Joined October 2019 Message
  • Day3

    Harry Potter, Meet Ben Franklin

    March 16 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    Up early.
    Finished drying clothes from last night.
    Egg-O waffles, butter, and syrup for breakfast.

    Stripped the beds, tossed the towels into the shower, replaced the table cloth.
    Ubered from the Airbnb property to the Franklin Institute for our 11 AM tour time.
    The is gorgeous on the outside. Very romanesque. It reminds me of the Field Museum in Chicago.

    The inside is a disorganized and aged amalgamation of hallways, ramps, doors, and cubby holes.

    Some of the highlights of the exhibit were having our names projected onto the Marauders' Map, seeing the props and costumes, and the herbology classroom. Comparing the exhibit to the History of Magic exhibit in NYC a couple of years ago, the new show is fun but more of an opportunity to interact with replicas of scenery from the films. This seems to be a money grab for Warner Bros and company as there is very little authenticity about the exhibit other than the costumes, wands, a sorting hat, and the first American edition of the book. Fun for the general public or kids but not recommended for hardcore adult fans of the book or film series.

    Lunch at the Eatery in the museum: cheeseburger, fries, bottled diet coke, and a Snickers to top it off.

    We walked to the 30th Street train station to catch the train to NYC. The train left Philadelphia around 3:45 PM. The trip to NYC was pleasant enough. No issues for the ride north.

    Arrived at Moynihan around 4:45 PM. Walked to the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square South on 37th Street to check-in. The 8th-floor room was small but servicable. The view was of the employees of the garment/laundry service next door toiling away.

    Quickly dropped our luggage and changed clothes before trekking to the Lyric Theatre on 43rd Street for HP and the CC. Beautiful theatre inside and out. The usher told us the theatre has been retrofitted especially for the production.

    Seats: Orchestra Row J, Seats 21, 23, and 25
    Merch Purchased: Albus wand, lapel pin, sweatshirt and keychain for Liz, and a magnet for Dave.

    Searched for food after the show but most places closed at 11. Ended up at Dave and Buster's for nachos.

    Back to the room for sleep. Exhausted and excited to be in NYC again.
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  • Day2

    The First Flight

    March 15 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Day 2. We flew out of Charlotte Douglas around 7:40 AM. The kids first time flying and all the excitement and nervousness that goes with it. The flight took us from Charlotte to Atlanta. We changed plans in Atlanta and headed to Philadelphia. We landed in Philly around 12:13 PM. After waiting briefly at the baggage claim to grab our luggage (the overhead bins were full but no really - people complained about having to chance their carry-on bags), we headed to Zone 7 to meet our Uber driver. The SUV was only big enough for three people so Liz sat on not lap as we headed into the city.

    I must have a sign hanging around my neck that says in bold black letters: TREAT ME LIKE GARBAGE! While we were waiting on the Uber driver, some dick picked me out of the twenty or so people standing on the sidewalk to lay a hit and run comment on: Thanks for moving!. What the hell! Who does that? Is sidewalk rage a new thing?

    Anyway the Uber driver dropped us about a block from our AirBnB (516 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA). Our host, Robert (who i think is probably gay and a former hippie) met us at the car and escorted back to the property. He is a hospitable older fellow of 74. Robert showed us around the unit and recommended Gennaro’s Pizza for a quick bite to eat. A quick block or so walk from the unit, Gennaros is a run down hole in the wall that was probably popular in the early aughts. We ordered a large BBQ chicken pizza for me and the kids and a lamb gyro and fries for mom. Drinks were in bottles and consisted mostly of Pepsi products. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like Pepsi products. The pizza was delicious. The crust was among the best I have had.

    I ordered an Uber to drive us to Independence National Historic Park where we had a 4 PM tour of Independence Hall. A mask is required to ride with Uber. Mine and mom’s mask broke on the plane ride up, so we were left empty handed. I cancelled to two rides before asking a beautiful lady in hijab behind the glass barrier of gas station if she had any masks. She said no. There was a black man hanging around the station, who offered to give us some of his masks. He tore open a plastic bag he had and pulled out three masks. He also told us that we could visit the medical center across the street to get masks for free before offering to get them for us. He disappeared into. the building and came out a few minuted later with two boxes full of masks. He gave us one and kept the other.

    Our Jamaican Uber chauffeur dropped us outside the Visitor Center. Interestingly, one has to go through a security check point to enter the visitors center which from what i could see consisted of two lazy men behind an information deck and a gift shop. America has reached the point where we have to go through security to sit around, pee, or shop.

    The kids and I grabbed our NP passport stamps before crossing the street to visit that cracked up piece of iron we Americans call the Liberty Bell. The icon has its own little building with a window that looks out on Independence Hall (which happened to be our next stop). Our tour time was 4PM. We arrived a little early so the ranger allowed us to join an earlier tour (20 minutes or so).

    Grabbed some sweets from Scoop De Ville and walked back to the unit on 12th Street, A quick in and out of 7-Eleven to buy three Diet Cokes and a bottle of Fiji water. I met a lovely veteran on the walk back to the unit. He politely asked for “help”. After explaining that I had no cash, he decided to take advantage of that sign around my neck I mentioned earlier. If profanity were flowers, I would have been walking through a garden. Apparently, tourists have no cash because they are giving it to “the junkies”. Who knew?

    Liz got hungry so we order in Geno’s Steaks, one of the alleged originators of the Philly cheesesteak. Next time I am in Philly, I will order from Geno’s again. It was so much better than Pat’s (the other originator) that there truly is no comparison.

    Washed clothes and typed this up.
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  • Day1

    Another Broken Day

    March 14 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We left home and drove to Another Broken Egg Cafe at Biltmore Park near Asheville. I ordered the Bourbon Street Pancakes. The service was terrible. The food was cold. I received bacon instead of sausage. ABEC was a HUGE disappointment. It’s typically a great place to eat.

    Liz and I walked to the Barnes and Noble in the same shopping complex as ABEC. I purchased a paperback copy of Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett, two Harry Potter blind packs, and something for Liz. That I cannot recall at the moment.

    We were going to drive to B&N but the car wouldn’t start. This led to a great deal of phone calls to car rental places, auto repair shops, and Geico Insurance. Turns out, the rental reimbursement we have on our policy only covers new cars. 🤬

    We had the Jeep towed to Skyland Exxon. Liz and I stayed back at Biltmore Park in case we needed to Uber to the airport for a rental. We finally gave up waiting and walked to the nearby McDonalds for a drink. I had Diet Coke and a strawberry and crème pie. Liz has a Sprite.

    I’m not sure how long we waited before mom called to tell us the car was fixed and to send money. The repair was $107 and some change. The wire to the starter was too short and had broken off. Mom met Liz and I at the CVS across the street from the previously mentioned McDonalds. Liz bought a couple of planting kits (lavender and strawberries) and a die cast car for David.

    We left Asheville before anything else unfortunate could happen and headed to Charlotte. We made a quick stop at IKEA to pick up a Detolf cabinet for my Harry Potter stuff. After a quick stop at Chinese Palace for some General’s chicken, we finally ended out day at the Days Inn near the Charlotte airport. The hotel has seen better days but served its purpose.
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