When I went to Chicago last fall, I fell in love with it almost instantly. By the time the airport shuttle had driven me through its streets of towering skyscrapers and deposited me at my hotel overlooking the river, I was hooked. One of the first things I googled after getting settled in my 22nd-floor room with a view was "Chicago" and "hepatology", wondering if there was some way that I could spend some of my training years in the beautiful city.
Philadelphia, not so much.
It isn't really Philly's fault. My first impression of the city was its airport, which I arrived at two hours late after being delayed by a thunderstorm during my layover in the great city of Chicago. Normally I don't care about airports, but I hadn't thought to have supper or grab snack food while in Chicago, so I was ravenous. And very unimpressed by the fact that every single food establishment in the Philadelphia airport was closed. I felt somewhat better after devouring a package of sour cream and chive crackers from a vending machine, but then my mood soured again when I arrived at my hotel. Where I was looking for quiet and solitude, I was instead greeted by an Irish pub that was overflowing with drunken sports fans* who seemed to think that the only fitting way to mourn their team's loss was by emptying the place of beer. As my girlfriend** will tell you, I am a fan of neither sports nor drunk people.
Things didn't get much better this morning. Walking onto the street in front of my hotel, I was greeted by the byproduct of the previous night's debauchery - urine. It was a hot day, and as the sidewalks warmed up they vapourized the widely sprayed yellow liquid, creating a sensation of having stuck one's head in a urinal. By the time I reached the Reading Terminal Market***, I was wondering if I had been sorely mistaken in choosing Philadelphia as my holiday destination.
And then, I found a tasty diner in the market, where a local truck driver was so amazed to meet someone from Canada**** that he bought me breakfast. After which I did the cheesy tourist thing and rode a double-decker sightseeing bus around the city, visiting the beautiful old buildings and the galleries and the "Gayborhood", with its Pride-coloured street signs. And then I had dinner at an amazing Ramen noodle bar, followed by my first visit to the mythical world of Trader Joe's. By the time I found myself walking back to the hotel with a brown paper bag stuffed with Joe-Joe's and overpriced chia smoothies, Philadelphia had started to grow on me.
I think I'm going to like it here after all.
*One of whom passed out while riding the elevator with me. And then peed her pants.
**Wait....what? Girlfriend? Um...yes. I've been a neglectful blogger as of late. I'll get to it eventually. After I go see the giant colon tomorrow.
***Which I was quite distressed to discover is pronounced "Red-ing", not "Read-ing", as I had assumed for the past 36 years of Monopoly playing. I plan to forget this fact the moment I return home, as in my mind it has always been and will always be "Read-ing Railroad".
****After I explained to him that Canada was the country north of the US, not a city in Maine. What do you Americans teach in your schools?
It's Medical Mondays again! This post wasn't intentionally written for the event (I usually try to avoid mentioning urine multiple times in my Medical Mondays posts), but I'm on vacation, so it's all I've got right now. If you're visiting for the first time - welcome! If you've been here many times before - welcome too! Please come back in the next little while to read my exciting future posts talking about a giant colon, Philly's Natural History Museum, and my still very new relationship.