Wednesday, September 8th - Day 67 - Chillaxin'

Philadelphia Travel Blog

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- Play this in the background, it will make sense later-<object width="362" height="291"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src=";hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="362" height="291"></embed></object>Harrisburg surprised the hell out of me... Or maybe it was just because it was Labor Day Weekend? I head downtown, freezing in the cool summer night air as I cross a bridge that earlier in the day gave me a beautiful vantage point of the sun setting in behind the columns of the other river crossings. No picture unfortunately, no where, no time, to stop for it.
I park my bike, across the street I hear hip hop, down the street I see a massive gaggle of people spilled out of a pub having pints while ACDC plays. Both seem interesting, but google on my phone says there's more nightclubs farther west, and I have the luxury of time to wander and see what looks most promising.
I pass two people, "Hey I'm from Canada, what's a good nightclub here?" That always works. "We're not from here either!" as they jump in a cab. Okay, maybe not 'always', lol
A block later, I ask a group of 3 what the best club is in Harrisburg "Come with us! We'll show you!!!" We exchange names and how-ya-do's and end up right back at the hip hop club at the start. "Do you like hip hop?" I think back to that club in Orlando "Sure, yeah I like it" lol....But hey, go with the flow, right? They're speaking uber ghetto-speak.. and they're all pretty white... Well, each to their own. 
We enter the venue, it's long relatively narrow, but the walls are padded with a pearl coloured cushioning, lights hang from everywhere, and the bar is well put together. Most importantly, the dj is skillfully blending hip hop and house music and people are starting to dance and this place has great atmosphere!
At some point, this girl comes up and asks for a picture with me. I see the group of dudes she's come from. 'Trust your gut'... "Why?" I ask. "Well, you look a lot like a friend of ours!" Sounds reasonable, but I might as well make her work for it. Especially if I'm on the other end of a joke. "You got a web friendly celphone? Pull up Facebook, and show me this dude, and then you get your picture" She pouts, I laugh. "Seriously, do you think I want to end up on Douchebag-dot-com?" She retreats to her friends. I go down chuckling and tell her a picture is permitted, as long as they take a second one with my camera. It's a deal.
I may still have been the butt of some joke, but I had the last laugh. I went out in the parking lot and poured a bag of sugar I carry around for just such occassions in the gas tank of their car. Actually I didn't know what car they were in so it may have been some random person's car. Actually I don't carry around a bag of sugar for just such occassions, that was all just a witty and humorous scenerio to paint me as the victor, but I probably still came out the loser, but it takes a strong person to laugh at one's self and I do it often!
Meandered around the place to find a 'restroom' and heard some sweet-ass house music coming from a basement room. Not too many people were in it but it was still fun getting down to better tunes. God I wish I had shazaam on my phone. I may have to buy the new iPhone when I get home. Not sad about that, but sad about the money I'll have to part with. Especially because Rogers sent me August's bill. I used that phone for 9 days til it died... $400 roaming bill. Kick me in the nuts.
The night ended, I grabbed some street sausage (lol... oh man, that sounds wrong), and made my way back to the illustrious Motel 6, but had a restless sleep and woke up super early. Maybe I'm too empathetic... Nah, being compassionate is a good thing.
Being up early gave me an awesome opportunity to go for a run and do some circuit training. Ran down a windy road (careful of traffic), lined with lush forestry, and the occassional colonial house. Very nice area, great run.
Made my way to Philadelphia. The country side again looks so lovely. Seeing less and less of the billboards telling me I'm going to hell. I guess my soul is in the right place now? hahah!
Coming into the city to meet up with my coffee host for a tour of downtown, I was blown away by the sky line. Magnificent buildings and testaments in both old and new architecture stood before me and loomed above me as I entered downtown. I don't even know what all the historical stuff was, just that it was in that awful Nicholas Cage movie, "National Treasure"... but I took as many pics as I could.
Met up with my host and was shown around Old City, a nice, trendy spot to be around, and ended up at Sonny's CheeseSteaks, a place a guy named Rob at Music City Hostel, Nashville, told me about. I got it just like he said, with cheeseWhiz. No really, it was good. Unfortunately, we opted to also get fries and onion rings. These were not 'shoestring' fries as the menu had stated, and we were both regretting getting them. After that it was off to one of the large downtown parks to relax, joke, and people watch.
My host was extremely well-versed on the history of philly being a resident for many many years, knowing things like the existance of a 'gentleman's agreement' which kept the city from building skyscrapers for a great many years hindering it's expansion and competetiveness with other major cities. Whoopsies!
My host and I parted ways as they had to go tutor and we discussed maybe getting together for pints later with a group of their friends. Truthfully, I felt so bogged down from the onion rings, fries, and cheese steak sandwich, that I decided to catch up on my blogging and couchsurf requests and stayed in the hostel that night.
Oh right, the hostel. We'd walked into a place called Apple Hostel. HOLY SHIT, what a hostel!! The common room was so awesome, everything was so chic and cool! Not your average hostel! I don't know what it was though but the dick working the front desk was really unpleasant and made every excuse as to why I couldn't stay there, saying things like "We're full"... poppy cock! Well, okay probably true. But he sure didn't appreciate me saying "Well, I don't want to be in the men's dorm, I want to be in the coed dorm because in my experience, because girls are way less likely to get overly intoxicated and piss the bed, as well as make noise and be biligerant while obnoxiously drunk, so do you have any of those available?" A long pause.. "Yeeeaaahhh.. we don't haave urine problems here" "Really? How do you control that?" "... and we also only let couples stay in coed rooms... Is she with you?" pointing to my host. Stupid me, I say "No, she's showing me around".. DAMN! I would have GLADLY paid double to stay in that awesome hostel right down in Old City! Too late, I was made.
So I left and stayed at some awful hostel way out in the boonies but in a lucious park. Watched a little bit of Rocky with some Kiwi's as I finished CS requests. I must say, I'm really impressed with Sylvester Stallone's acting. He was an incredibly convincing, italian, meat head, boxer, with poor socially developed skills. That's what he was going for when he wrote it, I'm not tryin to be rude or funny even though it might come off that way.. But really, a fine job!
I also must say coming to a city and experiencing it by watching a movie that takes place IN it isn't that cool. 
Of course seeing a movie called The American even though you've met a million of them while touring the country also isn't that cool. But it's what I did the next day! lol
I was ousted from the hostel even though I'd decided to sleep in and stay another day. But they had two busloads of kids show up and needed rooms. I didn't even get to shower! So I didn't pay them for the towel I'd borrowed. 
Got a room at a nearby Motel 6. Nearby is used loosely. I was in King Of Prussia, a distant suburb 30 kilometers from downtown Philli. Such a shame! Despite this, I made my way out, first to the Apple store to get my SIM card out of my iPhone to put in my new replacement phone from Rogers that I'd picked up in Vancouver. I checked it for messages and received a lovely one from my boss. Turns out there is some conufsion with my vacation time and how I have 3 months. Well it should make perfect sense, he's the guy that sorted it all out. I stood right behind him while he did all the calculations for the schedule, then informed me of what I had to do to get the additional time off. So I got the people to work for me, switched vacation time around, and it was all sorted. It's sitting written out on my kitchen counter. I guess they neglected to properly change vacation requested time off with the times people were coming in to work for me, so now it LOOKS like there's days no one is coming in and I have no vacation that time. Easy fix I'm sure. I'll call him when I get back to Canada in a couple of days. Still not something I wanted to worry about. So I won't. Worst case scenerio, dock me a couple days of pay, whoop whoop!
So at this point I have a dead iPhone, a Canadian phone, and my US phone in one pocket. It looked like I was walking around with a brick in my pocket lol, and my motel was too far to go home and drop them off. Maybe it would make for an interesting conversation topic later that night in Old City?
The American wasn't starting for an hour so I went to the nearby BenniHanna for a drink and an appy. It was Happy Hour so I had a California Wrap and a Shrimp Tampura Wrap.. Domo!!
On the way out I noticed a mercedes parked with a Rockstar in the can holder.. Who needs a rockstar to get primed for BenniHanna? I had to take a picture lol
The American was slow moving, but very artfully done. I don't think the script is longer than 27 pages because there is so little dialogue, but still an intersting movie, and a good killer of time. I'm still looking forward to Ben Affleck's THE TOWN, and although I HATE watching movies on vacation, I'll probably see it.
After that I headed the remaining 20 km's into Philly. Now it was dark, the sky line mentioned before was lit by bright and beautiful lights against the dark sky. I wanted to take pictures... not safe to do so when going 70 mph in dress slacks, a light cotton shirt, and without a helmet. That's okay, I'll see it again one day. 
It felt humid in the air... If it began to rain I would probably be stranded downtown, a pocketful of electronics, a camera on a lanyard, and a fear of high velocity raindrops feeling like bullets in my eyes on the way home would keep me there.
I rounded Old City twice and scouted where to go and what the scene was. It was evident everyone's wallets were tapped out after the long weekend. Oh well, I would as I always do, make the best of it. I ended up at a relaxed Irish Pub, a nice one called, Plough in the Sky... I think.. and enjoyed a drink and some water. Eventually a table cleared up outside and I relished in the warm night air. It wasn't long before I met 3 fellow travellers and we conversed on many topics including Hang Drums (which are apparently very expensive and rare... You've all probably seen the two young guys playing a duet on youtube, asian influenced, simply beautiful and soul soothing stuff...). One of the travellers, a Belgian, was an instructor on these. Our conversations also dabbled in fate, positive thinking, as well as karma as so often is the case with the open minded and the free thinking. 
They also told me about, a bed and breakfast website, a couchsurfing you pay for which entitles you to more freedom, and sometimes more luxury. Sounds promising! Maybe I should use that instead of motels? Man if it's cheaper, shit yeah!
During the convo I enjoyed a really well-prepared burger from the pub. The paddy was so perfect, as was the choice of greens and condiments that went on it. Delish!
Now I'm in Albany, bike's being serviced. That'll cost me. Oh well, this trip has been more than worth the dollar value (which surprisingly hasn't been all that high considering how long I've been gone). Not sure what to do tonight... No hosts to show me around. I'll probably go out. But realistically, I wouldn't care if I were locked in a sweat shack while red ants attacked every square inch of me... because tomorrow, I'm in Montreal. One of the greatest towns on earth. Can't wait!
Take care, Ride safe.

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photo by: Ann_Hells