"Philadelphia is a dump!"

That became the phrase of the trip after I exclaimed it on the streets our first day there. We were all excited to visit Chinatown after our awesome experience last year in San Francisco:


Ted contemplates growing his locks.

Ted dons the cultural head gear and quickly checks his wallet for enough Yen to purchase it.

We were instead greeted with wafts of indescribable stank and a few shoe-box size stores with cheap crap piled high in every nook and cranny available. In one store they even hung mobiles for sale from the ceiling in the middle of the aisle so you couldn't even walk by to the next section of the store. The dead ducks in the window were cobwebbed and crusty. The restaurants projected an eerie feeling that their food was not well cooked and possibly included "cat." We did not like it in this Chinatown. Not one bit. We beat feet out of there and vowed never to return, even to the outskirts, the rest of the vacation.

Seriously. This is a still from some video we took in Chinatown. You don't get the full experience with this picture, but trust me: A DUMP.

We spent a lot of time checking out Ted's 'ol stompin' grounds our first day there, which was probably the highlight of my trip. Ted's family lived in Philly for a summer while they searched for a house in the suburbs. He's talked about it quite a bit since I've known him and when I told him my conference was in Philly this year he was all about a trip down memory lane. Watching Ted reminisce and tell stories about getting baseball cards from a store with his brother or visiting "The Fruit Lady" down the street was neat. We found Front Street right away and then Ted got on the horn with his father to get the correct address. We happened to be only a block away and Ted says it looks just like he remembers it, minus the iron gate on the front stoop.

402 Front Street

The lot where Newmarket Center used to stand. Teddy recalls walking through the courtyard with his father and getting a firetruck for his birthday that he had been eyeing in a store window. Apparently Will Smith bought this lot with plans for a hotel, but never did anything with it because it couldn't house a hotel with the ginormous suites he wanted to make in it. Poor baby.

A view of the townhouse from across the street...pretty mod!

A cute one of Ted checking out the view.

We spent quite a bit of time staring at the old townhouse and checking out the adorable neighborhood it is in.

Then we played some darts.

I won!

The obligatory self portraits by the dartboard that you can't see because of our giant melons.

We also spent a lot of time during the trip learning about that crazy cat Ben Franklin and admiring the neat old buildings in the city, while also lamenting about how they are getting all run down and are in smelly neighborhoods.

Ted enjoys a root beer by the site of an old post office founded by your friend and mine, Mr. Ben Franklin.

Chillin' like a villian by Betsy Ross's digs

We also spent a lot of time trying on hats and getting all "Colonial." Or something.

This one is so classic that it deserves a re-post.

Despite the wretched Chinatown and the frequent funky smells, there were some pretty things in Philly:

And believe it or not, we actually got dolled up once or twice for dinner.

Overall, we had a riot and a half on our trip. It was nice to get away for a little adventure and vacation, but we were also glad to get back home to our little house and crazy cats.

Oh, and when we got home we found that the siding company had fixed the broken siding and our Frigidaire check had come in the mail! Yay! Happy days are here again!

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