Sunday, February 1, 2009

Brotherly Love for Obama

We began our day in Philadelphia at an authentic diner; it was probably the best food I've eaten near an airport. Unfortunately it was breakfast time so we couldn't order Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, but the food was still tasty. The diner was filled with Philly memorabilia: shots of the skyline, the Liberty Bell, and the stadium where the Phillies play - next year, they won't be so lucky.

We drove into town and parked in a giant-ass vertical parking lot. Conveniently enough, we were right next to the famous "Love" statue. We decided to ride the SEPTA subway east to Independence Hall. The city is littered with references to historical figures: Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross.

Independence hall is situated next to a large grassy field. Inside were numerous convention halls and a gift shop, whose employees were just beginning to remove all the Obama merchandise, which was fine by me; I'd rather see their shelves devoted to cheesy Franklin stove replicas and copies of the Constitution.

I had a quick chat with one of the store clerks, who began by complaining about the excess of people traveling through who had seen the inauguration - the DC-Boston corridor was certainly the most heavily traveled by inaugural attendees. He also was quick to brag about all the appearances Obama made in Philadelphia during his campaign. Obama appeared numerous times at Independence hall, at one point giving a speech in the room directly above this very gift shop. He said that Obama's train trip was apparently a really big deal in town, with people waiting for hours outside the station. He was quick to put in a good word for his fellow Philadelphians as well, they were all good Obama supporters. Fortunately, in this election cycle the Philadelphia side of Pennsylvania seems to have won out over the redneck side, the side that the people we stayed with have to put up with and that James Carville described as "Alabama".

We left and walked up Market street back toward the Love sign. On the way, we stopped at City Hall, which was closed due to a film shoot. Eventually, we made it back to the car without accumulating too big a parking fee. We would have liked to stay longer in Philadelphia, but we needed to leave since we had to be in New England that evening.

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