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Sunday, April 30, 2006

I was rilly in Philly

Sunday, April 16th. Easter. Had to fly to Philadelphia to speak at Drexel University the next day. Straight shot, non-stop flight to Philly. Took a cab to the Cornerstone Bed & Breakfast in West Philly. Very, very cute, and yes, it was on the corner.

Nadine, one of the owners, met me at the front door, gave me the combo to get back in (it's a weird sort of door lock with buttons to push in a certain sequence). She then took me up to the third floor to my "suite." It used to be the attic and the stairs from the 2nd to 3rd floor were very steep. I certainly won't be drinking any alcohol on this trip, LOL.

You can see what my suite looked like here. The living area was a small alcove with two armchairs, a good-sized color TV and small table. The bedroom I slept in is the one with the red comforter. Very comfy. I wish I'd taken a photo of the bathroom. The vanity area was HUGE with two sinks and plenty of counter space. Then the jacuzzi bathtub and shower stall and toilet were in a separate room. Yowza!

Since it was Easter, I had to find a restaurant where I could do takeout (I didn't feel like eating out and the jacuzzi tub was calling my name, ha ha). I found a middle eastern restaurant, walked there and ordered a lamb shiskebob pita sandwich and some stuffed grape leaves. Got some iced tea and orange juice at a 7-Eleven on the way back. Interesting walk. Most of the houses were frat houses and when I walked back to the B&B most had college students hanging out on porches and such.

One thing I learned, most of the houses in this area are two houses connected. This is because, back in Victorian times, it saved to have the houses connected for heating purposes. But it makes for weird neighbors when one will paint their half one color and yours is different. I couldn't live like that.

Got back to my suite, ate my dinner, ran a nice bubble bath, popped Moulin Rouge in my laptop and took a nice, long hot bath. Slept well.

Breakfast was oatmeal with fruit mixed in, delish and perfect for a chilly morning. Nadine was sweet and gave me a copy of a breakfast cookbook she sells (for free). We chatted, then I went back upstairs to get changed and ready for Ross Radish to pick me up (last name is just like the veggie).

He could be Clay Aiken's twin. LOL. Very nice guy, very prompt, took me to Drexel and to the room I'd be speaking in. I set my laptop up and chatted with people as they came in. I did a three-hour workshop with a break and sold all the books I brought with me, plus took some orders. I basically taught them how to handle campus-related online cases and Myspace and Facebook. Very interesting!

I had the afternoon free (hooray!) and went back to the B&B to change into jeans, top and sneakers. Took the metro to downtown Philly/Independence Hall. I'd never been there before, so I played tourist. What made it better was a walking tour I downloaded to my iPod for $9.95.

It started at the Liberty Bell, which I'd always wanted to see. Here are a couple of photos, one a close-up. Very cool.






Next was Independence Hall. The walking tour has you stop and listen to the history. It's a really well done program and I hope to do it in other cities I travel to. It's highly recommended. Here are some shots of Independence Hall. More text follows after these photos.










The only complaint about the walking tour is that I'd get to one place, stop, listen, look, then it would have me backtrack, then backtrack again. Aargh! (I did get my exercise though).

Go west, young man!
(Go ahead and tell me who you think this is - clue: This statue is behind Independence Hall)



Went to Washington Square Park where there is a beautiful memorial for the unknown soldier from the Revolutionary War, complete with an eternal flame:




Next was Society Hill, more parks and the Commodities Exchange, which was being renovated, but I loved this photo:



I also liked the facade of the First Bank:




After my exhausting walking tour, I called Doug Muth, one of my WHOA volunteers, who works in downtown Philly. He was almost ready to meet me, so I went to a souvenir store to buy some goodies, then hit an Italian gelato/cafe and had a latte with pistachio gelato mixed in with it. The tall dark Italian guy at the counter flirted with me (he was not handsome though. Hey, two out of three ain't bad, ha ha, and he made my day).

Met Doug outside his office building. He's taller than I thought and just as cute as the photos I've seen of him. We hit Starbucks, then got on the Metro to head back to the B&B. Doug's young, in his 20s, and he'd never been in a B&B before, so I took him in and up to my suite. He oohed and aahed. All I hoped was that Nadine and her husband weren't thinking I was entertaining young men.

Doug and I walked to a restaurant called Zocalo, which served what I call real Mexican food. Not Taco Bell or a chain, but the real deal. Doug twisted my arm and we had a Margarita, chatted and had a good time. The food was excellent. The waitress thought we were on a date. I about spit out my Margarita.

Doug and I hit the 7-Eleven to get dessert - some ice cream, then headed back to the B&B. He came back upstairs to watch Star Trek-The Next Generation and I called Chris. Chris was a bit miffed I had a man in my room, but honestly, Doug doesn't dig women. If you get my drift. So I knew it was fine. Besides, he's my "employee," so I wouldn't do anything anyway. And he's a baby, fer chrissake.

I kicked Doug out just before 9 pm and "24" - watched "24" and hit the sack.

Had a nice, leisurely breakfast the next day, sold Nadine two of my books and then headed to the airport. Uneventful trip home.

Now I've spent the week catching up. More to follow.

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