Wednesday, October 26
For the first time since I moved here, I returned to the heart of the city of brotherly love. We had a particular goal in mind, however, in taking this trip because there was a Nicholas Sparks book signing at the downtown Borders bookstore. Although I'm not the Sparks fan (and nor is Sara--we did this for our mothers), I have to say that it probably falls into my top ten outings since I arrived here in Philly. There's always something almost magical about cities at night, and it seems to take the city edge off for me.
After finding our way to the correct part of Broad Street (without a map, I have to add) and locating the Borders, we searched out some food. We walked Broad Street for what seemed an eternity before we stumbled upon Mama Angelina's Pizza, a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant on a side street...and a group of Tyco employees on a scavenger hunt, which was a little odd. Since there were no other tasty restaurants in site that would be quick, we settled for Mama Angelina's, where they had a combination of pizza and hoagies. Dinner ended up being a cheesesteak with onions...which was dripping in fat, but it hit the spot since I felt like I was going catatonic from hunger. About half way through dinner, Sara looked up and asked, "Is this a Christian Rock station on the radio?" And, indeed, it was...both of us agreed that there was nothing wrong with it, but it was just juxtaposed with this downtown, average joe restaurant environment, making it ironic.
So, following our cheesesteak dinner and chat, we wandered back up the street to the bookstore to complete our mission. We reminded me of one of the very quirky movie characters, like maybe Ace Ventura, as we took in the book signing and discussion because we were very proud to announce to at least a couple of different people that we were employees of Borders...and we said it so proudly. Anyhow, we kind of wanted to dodge the discussion part of the evening simply so that we could get to dinner part two, some Dunkin Donuts dessert. Unfortunately, Mr. Sparks just couldn't make it to us before the discussion...so, we took in the discussion, which wasn't bad--even interesting at a few points. They called numbers afterwards in order for him to finish signing, so we just checked out the music selection and listened to some tunes while waiting.
The next adventure came at the train station. I offered to operate the ticket machine for the train because I had done it the one other time I went downtown, but the machine only takes dollar bills or dollar tokens from the change machines there. As I was figuring out all of the buttons to push, two different homeless men approached Sara, begging for change. This added a little pressure to the ticket-buying process because I wanted us to be able to get the heck out of there and on the train, but it all was okay in the end...I think the lesson learned, though, would be to purchase tickets for return fare when we first arrive downtown, if it's nighttime.
This is the type of adventure that makes Philly life fun. And, better yet, the official Christmas shopping has begun...