The Philadelphia...Roman a Clef?
Aaah...darn it...there's a perfect title in there SOMEWHERE...just can't think of what it could be.
Friday: Day One of The Trip to see Erin, Ben, and their new little baby boy, whom we shall refer to as The Bean.
Day one was also, sadly, Day Two, if-ya-know-whad-I-mean. (How is Day Two, after two months with none of those days whatsoever? It is MIND-BOGGLINGLY BAD AND DISGUSTING, as it turns out. Thanks for asking!)
I flew out on Friday morning through Houston. Uneventful. I fell asleep with my magazines on my lap, and the nice young man sandwiched next to me had to pick them up. At least once.
Erin and the Bean picked me up at the airport that afternoon, and I spent a lovely evening staring at the baby - who is utterly worth losing oneself in, take it from me - and thenceforth walking with the family to a fabulous neighborhood pub. I was forced into having a ginormous cheese steak with fries, plus several beers, as we watched the Phillies take a loss on their path to pennant victory over the hated Mets. Loverly. (Not the Phillies part. That was apparently a bad thing. I, not liking my chances otherwise in the bar-full-o'-fans, elected to assume the role of Phillies devotee myself.)
So, this pretty much sums up Friday (I didn't get one of the steak):
Saturday: Outstanding day. Blue sky, seventy-something degrees, happy baby, lots of coffee. We roused ourselves out of the house at the crack o' noon, and upon my vague requests to see something "old! And historic-y! But not the places I've already seen! (Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, etc.) And outside! And some actual fall! Like leaves and stuff!" Erin and Ben elect to head to Valley Forge.
Valley Forge is entirely beautiful. It's a big state park, but really well within the bounds of Philly proper. It's hilly, and green, with tons of trees and wild animals. (We saw approximately one skillion deer, and at least one fox.) I think most people who actually live there go there to walk the very nice exercise trails, but we waited for the park ranger to deliver his little tour/spiel combo about Washington, the Continental Army, and the famous winter that they spent there. And, Erin even talked me into sitting for the storytelling lady's story. It was very interesting, about a Quaker woman named Lydia Darragh who sort of accidentally became a spy for the Continental Army, which resulted in the Quakers - staunch pacifists and not-take-siders that they were - kicking her out of the religion.
We also saw the Musket Guy do a talk about...well, muskets. It was cool. He shot it.
Replica huts. Real hot(ties):
And, Erin and Ben. Don't know what he's doing behind her.
That night, Erin and Ben indulged me in a bit of Austin-ness...I cooked up two kinds of enchiladas - one batch of chile/chocolate mole, with some dried chiles and Mexican chocolate from Central Market, and one batch of green chile/sour cream, or "suiza" enchiladas. Served with refried black beans and homemade tortilla chips...it was a big, greasy, mess o'Texas, right there in their lovely kitchen.
Of course, we also had margaritas with fresh lime juice...it would have been illegal not to do so, I believe...and, as Erin didn't have a shot glass, the resounding cry of "Of COURSE a quarter-cup measure will do!" echoed around her lovely 1930's home. Several of those later - and at three in the morning - Erin and I somehow managed to find our beds. I think. No, no, I'm almost positive.
Lovely house with pretty tree. I was like a week too early for fall. But, look! That tree, it's kind of reddish-hued!
Sunday: Girls in the City day. (No Sex in the City. Day Four, plus mother of a new baby? Hello?) Erin and I headed into town on the train. I saw her lovely office, and we spied on an open-house tour of her old, single-girl apartment, which was entirely fabulous and way too cool for me.) We had the most incredible gelato ever - Olive Oil! Seriously! - and then a lovely dinner at a small Italian bistro.
Here's me at Independence Hall, thinking "Olive oil gelato?"
Saturday night, Erin provided me with perhaps the biggest indulgence of the trip...she bought tickets for, and hauled my ass to, the King Tut exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum. On the LAST DAY. Of an exhibition that has hosted ONE POINT THREE MILLION PEOPLE. AT 8:30 PM, which was the EARLIEST time we could GET IN.
Things did not look good for us when we got in. Within five minutes, two people had treated us crappily. It was crowded, and we were still feeling the margaritas and the late hour of the night before. (A quarter cup, for future reference, is MORE THAN one shot.) We got there early at my behest, and of course they wouldn't let us in before our scheduled cattle chute entrance time.
Sullen, heads throbbing, we looked vainly for something to do that wouldn't involve us getting into a fistfight. And...lo and behold, there arose a tented mecca, temporarily erected in the middle of the museum, for pissed-off tourists: Tut's Oasis, from whence you can purchase such delights as the "Tutini." Pictured below are the "Blue Nile" and the "Nefertini," respectively:
These lovely, overpriced confections with the absurd names, coupled with a smiling waiter who was only barely suppressing a laugh during our entire time there, saved the evening. We gamely shuttled through Tut - really, really fascinating and incredible, and of course horrifically crowded - and ran back for our train home.
Sunday: A leisurely walk, a lovely lunch, a stop by the awesome hoagie/cheese steak place for three more sandwiches and two slices of pizza for The Man, and then the flight home. I pass out during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I lose the pizza on the plane, and one of the sandwiches mysteriously doesn't make it home.
Today: Back at work. This greeted me as I picked it up from school:
Cute? Yes! Disgusting? Most certainly! (Do you like the filthy street urchin-slash-"princess" dichotomy?)
Leaving, coming home...it's all good.
Thanks for a great weekend, E, B, and Bean. Can't wait to reciprocate in Austin. (But, no promises on seventy degrees, unless you come in like February. Then, it could be ninety; could be twenty.)
Tuesday, October 02, 2007