Well I am finally getting my lazy ass around to posting a recap of my vacation to Philadelphia to see Daryn.
I took the red-eye flight out, got stuck in New York Saturday morning due to fog. They wanted to re-book me on a flight that left 10 hours later in the day. I said no thanks, and called Daryn to come pick me up at JFK airport. After chillin at the airport for 3 or 4 hours Daryn showed up and the ride back to his place began. Of course at this point I'm still not feeling great health-wise, plus I'm jetlagged, and tired as all get out from not being able to sleep on the plane. This all culminated into me passing out for the 4 hour drive home. Then sleeping for 14 more hours after arriving at his place.
Sunday on the other hand was an absolute blast!! We went to the Jersey Shore for the whole day. Other than having to pay to get on the beach ($5!!!!) it was all good. We played in the surf, layed on the beach, ate frozen custard, pizza, fries, and even played at an arcade on the boardwalk. Daryn and I even got ambitious and tried to body-surf. Needless to say it is an art that takes practice, and mostly I just got tossed around by the waves, but there were one or two that i caught.... lots of fun! After the sun went down we got a burger and shrimp on the boardwalk (which was nothing to write home about) and packed up to head home, with more sand in my crevices than i care to think about.
Monday took the train into Philly and met up with Daryn's friend Nick, who runs the Prescott House. After a quick bite to eat at the train station (at some fast-food joint that thought it was hoity-toity) we got stuck in a parking lot with a non-functioning ticket booth for 30 minutes. Afterwards we had Nick drive us to the 'Jeweler's Row' in downtown so I could pickup something shiny for the other half. After going through about 12 shops which 'knew they had something that she would love' but all had minimal inventory and were overly pushy, we finally went to Steven Singer Jewelers, where not only was I offered a cold beer while I browsed, but for the first time all day, I was asked what my budget was. As soon as I told them I expected to start seeing jewelry at least $100 above what i told them, but to my surprise they started bringing out pieces that met all my requirements and were well within my budget. So i picked one out, payed, and received my gift-wrapped goody, 2 shirts, some cleaner, and about 10 pens. Then it was off to Reading Terminal Market for some shopping.
Now it should be mentioned that my original intention was to cook dinner for my hosts. But once we got to Reading Terminal I was just in a mood to browse, so we opted to get dinner out. Reading Terminal Market is one of those places that i could spend all day in. Not so much because it is huge, or because there is anything there that i couldn't find anywhere else. It is simply because it is like nothing in the Prescott area. While perusing all the stalls we stopped and got an awesome fresh fruit juice drink. This became the obvious time to talk about life, the universe and everything, so we did.
At this point i was unaware that i would be subjected to one of the oddest mixtures of ethnic cuisines of my life. Daryn just happens to know of a little Thai restaurant that we can go to for dinner. Though not in the mood for Thai, i grudgingly agree, and am taken to a place whose sign instills an instant sense of fear and foreboding: Thai-French Cuisine...? Surely not! Don't get me wrong; I like Thai food, and I really like French food, but in my mind, I don't like them together.
Thankfully a cursory look at the menu shows that although they share the same sign, they are kept pretty separate on the plate. So Daryn opted for something that smelled like fiery-diareah waiting to happen, and i opted for a crispy duck in a raspberry chamard sauce. The only unexpected thing on my plate was some basmati rice in place of a standard starch (namely potatoes), which I could definitely live with, and turned out to be a delicious meal. After this I ordered some mango sorbet, which was an oralgasm. Equal parts sorbet and whipped cream transformed into pure magic the moment they touched my tastebuds and i was transported to a place that every human ought to go to at least once in their life; pure ecstasy.
Tuesday consisted of a hike through a very lovely, and very spider-infested creekway. It is the same hike that we went on when i came out during the winter, and it was interesting to see how much more alive everything is during this season. There were frogs everywhere, and spiderwebs traipsed across every foot-path, with mothers carrying fat white egg sacks around with them. Daryn found some ropes hanging from a branch, and had a good ol' time swinging out over the water (pictures to be posted at another time). All in all a good time. This hike was followed by some more swimming at the pool, and finally some pizza and cheese-steak: good stuff!
To continue the shitty flight theme of Friday/Saturday, my flights home were a disaster. I arrived at the airport at 7:00AM, and my flight didn't leave till 1:00PM, so there went 6 hours of reading books. Philly to Atlanta seemed to be going well, until we were supposed to land. Apparently Atlanta was having a REALLY bad thunderstorm, so we got to sit in a holding pattern for an hour. This was followed by a trip to Tennessee so we could get more gas (which i think was a good idea, because running out of gas in a 747 seems like it could pose some serious problems). But then what was supposed to take 20 minutes turned into an hour and a half in Tennessee. Finally we got to take off again, and sit in a holding pattern for another 30 minutes before landing at last.
Of course this also meant that I missed my 4:00PM flight to PHX, so I am now booked on the 7:00PM flight. This flight changes departure gates twice, which means that i am running from terminal to terminal hoping that i don't miss another flight. At 8:00PM (1-hour delayed) the flight finally leaves, and I'm on my way home. Everything is good right? Well other than the fact that the battery on my MP3 player finally gave up it's fight for life, the flight was good. And i show up, and hugs and kisses are exchanged with DaNece as we head down to baggage claim. And i sit and wait for my bag to come out on the carousel, but sadly it does not. 'All bags delivered' and the carousel stops spinning, so after 17 hours (it's 12:00AM EST by now) we head to the baggage customer service desk, and sit in line behind a gaggle of people. As we stand there, more and more people I recognize from my flight from Atlanta, and i keep hearing the words "We don't know where your bags are, but we will get them here as quickly as possible". My heart begins to sink.
'Oh well,' i think to myself, 'there isn't anything in that bag i can't live without.' I get to the counter and talk to the agent, and am told that indeed my bag is here, it actually arrived hours ago (thanks to my arriving 6 hours before my original flight left). We go out to a glass case, get my bag, get in the rental, and drive home. Finally at 3:00AM EST we get home, and I pass out.
After that i spend a couple of days being a lazy bum at home, replace a radiator, as well as Nikki's brake pads, and call it one successful vacation.