Set off yesterday to Philadelphia for this year's EDUCAUSE conference. Fairly uneventful trip, drive to Heathrow, read paper, get on plane, watch film, sleep, land! Bit bumpy over Canada but I slept through most of it. Then an hour's wait to get through immigration, fingerprints and photo taken, and interrogated on life story by very nice, but thorough, immigration officer!
Met up with some other Brits, and shared shuttle van into town, and as usual my hotel was the last on the route, so had 30 mins to unpack, shower and get to bar for a very welcome beer and meet up with the rest for dinner. Not as many of us as expected, and one of the direct flights from Manchester had been cancelled. So some colleagues had not managed to leave, but were still in airport. hope they make it today.
About 8 of us ventured outside of the hotel and realised we were in Chinatown. So, we went for a Chinese meal. A great place, and we were kept amused by the chefs, especially the one making thin bread by spinning the dough round his head.
Back to the hotel, and in bed at a reasonable time. Woken in the middle of the night by someone banging on a door somewhere near me. Obviously locked out, and couldn't wake the person in there. Eventually security were called, they were making so much noise! Woke at 7, so had managed 8 hours sleep, hopefully sorting out the 5 hours time difference. Although I did eat much more at breakfast than my normal fruit and yoghurt. Body was convinced it was lunchtime! Anyone know what's actually in the "gravy" you get with your bacon and eggs here? A group of us met up and decided to get the open topped bus tour. An hour and a half round the city including the historical district and the museum district. Also saw the famous LOVE sculpture. A really good way of getting your bearings. Then a couple of us decided to queue to see the Liberty Bell, a very famous landmark and important piece of American history.
A quick trip round the Independence Visitor Centre and back for lunch to the market, which is just by the hotel. A great place, full of food stalls selling almost everything - Chinese, Indian, Thai, Italian, and the local specialty, Philly Cheesesteak. One of our number was brave enough to try one, I think you could probably fed a family of four on it.
In the afternoon we visited the Museum of Art, a lovely place, at the top of "the Rocky steps". I didn't know what that meant, but if you've seen the films then you'll apparently know.
You also get a great view of the city skyline from the top of them.
Lots of impressionists, modern art and Asian art. Huge, we spent a couple of hours there and barely touched the surface. In the evening we visited a microbrewery pub, for some beer and food.