Tag Archives: Philly

Rainy Days and Subways Always Get Me Down

13 Oct

Yes yes, I know, this is heinously behind schedule. However, I thought it would be a good time to capitalize on a headline that partially applies to both my Philadelphia trip and the present day.

Let me pick up where I left off: Friday in Philly.

As my bleary eyes adjusted to the gray morning light, I tried to work out the kink in my neck (that would be my companion for the duration of the trip) and peeked out the Megabus window onto the drizzly streets of one of America’s most historical cities. After a few more minutes and a confusing pseudo-stop, at which some passengers got off when I don’t think they were supposed to (we almost did), we finally rounded the bend into the Philadelphia Amtrak station.

Since we didn’t actually have a plan (we were thinking we’d try our hand at couch surfing, remember?), this great marbly structure functioned as a cozy resting place and free wi-fi connection for the next couple of hours. What we really thought would be cool was if we could meet some other college kids attending POPPED!, become best friends with them, convince them to let us crash at their place, and go to a fun University of Pennsylvania college party with them. Therefore, the plan formed to make our way over to campus in search of our new Philly friends, and we Google mapped our route from the train station.

FACT: if you’re trying to make friends with strangers, it won’t happen. This stuff needs to be organic. I sort of wish we wouldn’t have been so deluded by sleep deprivation to not recognize this.
It also may have been more likely that we’d meet people had it not transitioned from sprinkling to pouring in the rain department not minutes before. None of us had actually wanted to consciously admit it might rain on our trip, so we had no coats or umbrellas to protect ourselves or our backpacks containing all our worldly possessions. Hence: the Turtlebacks.

Turtlebacks: the latest in backpack rain protection.

Yes, we walked around Philadelphia with garbage bags (not used, we got them fresh from the train station gift shop) on our backs. Is it any wonder we didn’t make new friends? I’d never felt more nomadic in my life than on this trip. Yet walk we did, all the way to the U Penn campus where, being completely soaked, we retreated to their book store still clinging to our last vestiges of hope. Let me note a couple of things:
1. The U Penn bookstore is like a classier version of Barnes & Noble. For goodness sake, they were selling wine glasses and whiskey tumblers with the U Penn logo on them. It made our bookstore look like a scary dungeon, though looking at it in general usually makes it look like a scary dungeon.
2. Shit gets real when you’re soaking wet, the threat of pneumonia is looming, and you’ve only gotten minimal amounts of sleep in uncomfortable positions over the last 12 or so hours, coupled with looking like a homeless crust punk in a building full of East Coast kids in their daily prep wear. A hot shower and a cozy bed started to sound like a godsend.

We totally caved on the couch surfing. Not that we didn’t look, but no one in Philadelphia was offering up a spot for four college kids. So we tapped into the U Penn bookstore Starbuck’s wi-fi and began our hotel search, but after a while the connection got super shoddy. I think it sensed we weren’t there to buy our Philosophy books. Thus began our campus coffee shop tour in search of enough Internet to get us on expedia.com and book a room. We wandered for a while, occasionally popping into area hotels to look for vacancies.
Now I know how Mary and Joseph felt, except no one was even offering us a barn. I think it had something to do with the garbage bag backs.

Finally, Dan found us an affordable place in Historical Downtown Philadelphia, and we quickly booked a room and Googled directions (Google Maps was by far the single most useful resource of our trip) to get us there as quickly as possible. Bedraggled and looking like we had just survived an attempted drowning, we shuffled in disheartened silence to the nearest subway that would take us to our dry destination.

Arriving at a hotel has never made me happier. The service was awesome and they had free candy in a bowl by the desk, which Hannah confiscated copious amounts of for later concert sustenance. At long last we were in our room and taking steaming showers and quite possibly the greatest nap of my life, preparing ourselves for the true purpose of this long journey: POPPED! Philadelphia.

Since this is running long (and my power lecture is almost over, forcing me to change locations #FirstWorldProblems) I will do my concert reviews in a post later tonight or tomorrow, but you will definitely want to hear about some of the amazing artists we had the privilege of hearing over the course of the rest of the weekend! Stay tuned.

peace, love and turtlebacks,
J

Advertisements