First, let me just apologize for my delay in posting – super busy week! So, last weekend was our trip to Philly. We got a little bit of a late start on Friday because I had to finish some things up at work. Still, we got packed up rapid-fire and hit the road. Ryan had just updated his Garmin and was feeling like we could maybe trust it so it was leading the way. However, instead of keeping us on 95, it took us onto a random highway-the Pulaski Highway-for a little while. Talk about sketchy. In addition to ramshackle buildings and sketchy motels, we passed a place called Russian Love and even a seedy adult video store complete with viewing rooms. Ryan made the executive decision to get back onto 95 – good choice! We figured out later that the Garmin was on shortest distance instead of fastest route. Anyways, we stopped for a quick bite at Burger King (mmm…Whopper Jr. with cheese!) and were getting settled in our hotel in no time.
Our timing was perfect as the rehearsal dinner was just finishing up. Adam, Dre, Mike and Ashley met up with us at the hotel and we walked over to Fado to meet up with everyone else. We had our own section of the bar with our own waitress who was FANTASTIC!
She served all of us thirsty clowns very quickly, was really friendly and didn’t spill one drink despite having a very packed space. I was impressed. But, perhaps I should back up and explain who all these guys are before I start mentioning them. When Ryan first moved to Virginia he was really into BMX and started hanging out with a group of guys that to this day remain his best friends – the Capital Crew. Mike, the groom, is part of this group, as well as Adam, Mike, Paul and Lance.
And they all brought their girlfriends – Dre, Ashley, Christina and Kristen respectively. We all had a great time out at Fado and stumbled back to the hotel full of merriment and wanting to continue our celebration. So, we went to the hotel bar, Elephant and Castle, and partied there until bar close.
Next step was to take it up to our rooms. Unfortunately for us, the Crowne Plaza and a panty-doning old hag had other ideas…
I will readily recognize that we were all a little buzzed up from our night out and I will say that I’m sure we were a little loud when we came in. However, within 15 minutes of our arrival the disgusting lady across the hall opened her door in her underwear to tell us that we were too loud and needed to be quiet. I apologized and told her that we would try to keep it down. Her reply, “you’ll trrrryyy?!” I said yes, I will go inside and tell everyone and we will try to keep it down. She told me I was being rude to which I countered that she was being very rude. I explained that we were there for a wedding, we had just gotten in and that we would try to be quiet. I couldn’t really get all of this across to her because she slammed her door shut. Within a few minutes of that, security came up, said they had 3 complaints about us and if there was one more the police would be called. I’m sorry, but this is absolutely ABSURD! Three calls in that little of a time span says nothing. Give us a chance to get settled in for crying out loud! Also, what kind of unhappy selfish person calls the front desk over 15 minutes of noise, knowing full well people are there for a wedding?! Unreal.
Adam went down to smooth things out and explained the situation again. He also was sure to tell them that he would never stay there again. I agree! In their defense, they did say that the people who called were regular customers – flight attendants that stay there all the time. Still, come on! Additionally, the parking at the Crowne Plaza (for hotel guests) is $36/day. DO NOT STAY AT THE CROWNE PLAZA in downtown Philadelphia! Yes, it is convenient and it is slightly cheaper than the surrounding hotels, but don’t do it!!!
The next morning we woke up with a serious mission – Cheesesteaks! We all piled into two taxis and headed over to Pat’s. Both Pat’s and Geno’s (which are across the street from each other) are set up the same way – a carry out place with outdoor seating. When you step up to the window, you better be ready – this is the one place in Philly that is fast, very fast. A giant wooden sign next to the window explains how you should order. First is “wit” or “wit out” which refers to the onions. You also have your choice of cheese. I went with provolone while others went with cheese whiz. By the time you are done paying, your sandwich is ready, in all of its drippy, greasy goodness. Make sure you grab LOTS of napkins.
After breakfast, we wandered the streets of Philly to digest and take in the sights.
After a little exploring, Adam, Dre, Ryan and I went to Love Park to see the LOVE sculpture.
Then Ryan and I grabbed some Starbucks and wandered over to Rittenhouse Square to people watch. We found an open park bench and took a seat. Some street musicians were playing and tons of people were out and about. Ryan nudged me and I looked over to see an old lady on the park bench across the walk from us. She smiled at us as she poured a little vodka into her cup. At first, Ryan and I laughed because we thought it was funny that an older lady was spiking her coffee. Then we slowly started to piece together that it was not a case of a hilarious elderly lady getting it in, but instead a likely homeless lady just getting plowed. Pretty sure there was no coffee in her cup – just the vodka. She also had old, crusted vomit on her shirt and pulled out a partially-rotting tomato to snack on. Ryan was about to throw up his cheesesteak looking at her so we moved and sat on a rock wall to take in some less disgusting people. The one positive thing was the red bull girls came around and gave us free red bull.
By then, it was time for us to get back to our room and get all gussied up for the wedding! The wedding was at the Hotel Palomar and it was short, laid-back and personal. While the room was being switched over for the reception, there was an open bar and hors d’oeuvres downstairs. We also occupied ourselves with the Polaroid guestbook. And of course, took some group photos.
The reception followed in the same vein as the wedding – beautiful, laid-back and personal. Although I just met both Mike and Christine, I can tell that all that mattered to them was celebrating their marriage with friends and family. Seems so simple and what any wedding should obviously be about. But, too often people get wrapped up in things that don’t really matter in the end. Mike and Christine didn’t seem to at all. They even embraced the fact that our table was going to be rowdy and perhaps a little unruly.
Overall, my opinion on Philly remains the same – dirty, slow, smelly. Not my favorite east coast city for sure. However, like so many things in life, it’s more about who you are with then where you are or what you are doing. Despite all the shenanigans and antics, or maybe because of them, you won’t find a better group of guys then those in the Capital Crew. Us ladies aren’t so bad ourselves I might add. Plus, the happiness and excitement surrounding Mike and Christine was incredible. All the best to both of them!!! So Philly, while you and I still have our differences, you did provide us with a really great weekend with some very good people.