Note: This was originally one single post about the entire trip. I decided I should break it up so as not to bore people to death in one single hit. I figure it's much better to do that kind of thing over a number of days.
Note 2: This post has now been sitting in my drafts for way too long. Do people even remember me going to Philadelphia? It's been waiting for me to finish posts on days two and three so that I could publish them on successive days. Day two is still unfinished and day three is not even started. As a result I'm publishing day one and the others may or may not come later.
I left for Philadelphia at 11am on a Wednesday and arrived about 23 hours later around 8pm on the same Wednesday. On the way over I watched two an a half movies: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (highly recommended) and a fairly shabby adaptation of Nick Horby's book Fever Pitch for the American market (titled The Perfect Catch in Australia) and something so un-memorable I can't remember it. I didn't slept at all on the way over, but managed to rest my eyes for a couple of hours. I nearly missed my flight from Chicago to Philadelphia because the incoming flight was late, and as it turns out my bags did miss the flight.
After waiting for my bags for a couple of hours at Philadelphia airport (which didn't turn up anyway) I finally got to the hotel at 10:30pm where I rang Laura and when I couldn't get on to her rang Hannah and left a message and then ordered some room service for dinner. I finally got into bed at 11:30pm with the prospect of getting up at 6am and attending the first day of the course wearing my 24 hour old travelled in clothes - not a good way to make friends. As it turned out my clothes arrived from the airport during the night so I was actually able to make friends - which was nice.
I woke up and found out two things:
- Quoted prices in the US don't include taxes or tips.
- Phone calls from the hotel are exceptionally expensive (like $20 for a 20 second message to Hannah).
Due to the second point above I decided that since they new I was there and had arrived safely I would hold off calling again until I was leaving for home. That, apparently, wasn't a good idea.
I met one Australian on the first day who lives in Seattle. I had lunch with him, one of his colleagues and the people I was sitting next to in the course. At the reception in the afternoon I met Alice who, when I mentioned I wouldn't mind catching a game of American Football while I was there, said she was planning to watch a game that night and we should meet at the bar to watch the game. An invitation I accepted. The match was between the Patriots (Superbowl winners and the team I was told I should support) and some team I can nolonger remember.
After the reception I decided I would head out to find some food and have a stroll around the neighbourhood for an hour or so but as I was walking out the door someone from the large group of people in front of me (none of whom I had met) asked me if I was joining them for dinner - well how could I refuse. I enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant, the name of which I can't remember. It was a little bit rushed in the end as I had to get back to watch the football which started at 9pm
I finally made it back to the hotel bar where I was meeting Alice for the football at about 9.20pm. Little did I know that (a) the beers in the bar were $6 a pop, and (b) American football matches run for over three hours (of course only one third of that is play time). After one beer we decided we couldn't afford to stay there and went in search of a bar I noticed earlier in the evening advertising 25c beers. When we did find it we were (unfortunately) too late for the special price but a still reasonable $2.50 suited me ok.
When the game finally finished at about 12:15 we headed back to the hotel and prepared for the early rise to start day two.