Sunday, July 31, 2011

Philadelphia (Part 2)

(July 24, 2011)

I did it. I plead Guilty.

It required no thought. No remorse at all. At first.

A dash down Allen Street. A mad knock on the door of the bus as the engines revved up.  The doors slid open. I threw cash into a man’s hand. We took our seats. Only when it pulled away and we passed Mr. Toothies, did it hit me...


I TOOK THE CHINATOWN BUS.

(photo compliments of google images)
I was no longer the Megabus Queen. Their seat was no longer my official throne. As of 10:30 am on Sunday, July 24th, I was the megabus traitor!

My brain (recognizing it was running on not-nearly-enough sleep) had said stay in NYC. My gut had said—go back to Philly!

Me on my friend Kacey's roof (where we almost slept the night before), deliberating. (photo by Kacey Stamats)
My friend, Kacey, seconded my gut and jumped on board, sealing the deal.

But I hadn’t booked a ticket in advance through Megabus, making the Chinatown bus the most economical/flexible route.

So there we were, surrounded by plastic "thank you" bags.

(photo by Kacey Stamats)
But our timing was impeccable, as we glanced out the window, we caught an entire other scene:

Our view from the Chinatown bus. Hundreds line up in front of City Hall in Lower Manhattan on Sunday, July 24th.  Photo also by Kacey Stamats-- she's a photographer, by the way.
I came into NYC, lugging my suitcase, backpack loaded, on what felt like the hottest day in NYC history (it was a day of record breaking heat). I left NYC on a truly historic day-- but not because of the temperature, though this is definitely hot.  As we glided past City Hall, hundreds lined the streets- ready to seal the knot for the first time legally.

After two hours on the chinatown bus...

(another hipstomatic shot/ half-portrait  by Kacey Stamats)
We arrived--

Chinatown in Philly.
The first thing we did was visit Reading Terminal Market (my other favorite grocery destination), Philly's famed farmer's market since 1893.



RTM prides itself on the fact that you can find almost anything there:
Ok Produce
Where I used to buy fish.
Anything:
Chocolate mice and dentures. Chocolate by Muellers.
Occasionally you can even find live music. When we went, the Philadelphia String Quartet was blasting Journey.

Recognize this song?

video
The second thing we did?

After wandering around Center City:

William Penn stands on City Hall, the tallest statue atop a building in the entire world. (photo by Kacey) 
And through City Hall:


A building impossible not to admire for it's honesty on whose back this country is built on / over:


We...
Bought a cheesesteak!
 
Kacey and I and a cheesesteak (on Broad Street).

Post-Cheesesteak satisfaction. Back in Rittenhouse Square. (photo by Kacey)
We then made our way to PlayPenn, (a new play development conference I interned at in 2005, their inaugural year).

http://www.playpenn.org/
Where we caught the last two readings of the conference, plays by two awesome emerging voices: local Philly playwright, Jacqueline Goldfinger and current UCSD MFA Playwright, Lauren Yee.

Afterwards, Kacey made her way back to NYC and I headed to West Philly, where I crashed at Jake’s (my curly haired Trader Joe’s friend).

And where I had one of the most awkward shower experiences in my life):
(Jake’s dad got this for him for his birthday. Not a statement on either of their political affiliations.)
You think showering with McCain would leave you cold. Not so.

It was another night in the heat-wave at a friend's with limited A/C. Around 2 am, I wandered onto the balcony, where I saw it...
                     the HAMMOCK.


Moon-shot from the hammock, where I slept.
And woke to:
Twilight in the morning from the hammock.
The sun  rising over West Philadelphia.
And onwards I went, schlepping my suitcase down the many broken sidewalks of Philly, on my way towards 30th street  station, to catch my MEGABUS for Boston.

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