Back from Philly

March 5, 2007

Well, our weekend trip to Philadelphia was quite the adventure. We left Friday evening, much later than I had anticipated, which always gets my knickers in a knot. But the directions I’d printed out from Google were excellent, so we had no problem getting to the hotel.

We stayed at the Westin and it was fabulous! Four stars all the way, and the beds were just heavenly to sleep on. (Seriously. They even call it “the heavenly bed.”) I booked the rooms through Priceline for $120 which was about half price. Oh, it was so nice! And it connected to a mall! A mall with a Godiva chocolate store, I might add! Whoo hoo! Does it get any better than that? I think not, people!

Saturday morning, we ate breakfast and headed out to walk to Franklin Institute for the King Tut exhibit. I got about 1 block away from the hotel, taking a few photos along the way, and as I crossed an intersection, my left foot hit a sunken manhole cover. My ankle turned and I went sprawling down on my hands and knees. Unfortunately, my camera was still in my hand, and it hit the ground as hard as I did. I quickly discovered that I could no longer move the lens in or out. It was stuck.

I started to lose it at that point because other than my wedding ring, my camera is the most valuable possession I own… both materially and emotionally. I’ve had it less than a year and was just starting to get over the learning curve and learn how to really use it to take great pictures.

There I am boo-hooing and having a bit of a breakdown, when Sophia starts crying too. My dad and Dan, being Martians who feel an intense need to “fix” anything that ails the Venusians they love, marched me into the nearest drug store and asked to see their best digital camera. It was a Kodak, 5 megapixels. I sobbed that it was okay, but it wasn’t as good as my camera.

The clerk said, “Aw, she’s spoiled. I make that face too sometimes.” (My lip was seriously poking out. I’m sure it would have made a great blackmail picture if we’d had a working camera.) The clerk suggested we go to the camera store, about 4-6 blocks in the opposite direction.

We followed her directions and found a Ritz Camera. They had two 8 megapixel point-and-shoot cameras comparable to mine. The Canon required a 4 hour charging time for the battery and we didn’t have that much time (we were less than an hour away from our ticket’s admission time). So we got the Samsung, which runs on AA batteries. Bought the camera, bought extra batteries, and headed to the Franklin Institute. We waited in a long snaking line and when we finally got to the exhibit entrance, there was a sign that said, “NO PHOTOGRAPHY.”

No way! I asked the attendant, “That means no flash photography, right?”

“No, it means any photography.”


Anyway, the exhibit was nice… that time period really isn’t my thing but it’s the oddest sensation to see something 3000 years old or more. The craftsmanship on most of the items was unbelievably good. The final room of the exhibit held items that were found on Tut’s mummy, including a beautiful gold dagger.

I forgot to get postcards for a scrapbook layout, but I did manage to snap a few pictures in the gift shop. I figure that’s close enough.


Following that, we decided not to look through the rest of the Franklin Institute (we were just there in June), but headed over to the Academy of Natural Sciences instead. Sophia has been interested in dinosaur bones for a while, and she enjoyed looking at their exhibits and even playing paleontologist.


We had just headed into the Academy’s special exhibit, “The Scoop on Poop,” which Trevor was really enjoying, when an alarm sounded. “Whoop, whoop, whoop. There has been an emergency in the building. Please proceed to the nearest exit. Whoop, whoop, whoop.” So I grabbed my dad (who is so hard of hearing, he didn’t even know an alarm was going off!), as well as Dan and the kids, and followed everyone else out a side door, down a flight of stairs, and into a small parking lot. One that the president of the Academy uses. One that has a gate.

A locked gate. At this point, I’m starting to think maybe the whole King Tut curse thing could be real.

So there we are, trapped inside a small parking lot, unable to get back in the building and, ironically, also unable to leave. My dear son, who has a tendency to be both melodramatic and an atrocious exaggerator, kept looking up the street toward the building’s main entrance and saying, “I see smoke!” (It was steam coming up from one of the grates in the sidewalk.)

Eventually, some kind soul with a key to the parking lot let us out and we decided to leave rather than go back in the museum. We never did find out what the emergency was.

Back at the hotel, we rested and then started thinking about dinner. We decided to head to the mall’s food court and see what was available. Lots of great choices, but we quickly found out that most of the food vendors were packing up for the day. The mall closes at 7:00 pm, which I thought was a little early. A nice man at The Original Turkey offered us a sample of his turkey and it was delicious… plus he seemed to really want to make us happy… so we got dinner there. It was so yummy! If you’re ever in Philly, be sure to get some of that turkey. It’s the best!

After dinner we went back to the hotel and wow, did I sleep well that night! I think I was asleep by 9:30 and didn’t get up until Sophia woke me up this morning at 8 AM.

Today we toured the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has a “pay as you wish” admission every Sunday. You decide how much you should pay to get in. Cool, huh? Anyway, I got to see all of my favorites that I saw the last time I was there, plus some more great things, like this statue:


And this plate:


And then there were a few things I just didn’t understand. Like this “work of art.”


I mean, really! What the heck is that all about, anyway? I could take a 30 x 30 room, thumbtack stuff to the walls, and pile things about on the floor. In fact, I may have done just that many times in high school and college. But did I call it art? No, I did not. This room just did not hold any remote trace of a “deeper meaning” for me. In fact, as my dad said, “I’ve seen yard sales that look a lot like this.” I didn’t get it. I still don’t.

After thoroughly touring the museum, we headed on home, tired but happy. It was an action-packed weekend and goodness knows we will all be happy to sleep in our own beds this evening!


  1. Sounds like a great trip despite the mis-haps. Your photo with “about to be eaten prey” was neat too on the picture site.

  2. Action packed is right! I’m glad everyone had a good time though!

  3. WOW! Is all I can say. I know you were bumbed about the photography deal! I was bumbed just reading about it! Glad you got to see some things you enjoy seeing, though.

  4. okay I’m a scrapbooker.. my first thought was HOW IS THE CAMERA .. my second .. are you okay? I agree with the camera is my life thing. Totally sounds like a wonderful weekend, will make note of the hotel AND the vendor! WELCOME HOME!

  5. […] 2nd, 2007 · No Comments Since getting my new camera at the beginning of March, I have been playing around with it to try and get used to it. You know — checking out all […]

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