Us in front of Independence Hall
Just got back from our "mandatory" vacation out East. We only spent a day and a half in Philadelphia, but Matt showed me all the historical sights. Most of it was stuff you'd expect to see on your 4th grade class field trip, but don't tell Matt. In addition to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, he took me to the Betsy Ross house where we got to chat with Betsy herself, which was kind of awkward. She was acting like it was still the 18th century and how do you relate to that? Plus, I'm not 7, so I was pretty sure she wasn't the REAL Betsy, but I didn't want to burst her bubble. One interesting fact I learned is that the guy who bought the house in the 1900s and restored it died on the 3rd floor. I know, I know. I'm going through a morbid, ghost-hunting phase. Another interesting fact: the big crack in the Liberty Bell was actually done intentionally to restore the sound. There's another tiny crack that runs all the way from bottom to top and that's why the bell doesn't make noise anymore. Bet you didn't know you were in for a history lesson.
After the history (which included a much-too-long tour of Christ Church where Ben Franklin and co. went) we went and had Philly cheesesteaks (I just had a bite of Matt's. I'm not a fan) and then hit the Mutter Museum of medical history/medical mysteries. It was ridiculously creepy and disgusting. They had dozens of fetuses (fetusi?) in jars, along with gangrenous hands and feet, and an 8 foot long colon that was found inside some guy who hadn't had a BM in months. When they removed the colon (in the autopsy because yes, he died) it had more than 40 lbs of waste inside. There were also shrunken heads and a "soap" woman whose body had decomposed in such a way that she was literally turning to soap. I'd definitely go back to the museum, but it'll be a while before I'm up to it again.
From Philly we headed to Matt's Aunt and Uncle's house about an hour away, and ended up staying with them the rest of the week. Matt's Aunt Bit took us on the bus to NYC one day and showed us around. It was damn cold, but other than that, really fun. We took a boat tour and then basically just walked our butts off the rest of the day. We went to Times Square and Rockefeller Center and then ate dinner at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, which is probably the only big name restaurant I've ever been to. Food was great, but ridiculously expensive, as expected.I was completely floored by the size of New York city. I thought I knew what to expect having lived in the Chicago area and been to Beijing a dozen times and so on. New York is just a whole other ball game. It is HUGE! And we only saw some of Manhattan. It makes Chicago look tiny.
All in all, we had a pretty great (and long) week. Tomorrow comes Denver and then Breckenridge for some ski adventure. I'll admit, I was a lot more excited about skiing before we spent the freezing week out East. Now I'm kind of wishing we'd planned a beach vacation instead! Matt got an email last week literally minutes after we booked our flights to Colorado that said he was assigned to a job in Louisiana and has to be there on Sunday the 7th, That's the day we are flying back fromDenver, so I don't know exactly how that will work out. He might have to leave a day early or fly straight from Denver. I suppose I'll be meeting him there a couple days later. Lots of flights! Way to build up the frequent flier miles! Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it, this year I'm keeping a record of how many hours we spend in airports or on planes. So for for 2010, we've spent about 6 hours in airports and 4 hours on planes. And that was just one round trip. My theory is we're going to spend a lot more time in airports and actually flying. But maybe not.