we could feed our rumbling stomachs. We returned to the apartment and snacked on some leftovers from Warmdaddy’s; little did we know, this would be our undoing. We hopped in the car. Destination: the Gayberhood. (Cute name, huh?) However, The Voice became increasingly nauseous from the food and I turned back to the apartment. He lay down leaving me anxiously bored. I flipped on the plasma TV and surfed around awhile. Eventually, I found some old menus and put in an order for a pizza from a shop around the corner.
Not quite how I envisioned my Saturday evening.
Sunday morning, we lazed in bed awhile and then I began packing. We traipsed to a small Mexican bistro a block away and I had the BEST pancakes in my life, coated with powdered sugar and strawberries and blueberries! Wow, I’m salivating just thinking about that memory …
Right before it was time to depart for the airport, the apartment manager stopped by to straighten up and we had a nice conversation. She moved to Philadelphia a few years ago from Arizona to be closer to her daughter and decided to remain. I think I can understand why.
Nevertheless, before I knew it, I was sitting in the terminal at Philadelphia International next to a bunch of bratty kids who couldn’t sit still to save their lives. I snagged a few souvenirs from the airport gift shop and soon was sailing through the air, on my way back to Boston.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Philly twice and each time has been an amazingly adventure. I’ve seen the best of Philly and the worst (visited North Philly the last time and here I thought our hoods were extremely ghetto). Overall, I find the people to be more open and friendlier (we’re a bit stuffy here in Beantown) and the general layout isn’t to hard to follow. Philadelphia is brimming with culture, music, art, and history and I see it as a kindred city. If given a chance to live there, I would definitely consider it.
However, in the spirit of Dorothy, “There’s [truly] no place like home!”