Friday, April 24, 2009

Beauty Bash Trip, Part 1: Historic Philly & Amish Country

Dude, the whole post I had just written up got magically deleted somehow. Le sigh. I will do my best to re-create....

This post is long over due. As some of you may know, I went on a trip that was centered around going to the QVC Beauty Bash with my Mom. Mom & I are both beauty product whores, and we've learned about many of these beauty products through QVC. Since QVC is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, we decided to extend the trip so we could see all the historic sights and stalk some Amish people.

The first thing I learned about Philly is that the streets are scarily narrow. Like Europe narrow. I guess our forefathers didn't plan on Hummers and Escalades. Or places to park them. There is seriously zero parking anywhere. There aren't even paid parking lots. Valet service at our hotel was $30/day.

The second thing I learned about Philly is that everything closes between 4-5pm. Even during Spring Break, when Daylight Savings Time is in effect, and there are lots of tourists going to tourist sites. They all close by 5pm, several hours before dark. We literally had to run to make it to a couple of sites before closing time. The city basically shuts down at 5pm.

The third thing I learned about Philly is that there is no food. We could not find a single restaurant anywhere in the vicinity of our hotel. Not one. And I'm sure if we did, it would have closed by 5pm anyway. I was led to believe there would be a cheesesteak place on practically every corner. Not so. One day when it was raining, we decided to go to the King of Prussia mall (largest mall on the East Coast!), and we seriously spent the entire day there, just so we could find restaurants and have 3 meals that day. Cause once we got back in the car and headed into the historic district where our hotel was, we knew there wouldn't be any food for miles. And if there was, we wouldn't be able to park our car anyway.

Not to be all complainer-y though about a trip that really was great. Here were some of the highlights and sights.

Here we have the Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background. These sights are free to the public, but you have to get a timed ticket from the visitor's center. Our hotel was one block from here and all the historic stuff was within a couple blocks walking distance. It was great to be able to tour everything on foot.

This is the Christ Church Burial Ground. It seemed odd that the burial ground wasn't right next to the church. Not sure why that is. Ben Franklin & several other Declaration of Independence signers are buried here. Most of the tombstones no longer have wording and are extremely worn. I tried to get Mom to take a picture of me lying on the ground with my eyes closed and hands crossed over my chest, but she refused, stating it was "sick & morbid". Woulda made a funny picture though, wouldn't it?
Yo, Adrian! It took us forever to find a place to park to see Rocky. Then we had to find where Rocky was hidden, because he is now at street level and not up at the top of the museum steps. By then, I had to pee like crazy, so I really did run up all those steps, just like he did, but I was in search of a bathroom. I sang "Eye of the Tiger" while I ran and held my arms up just like this.

After a few days in the old city, we drove out to Amish country. There wasn't all that much to see besides rural country. But there were restaurants and parking! You should have seen how excited we were to eat at Cracker Barrel. Seriously. It was our first time, and we were so hungry that we gorged ourselves and even had dessert.
We found an Amish house to tour, but we weren't allowed to take pictures. We learned the basic differences between Amish & Mennonite sects: Mennonites wear lighter colors, Amish wear only dark colors. One of them doesn't believe in infant baptism, so they don't get baptized until they reach adulthood, but I can't remember which one it is. I bought a book about their culture and beliefs, so I'll have to read up. We also learned how to identify their homes, which have no power lines going into them, have dark green shades on the windows, and have no cars parked there. We were surprised to find many Amish homes scattered around the main roads. We had assumed they lived farther off the beaten paths, cloistered in close proximity to other Amish families. Maybe some do, but many don't.
We spotted numerous horse & buggies on the road, like this one, but we still got all excited each time we saw one. (my hand says hi.)