Exploring Philadelphia


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Published: March 18th 2005
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Today was our first real day in Philadelphia and unforunately the
first day of the conference. Thankfully, Terry wasn't feeling up to
attending the conference, which was great, because I was in way too
much of a lethargic mood for doing so. Now before you start thinking
'tsk tsk tsk ... they should do work stuff on a work holiday', you
should know that there wasn't anything relevant to our work at the
conference that day, so bludging wasn't really such a naughty thing to
do.

Anyway, I digress. We headed off to the historical part of Phili
which pretty much encompasses the entirity of Phili's tourist circuit.
Philadelphia is actually a fairly signifcant city in the US, because
this is where the constitution was formulated by Thomas Jefferson and
his friends and was also where the Declaration of Independence was
written.

First stop was the information centre to discover exactly what was
worth seeing. After being cut-off by three separate times by rude
americans who didn't understand the rules of queuing, I finally
managed to get served my a very friendly old information desk man. He
was actually very frank and told me that the majority of the
historical sights would basically be quite boring to an Australian,
since they all dealt with events in American history which I'd
probably find rather drole. His attititude was rather unexpected
since typically I think of Americans as thinking that the whole world
revolves around them and that everybody should know everything about
them. Nevertheless, we decided that seeing we'd broaden our limited
Australian minds and go see stuff anyway, so he recommended seeing
Liberty Bell - the most treasured American icon according to him.

Liberty Bell was basically - a bell. A small bell in fact. With a
big crack down the side. This was the great icon? Apparently this
was the bell that had apparently sounded to summon greats such as Ben
Franklin to meetings, that had been carried around the US as a sign of
peace after times of war, and had grown to represent that basic
American ideal of liberty. Nevertheless, it was just a big dirty
bell. Perhaps the info desk guy had been right - this stuff really
doesn't mean much to a non-American. Thank goodness the entry price
was free.

Next stop was a walk down to Reading Market which was a recommended
place to grab lunch. This was actually quite interesting - a pseudo
Asian-like market with shops selling all kinds of delights such as
eclairs, pastries, tacos and animals on steroids. Yes steroids -
there were crabs with claws longer than my arms and prawns larger than
my hand!! Best of all, there were people selling one of the foods
Phili is known for - the delectable cheese steak - shredded steak
pieces apparently smothered in some Italian cheese (pavorolan or
something like that) smushed between a toasted roll. Unfortunately
all the vendors appeared to be completely out of them (at 3pm in the
afternoon??) so we had to be satisfied with a meal of Jambalaya (some
West Indian dish - looked like left overs with rice).

Final stop for the day was a tour of Independence hall which was
excellent. It was here that the American Constitution was apparently
drafted, as well as the Declaration of Independence. It was
fascinating to hear all the stories related to this, about all those
names you know but don't really know, such as Jefferson, Franklin and
Hancock.

After our sad missed opportunity of Cheese Steak, we decided to head
down to Jim's Steak - a place that had been highly recommended to us by
some aussie guy on the plane and that also had been rated highly by
some food critic in a magazine. Apparently this place served the best
Phili cheese steak, as demonstrated by the numerous thank yous on the
wall from people like Billy Joel.

Our impressions. Pathethic. Take dry shredded steak (steak of what -
goat perhaps??), add kraft sliced chedder cheese (but call it some
exotic Italian, cheese), and then serve on a dry roll. Overall, we
really couldn't see the big deal.


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29th March 2011

Hints from a Philadelphian
I am a Philadelphian and just read your blog and I am sorry you didn't enjoy my city. Your comments give me a clue as to why. As for the liberty bell it is small but it represents the who;e of our forefathers establishing what was never done before; a government for and by the people. It is not the bell that we cherish it is the ideal it represents. If I were to advise you on where to go I certainly would not send you to Jim's steaks. I live around the corner and I don't go there. Also the Jambalaya is a creole dish from Louisiana with African and french influences. If I were advising you I would have recommended our museums, and a tour of our architecture which has a strong European influence. I also think you would have enjoyed a tour of our gardens and parks; we have the largest urban park in the U.S So I am sorry that you did not see the better side the City of Brotherly Love. If you want to know more about it feel free to contact me. Sincerely, Armond Scavo philadelphiaonlinegiftshop.com earthlightimages.com
29th March 2011

Hints from a Philadelphian
I am a Philadelphian and just read your blog and I am sorry you didn't enjoy my city. Your comments give me a clue as to why. As for the liberty bell it is small but it represents the who;e of our forefathers establishing what was never done before; a government for and by the people. It is not the bell that we cherish it is the ideal it represents. If I were to advise you on where to go I certainly would not send you to Jim's steaks. I live around the corner and I don't go there. Also the Jambalaya is a creole dish from Louisiana with African and french influences. If I were advising you I would have recommended our museums, and a tour of our architecture which has a strong European influence. I also think you would have enjoyed a tour of our gardens and parks; we have the largest urban park in the U.S So I am sorry that you did not see the better side the City of Brotherly Love. If you want to know more about it feel free to contact me. Sincerely, Armond Scavo philadelphiaonlinegiftshop.com earthlightimages.com

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