Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Does acetone thaw ice?

This weekend I braved the unspringlike elements to make a perilous visit to one of my favorite cities in the whole world: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Philadelphia is home to numerous good things, not the least of which is my favorite food blogger, Syllabub, who, sadly, has been blogging even less than I have lately. (I'm sure she has her reasons, of course...not the least of which is that she has been occupied by recruiting for the Cult of Mother, a sourdough cult that is currently fermenting in my own refrigerator.)

After a horrific five-hour journey down the ice-encrusted New Jersey Turnpike, I emerged in a glistening city semi-paralyzed by the inclement weather. Undaunted, I dragged my bag through the slippery byways just in time to arrive at the friggin' ballet (!), where I sat in the nosebleed section and tried to concentrate on the performance, rather than my own Chinatown-bus induced odor, which I fear may have driven fellow ballet patrons out of their seats.

All was apparently ignored, however, and afterwards explorations of Philadelphia proper ensued. We were intrepid in seeking out post-ballet foodstuffs; however, since the streets looked like this:

and most places had shut down early, we had very little choice but to take refuge in an empty Chinese restaurant in which an older gentleman graciously fed us gingered green beans and lomein while Chinese pop stars danced feverishly on the big-screen TVs overhead.

The next day (and following a breakfast of sourdough/apple pancakes) things looked very different:

But walking was still treacherous; so much so that lots of people decided to sit inside and eat ice cream instead:

The Irish--or the Irish for the day--were not so timid. Apparently these fellows--who were literally traveling the streets in screaming packs--had not read Cokane's warning to the Irish, semi-Irish and fake Irish:

If they had, perhaps I wouldn't have seen one such fellow fall smack on his wee arse after trying to punch a flying pigeon.

I'm sure these hijinks were no reflection on the intelligence or fortitude of Philadelphia's population, which seems above average in general. Rather than reflecting on these dudes, I should probably instead tell you about the South Carolina native-turned-Philly-resident who emerged from a local dining establishment to offer us a ride home, the security guard who heatedly debated me on whether huffing acetone can make you high*, and the kindly egg-and-cheese vendor who silently placed his hand over his tip jar to insist that I not give him any extra for the super sustenance he had provided me.

How can anyone not love the City of Brotherly Love, I ask you?

*I so clearly win this debate. Urban Dictionary (and not, ahem, personal experience) says so!

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