Monday 22 October 2007

Goodbye, Philly...You've Been Good

Jen and I woke up ridiculously late today after last night's adventure. Oh, well!

We made it to the last leg of the conference in the Lowe's Hotel and then walked ourselves over for some lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. With a variety of choices, one can eat anything and everything from French crepes to Chinese chicken. Since it was actually late in the afternoon, we settled for the only type of food open, one that always seems to be the only one open : Chinese it is!

That night, the recruiting team of GM actually invited me out to dinner with them before they left (Sweet! I'll take that as a good sign). We went to Al Vez, a great Mexican restaurant on 13th Street. The layout was very casual sleek with the bar in the middle of the restaurant and booths all around. The meal was fantastic to say the least with chicken, enchiladas, and a handful of desserts!

Afterwards, Jen and I went to the PRSSA Dance Party held for all the conference attendees. Excitingly, Jenny Tamayo, another Contiki Marketing Intern who went to Europe with me, attended the conference as well! We finally met up and danced the night away!

ROOMIE! Jenny Tamayo and I travelled to Europe together this past summer.

We had a great time to say the least. Pretty impressive, Philadelphia. Thanks for the free trip, USC!

Sunday 21 October 2007

Day 2: Philly Cheesesteak Much?

With Jen now here, we set out on the biggest reason people come to Philadelphia: to eat the notorious Philly Cheesesteak! We walked down to the tourists' favorite stop (debatable) : Pat's. Pat's and Geno's are the two long-time rivals in South Philly (also Jim's is a favorite, but he's located on South Street, unlike the other two on Passyunk). Located across from each other, these two really compete it out to be the King of Steaks. Pat's is the original and Geno's tends to have more variety.
Enjoying our Philly cheesesteaks at Pat's!

Jen ordered while I saved us seats. Unfortunately, she didn't read the sign on how to order and didn't get the whiz! Hence, I definitely had to go back and order some whiz to a very peeved cashier. Oops!

Tip: Be prepared to order your cheesesteak the correct way! Otherwise, you will face some pretty angry locals.

The correct way to order a cheesesteak!

I must also say, these cheesesteaks are not for the weak at heart! If you hate grease, then beware! The cheese will just slip off, so watch your clothes and shoes (Jen definitely didn't).

At the conference, I had my interview with General Motors for a Financial Communications Internship for the summer. Crossing those fingers! No matter the outcome, I won't find out until December. Afterwards, I listened to a talk about globalization and diversity in the workplace, then off to explore the city!

We had dinner at a cute lil' Greek restaurant called South Street Souvlaki. Then we experienced some of South Philly's nightlife and barhopped down the rest of South Street to John's Sports Bar, an Irish Pub, and my favorite, The Miami Cafe! I think some of my favorite phone calls occur when people call to ask what I'm doing and I can say, "I'm having drinks in Philadelphia!" Haha. Nowadays, that's how alot of my phone calls go due to my addiction to travelling.

Best Pina Coladas in the country (in my humble opinion)

Adding to the collection on the "Gum Tree". You can see our new world travelling/homeless friend in the back.

Our adventures ended with meeting a wandering boy that left Florida to travel the world and taking home a new pumpkin (appropriately dubbed Pumpky). Good times, Philly!

Saturday 20 October 2007

Hello, Philadelphia!

The Public Relations Student Society of America holds a National Conference each year where schools across the nation send delegates to engage in the weekend's PR activities. Although I am currently a Finance major, not so long ago I was interested in public relations and marketing. Long story short, I attended the conference in Philly.

Philadelphia is perhaps the only city in the country where one can feel a sense of the nation's true history. One of the biggest reasons I enjoyed Europe was that there was so much culture, so much that made every location so important, so full of life. Flying to Philadelphia by myself really gave me an extra edge to enjoy the city's humbleness and history.

Philadelphia's Town Hall

The architecture is ridiculously classic. Even the hotels are uniquely beautiful! As there are over 2,500 murals in the city, one can always find art on the streets and on the sides of buildings.

Even the Ritz Carlton is beautiful in architecture!

One of over 2,500 murals in Philly

My first stop was of course, the most touristy, but most important part of Philadelphia: the Liberty Bell! The prominent symbol of freedom actually gained its "crack" or "gap" in an attempt to fix a smaller, thin crack. The bell's sound is silenced, but it's symbolism lives on forever.

The Liberty Bell!

The area where the Liberty Bell sits is called "The Historical District" as many historical icons, such as Independence Hall, First Bank of the U.S. and many others reside. I feel lucky to have seen one of the sights off my To-See List: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The flame lit on through the chilly winds and all I could do was sit and listen to the silence.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Square

Tip: Ride the Ducks!

One of the best things, and yes, touristy things to do is to Ride the Ducks! It consists of a half-car, half-boat that drives around the city and then hits the water for a cruise (it's my first day in Philly, cut me some slack!). Providing whistles that quack, ones blows quacks through the soundtrack and cheesy duck jokes. Haha. Good times!

Elfreth's Alley: The oldest street in Philadelphia

Afterwards, I met up with Miraya Jun and Blake Wu of U. Penn where they took me to a delicious Italian dinner. We then continued our eating fest (it's what we do best!) at Capogiro Gelato, where we sampled pretty much every flavor between the three of us! Then finally, we hit The Naked Chocolate and enjoyed the sweets.

Capogiro Gelato is the "it" place in Philly for gelato. Each spoon represents a sample of one flavor. Go us!

Jen Haughton from USC's PRSSA flew in later that night. Off to the conference tomorrow!