Philadelphia, Part OneI should have written this three months ago. Life and whatnot.
The airport is sparkling clean. Beautiful. And no one is here. Employees easily outnumber passengers, because I haven't seen more than half a dozen other passengers, and we're already at our gate.
"Oh! You scared me!" says a store clerk, as a security guard walks into her vision. He laughs.
"Man, I don't like this," Eli 15.2 says. "It's empty."
"Are you kidding me" I say. "This is the greatest airport I've ever been in. See this? It's my giddy face."
Eli and Gloria burst out laughing. It should be noted that my giddy face is exactly the same as my normal face.
We are the only ones waiting for our plane.
"Nice pants, man," I say. "Did you get the free wrinkle treatment?"
Eli looks down at his pants. "Very funny," he says.
Well, it kind of was funny, really.
The plane is so empty that we all have our own row. It's incredible. For the first time in my entire life I don't feel cramped on a plane.
"I feel more rested than when we left for the airport," I say, as we walk toward the luggage carousel in Philadelphia.
It's a good omen.
I didn't really know anything about Philadelphia, beyond the standard bare collection of facts (Liberty Bell, booing Santa, etc.).
The first thing I find out is that Philadelphia, and the surrounding suburbs, are huge. Mind-blowingly huge.
The second thing I find out is that nothing is in a straight line. We drive 45 minutes from the airport to a suburb, and everything is curve into curve into curve. Grid layout? Not here.
I have no idea how anyone could have navigated this area with a paper map.
Maybe they didn't. Maybe they Oregon Trailed the entire experience.
We do make it to our hotel, which--good omen #2--is just across the parking lot from a bowling alley.
"We need to go bowling, Eli says.
"I'm in," I say.