The City of Brotherly Love

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This is where the Declaration of Indepence was signed

Chilly Philly! Ever since I stepped out of my airbnb host’s little rowhouse, I’ve been freezing in this town. I was supposed to visit my host sister (from when I did exchange in high school a million years ago) but she got sick so that didn’t work out. Still, I wanted to see Philadelphia because people also go on about how great it is.

I have to admit I still can’t quite grasp what they’re so excited about. It might be that due to the weather my experience was hindered and also, my European taste does not work out well with the celebrated Philadelphia cheesesteak (I felt a little sick afterwards). Not even the Liberty Bell or the Indepence Hall could wow me. I will say though that their train station is rather grand! I arrived by train this morning – it was such a smooth journey. Emily’s friend had an upgrade he couldn’t use and gave to me which was so nice! I travelled in business class, got priority boarding and a seat that could have fitted two people at once, and when I got off with my giant suitcase, the train attendant carried it for me.

Other interesting things I noticed in The City of Brotherly Love (that’s what they call this place):

a) Laywers are trying hard to get clients. I saw three large advertisements for law firms, the best one being “Justin Bieber Law, no fee before I win you money”.

b) They have an interesting transportation system: when you buy a ticket on the bus, you actually don’t get a ticket. You put money into the machine and walk in. A ride costs 2.25 dollars and if you only have 3, like me, that’s your loss. You don’t get change.

c) There is a Mexican consulate located in a food court. I am not even kidding.

d) They have interesting shops: one was for dogs called “Doggie Style” and another one (not for dogs) offered “Chocolated Laxatives”. The best shop was the book shop I randomly stumbled into in an attempt to avoid death by hypothermia. It was a second hand store that had everything: Paris Hilton’s “Heiress Diary” in which you could fill in “When I work out I wear the following”, a book on dating asking, “Did you write in your holiday cards that you are open to meeting Mr Right?”, a compilation of messages from moms that advise things such as “Please clean up your Facebook. Sex, drugs, lesbian stuff, no religion. People look at that before they hire you. President Bush gets reports about that too. Have some good Christian values. Your mother”. My favorite book, however, was “The Good Citizen’s Handbook”. I never buy books, but this one was irrestistible. It took me a long time to figure out whether the content was for real or ironic. (Spoiler: it’s actually both.) It’s a great book that leads you in every aspect of life:  “Drink no tea or coffee”, “Keep good posture when sitting, standing or walking”, “Don’t peel the skin from the apple before you eat it”, “One of the most important rules on the family is for the time of all meals to be set”, “The happiest families are those that do things together. Try taking turns reading aloud a book, like Tom Sawyer”, “Be loyal to your school and learn its songs and cheers”, “Penmanship matters”, “It is not right to leave posion about for cats or dogs”, “The Constitution is your business”. I could go on endlessly quoting from this brilliant book and will start adhering to its rules from now on. (Except the part that women must stay home and attend to the plants.)

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William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, stepped ashore here at Penn’s Landing. But why the ugly tower?

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I went into the American Jewish museum because it was free and I am freezing. I enjoyed their IKEA armchair section with comic books.

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My host has an adorable cat

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Kitty is now my friend

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Famous Philly specialty, cheesesteak

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Elfreth Alley is widely known because it has buildings from the 18th century. First I was like, “So…?”, then I remembered how young this nation is

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