Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday mornings of yore brought me to Philadelphia

Oh yes, first trip outside of Dallas/Fortworth in the US of A and the first place I wanted to go was the Sesame Place in Philadelphia. The Sesame Street characters reminded me of wonderful Sunday mornings with the family tucking into homemade pancakes (my papa made them) with honey and blueberry peanut butter/jello but I never really was too crazy about them (nopes, no Sesame St shrine at home). But the ivory key strains of Rainbow Connection, Elmo's song and that inane 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 song with the pinballs never got out of my head after all these years.

The sweet memories of those days got me wanting to share this fabulous tv programme with my lil one. One of the first songs she can sing along to is Elmo's song. So we've got 3 days in Philadelphia with a day just for Sesame Place and then we trudge on to New York (any city girl's mecca in the face of  mass media consumerism and popular culture)  after watching reruns of Devil Wears Prada, Sex and the City, Friends (even though it was never filmed on location) and oh yeah, Gossip Girls. Woohoo!

In any case, here are some pics of our first journey together as a little family unit - believe it or not - as the hubs' working hours never bode well for long family holidays with the kiddo.

Here are the pics of our first day of travel. Daddy's first holiday with K and it was nothing like the last time with me 6 mths back where she screamed and kicked for 10 mins before takeoff. This time, it was all toothy grins and goofy faces. The man got it easy I say, too easy.
'We’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship
Zooming through the sky, Little Einsteins
Climb aboard, get ready to explore
There’s so much to find, Little Einsteins
We’re going on a mission, start the countdown
5, 4, 321
Everyone to rocket, rev it up now
 Wrong airport - hahah - thanks to mummy moi. And off we got on a train to Philadelphia! Small booboo - more sightseeing opportunities!

 K was great - colouring away with her Crayola mess-free ColorWonder crayons. This was a godsend for us as it was pretty much her favourite in-stroller activity plus it makes her sleepy. ;)
While the kiddos slept, I met a kindly, old lady of African-American descent, dressed in her Sunday best, who just attended the graduation of her grandson in New York. She said she is 75 years old and has been living in Philadelphia all her life. She started naming her grandchildren's names and where they live in the USA and around the globe. That conversation lasted for nearly an hour.
 Finally we reached Philadelphia's iconic 34th street Station. It was huge and cavenous but it was a welcoming sight after having to circumvent a new route here with a delay of almost 3 hours!
 The skyline. I see alot of new buildings - nothing of the old historic ones in sight from here.
We got a hotel just besides the Reading Terminal Market (RTM)- best location really because it is central and walking distance to almost everywhere and of course, child-friendly and near the convenience store for milk top-ups, fresh fruits, snacks. Being Singapore-trained foodies, we simultaneously agreed to grab some notable grub from the market. High on our list of famous Philly eats was Dinic's. But, we were too late as at 4pm, they were sold out on roast beef. All they had left was some pulled pork - which we had. Not too bad but it was nothing like we expected.
 Passed by a random guy playing some boogie woogie.jazz riffs and breaking into a song. Nice.
 Just to get a feel of what I heard ... except this boy is kinda exceptional.

And we moved to a quiet nook of the RTM where we found a really really old rare book store. We found books on black magic, alegbra and plays. I discovered an early 1900s edition of the 1894 play 'Salome' by Oscar Wilde, with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. Amazing. There was even a few cubbyholes for children.
With a couple hours of sunlight left, we took a stroll down the historial area of Philadelphia, starting with the Independence Hall. Oh man, birth place of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution from the 1800s.
In real life. Not that much different to my untrained eye. Ok the 1800s visual is covered by trees but at least the clock tower looks similar.

We walked through the historic district and managed to visit the Liberty Bell just before closing. A not-so-heavily guarded cracked bell and a few murals on the side. I would recommend giving this a miss. We were in and out in 3 mins. It was easy to take in the sights of the historic district as the area wasn't as big as we had expected it to. With still more sunlight, a light breeze and a map ripped out from our hotel's magazine, we made our way to Penn's Landing where it is supposedly where one of the first settlers, William Penn, made his name in Philly. Of course, history states that it was a busy port for a century in the 1700s and by the 1900s, it looked gross and they decided to revitalize it to make it somewhat more presentable and of course marketable.. Kinda same story as our Boat Quay and more recently Vivocity. So big scale events are to be the focus and unfortunately, none were what we saw. There was a fair of sorts but it was so out of sorts that we were again, in and out in 5mins. We knew that there was a navy museum nearby but we weren't so keen on that kind of history and decided to roam around a little more.

Dinner plans were to be this well-reviewed establishment which serves the best philly cheesesteak and with my helpful iphone, we located it just 10mins' walk from Penn's. It was packed indeed.

What best way to match the favours of the cheesesteak but with beer.
Even K thinks so.. while she don't enjoy the drink like we do - she cools down too by touching the cold cold bottle.

It was also yummz.
Some random moments of mummy & daughter.

 With more than 6 hours in transit and 4 hours of sightseeing, we decided to call it a day and end the day with a nice hot bath and trips to the convenience store to stock up on water, juices and snacks and get enough sleep to ready ourselves for Sesame Place the following day.

Oh yes, at bedtime, the ever-zealous mummy moi took out a can of milk powder (fortified with loads of Omega-3 DHA, iron and etc etc.) and upon opening it, found out it was brown in color. No it has not gone bad but that I had bought chocolate milk powder. Not sure how I managed this feat - from buying it from a store, packing the can into the luggage and all the while, not realising it was chocolate. The tyrant resisted it even though Paul and I valiantly took a few swigs of it and declared it drinkable!

So yet another trip to the convenience store to buy a bottle of milk. Very eventful first day.

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