Trip to Mexico Dia 6 Guadalajara alone, more tacos, mas cervezas

This trip occurred in 2014. I had written these posts a long time ago on a different computer which I just gained access to again.  I hope you enjoy Mexico as much as we did. It is a wonderful place to visit and live. 

 

In the courtyard of our hostel was a small grill with a short menu of breakfast items. Beans and eggs primarily, but no free breakfast options as I’ve seen before at other countries hostels. It was delicious and inexpensive, less than $5 for a plate of food that would fill you up. I noticed a disheveled man wander into the courtyard while we waited for my friends’ taxi. The porter and he spoke for a few moments and the guy sat down. Soon after they spoke, a plate of food was set on the table and he ate quickly. I spoke to the chef/hostel clerk after the bum left and he told me he was fed every day. The bum never bothered anyone, he was just hungry. Beside, the hostel was doing well, it wasn’t much money for a plate of food to help someone, so why not?

I talked to the guy behind the grill, same guy who checks everyone in, and he said I was ok staying in the same room alone as it was open for the night. He said I was lucky we were there during the week when it was less crowded. There was an English guy seated at the table next to me whom I had briefly met the night before. I struck up a conversation, eventually joining him for a smoke while we talked about what brought him to Mexico from England.

He taught English at university there and was near the end of the semester. He ended his lease at another place in town and was staying at his favorite hostel in the city for the final two weeks of school. After final exams, he would take a train down south where he would crash on the beach for a month, living in a tent. He didn’t make much money as a teacher, just enough to pay for good living, drinks and food. He hadn’t been back to England in years and did miss his mates, but he was very happy here. He realized that it was basically the same life, in a much more hospitable environment. He said he was always just scraping by living in London and saw the future clearly: work all day to make just enough to buy a flat a bit closer to town with each raise, fight traffic commuting to work every day, repeat until retirement. In México, he made more than enough for a nice apartment, he could walk or ride his bike around town, loved the food and music, and the weather was near perfect most of the year, why not live here and be happy? I too was struggling with this reality my new friend was currently living. Is it worth it to give up friends and family to live simply, as you want?

What made it funny was how obvious it was to the few others around but to this kid, he was getting away with something. He had sunglasses on and would turn his head side to side, then the pipe was raised, lit, exhale, smile. Every single time for 10 minutes. It was hilariously obvious and I tried not to stare in his direction, thankful I had on sunglasses. I could glance his way with my head pointed towards the church, like I was checking out the architecture or something.
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 Turns out the cathedral plaza is many city blocks so there was even more on the other side that we’d not seen. It was a drum circle and dancing to a boom box. The drummers followed the tune playing on the boom box, the dancers moved as they saw fit, some to the rhythm, others clearly to the beat of their own drummer. I am not sure if this was a church supported event or a regular occurrence. Everyone celebrated more down here as it seemed everyday was some war anniversary or remembrance day. Festivities included music, dancing, parades, costumes invariably.
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I walked through the plaza past the drummers and dancers, past the bland but famous restaurant in search of street tacos. To my surprise, my travel companions were a bit hesitant to eat street food, preferring the comforting golden arches, restaurants and snacks. The closest thing I’d had that was street food was the breakfasts at the hostels. A couple blocks and there sat a guy on a corner serving tacos. A couple guys were standing near the grill, eating so I felt this was a solid option. There were no seats or chairs, you ate standing up. There was no menu, just tacos and sodas. This wasn’t a food truck, it was a food trailer as this one was attached to a motorcycle though some were manually pushed around.

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On the asphalt sat a cooler, inside was meat in plastic bags to one side, limes and beverages on the other with a no doubt sturdy divider separating the items. He shot a spray of oil onto the hot, metal sheet which immediately smoked, he plopped some meet onto the grill, which sizzled, and then a tortilla soon hit the metal. He took his time letting each one sit for what seemed too long before flipping. Back and forth he worked until at some point, they were combined. I am fairly sure it was chicken I ate, but it might have been pork, there wasn’t a menu. The pink meat was cut into strips so it was unidentifiable. All I know is I was eating the best tasting taco I’ve ever had. The tortilla was a bit crispy but still soft so it held together unlike a hard-shell taco so you could hold it and not drop everything to the ground. I quickly ordered another one, then another before waving goodbye. These tacos were 10 pesos or about 2 bucks

I snaked up road after road, through neighborhoods, dodging cars and scooters the whole way. Where the hell was I? All I knew was the sun was to my left and that meant I was walking towards the avenue a bit north of our hostel. As long as you could recall at least two known points, such as  street name or orientation with the sun, you can find your way back. If not you can pop into a bar or restaurant and ask, no worries. Unless you are the only person around for miles, I’ve learned you are never truly lost. I enjoyed walking in a new area and trying to figure things out. A short time later, I was on an avenue I recognized. The sun was just beginning to set so I hung around to watch it disappear behind some mountains.

This avenue was the same street that had the British pub on it so I decided why not, I was on vacation. I had a couple pints, watched Mexican sports and videos on the ring of TVs. I had found a choice place to people watch, which is my favorite activity in bars. You’d usually have a couple in love or fighting at a table, a group of friends laughing at another, a lone guy or girl waiting for a date. I ordered a couple Mexican beers I’d not had yet. The cervezas I bought was a very light, pilsner style, which was the most common option and a black ale, both were made with rice.

 

Before too long, I knew I had to leave. I located another taco truck on the way home and had a couple. Again delicious! I bought one for a passerby that was how good I thought they were. We all had a laugh, they enjoyed how much I loved their food. There were a few people hanging out inside the hostel so I bought a beer and hung out with them in the media room. It was just a place with a couple couches and TV. There was the cool couple from Sought America, just traveling the country and a couple other guys, one of whom continued to fall asleep in his chair. They were sort of watching a movie, but mostly talking and passing around a pipe whilst sitting under a sign that said No Drugs. This was the first conversation in a different language that I completely understood! A guy was explaining how he was late for a train and was running after it until he jumped on. It was in very basic Spanish which was the only common language we all had, no one spoke English but me. We all understood and laughed at his tale. After awhile I grew tired and wished them all a good night.

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Trip to Mexico Dia 5 Jalisco, Tequila tour, fiesta

This trip occurred in 2014. I had written these posts a long time ago on a different computer which I just gained access to again.  I hope you enjoy Mexico as much as we did. It is a wonderful place to visit and live. 

 

We had talked to two different groups of friends and both recommended taking a bus to Tequila to see how the beverage was made the old fashioned way. We had to taxi over to the west side of town and that is when I learned how big this ‘small city’ actually was, and since we were in Mexico, traffic was horrible the whole way. We popped into a wal-mart to get some fruits and nuts for the trip. It would be over an hour and we weren’t sure what eating options there were in this small town. The wal-marts look exactly the same down south, everything was pretty much in the same spot as I’ve seen before. The difference being this place had a much larger bakery section, no deli for sandwich meats and the lines were very long. Even in the express lane, it took 30 minutes to check out. I selected a trail mix with chocolate bits mixed in with nuts and fruit. I also got an apple and banana and ate the apple on the bus ride in, saving the banana for later. I figured I wouldn’t have a way to wash the apple once I got on the bus.

It was well over an hour ride on a sparely seated bus so I looked out of the window as long as I could before falling asleep. We likely had only slept a few hours the night before and the previous day was 18 hour long adventure. In my head I heard Spanish coming from the movie that played on a couple small TVs that were strategically placed so everyone had a good view. I slowly drifted off to sleep.

I awoke as we pulled into the city. Tequila was very much like the México I’d seen in movies and cartoons: I swear we saw a cantina as we walked into the city square. We walked down a street towards the many distilleries in the city. We encountered a couple pitchmen from different tequila makers, everyone was trying to get us in their place so they had different prices or deals for ‘more than two people.’ They created ‘deals’ based on who they were talking to, I figured. Some pitched a more rural excursion, to see how the agave was harvested from the ground. Other tours focused on just the distillery. We selected a tour at the Jose Cuervo distillery as we had heard of it and we figured the tours would be pretty much the same.

The distillery was very nice and resembled, in certain places, someone’s home or estate. They went over the history of tequila, how it was made from agave, tasting each step along the way. We had agave nectar, which was sweet, and we had pure tequila, which was much stronger than you drink in bars. This elicited a bit of a cough, it was 60% alcohol and had a bite to it. The whole trip I wondered what caballero figured out if you uprooted this very large agave plant after a decade in the ground, boil it only taking the evaporated moisture, storing that liquid in barrels, finally age it down so that it was a certain alcohol % and color. This was hard labor process so who thinks about doing this? The newer the tequila, the lighter in color it was, Any color is a result of the barrels it’s stored in. A fascinating tour and well worth the trip.

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We meandered around a very stereotypical city plaza after the tour. I swear I saw a burro pulling a cart, a guy passed out or just sleeping, and a real caballero wearing spurs and a sombrero walking around. This is a city that I wanted to spend the night. Just wandering around, it was so cool, so old, and full of vibes. Tequila was the quietest place we visited in México, I was sad to leave.

I had a window seat on the bus ride home and was amazed at how many agave plants surrounded the town. As far as the eye could see, there were rows and rows of agave plants, miles and miles of them. As we learned on the tour, it takes 8+ years for an agave plant to mature enough to make tequila. It made sense that every few years I’d hear about a tequila shortage. Only agave plants grown in the state of Jalisco can be labeled tequila, just like only grapes from Champagne region are used to make that beverage. I can assure you, everyone uses the same process, and it’s just a name and location they get to cash in on.

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We arrived back into town after nightfall. The ride was much longer due to the many stops we made, plus traffic. To get back to the cathedral plaza, we took a bus/tram, best way to describe it. Everything was situated like a tram that traveled in a segregated part of the road, but it was a wheeled bus that resembled a snake due to its accordion like sections that allowed it to take sharp turns.

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We had heard great things about a restaurant, but so had everyone else as we saw the line down the street so we decided to wait it out until we could go in without waiting. Luckily, there were some events going on in the plaza. We moved on to the plaza and watched a woman turn some tricks with a lasso. She came over and talked to us for awhile, telling us about how she learned her skills. This was her only job, just going around to different cities to perform; usually people she met after her shows would invite her to an event or refer her to another friend in a different city and off she’d go. A real, pro cowgirl!

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We finally made it into the most popular restaurant in Guadalajara and I have to say I was underwhelmed. Everyone filed in past an open kitchen where ladies prepared the dishes. There were probably ten women, dressed in the same white, nurse like uniforms, stirring boiling cauldrons, frying eggs or plating dishes. I ordered a sampler platter that included the broiled chicken that made this place famous. It was bland, they cooked the flavor right out of it! I was shocked, I figured due to the line and how full of flavor most things in México were, this would be a meal to remember.

It was better than the McDonald’s we visited daily. One of my companions liked the salads from there so every day we’d pop in for a salad snack. I only ate once, the rest of the times I was entertained by the crush of people in the place. They even had a bathroom guard, a guy whose sole job was asking for a receipt before you could use the restroom. I encountered a bathroom monitor in every McD’s we visited in Mexico. He always had an encounter with a homeless person he would have to escort outside. They seemed ok with people just sitting around but you had to buy something to use the restroom.

We made our way back to the hostel after dinner. My traveling friends were leaving in the morning, while I’d planned on staying one more day. We arrive and the hostel was in full party mode. Another clerk was working and he poured me a shot of tequila. There was a group of guys in the courtyard smoking and drinking large quarts of beers. I sat down and instantly had a quart in front of me. This was how the whole evening went: someone would finish and another would get up and buy both of them beer. The hostel had a beer fridge which we exhausted after midnight. I overheard an Irishman and his friend saying they were going to Cuba in the morning. He explained mainly for my benefit how to get to Cuba if you were from the US. You had to pay for the plane ride in cash, no phones, no checking in on ‘fooking facefriend and shit, they’ll find out!’ Then you had to fly back to Belize or other nearby country, then back into Mexico. Thus your passport would be stamped properly so it looked like you went to a neighboring country, then  back in to México. Cuba would stamp a loose sheet and advise you to hide it after leaving. Such a silly process, I said. He just smiled at me and said ‘no one else had to do that,  just you Americans.’

Trip to Mexico Dia 3 Boats, buses and Estadio Azteca futbol

This trip occurred in 2014. I had written these posts a long time ago on a different computer which I just gained access to again.  I hope you enjoy Mexico as much as we did. It is a wonderful place to visit and live. 

 

It was nice to develop a bit of a routine on vacation. The view from the balcony was a great way to start the day, as was the delicious eggs and beans they served. I’ve become more grateful for good coffee because most of the time on the road, you drank instant coffee or cheap, Robusta coffee, which is bitter. Most places had milk so I was able to improve the taste, but it wasn’t like what you get from a coffee shop back home. Just about all the coffee you drink in the US is Arabica beans, which are naturally sweeter. They probably should just serve Robusta coffee due to how much milk, cream and sugar most people add.

 

We agreed to check out boat rides on the advice of friends. It took about an hour and two trains to get far enough south to the canals. The specific district was named Xochimilco and they had gondola style boats to take you through the waters to see small islands. People apparently lived on small parcels of land in the middle of these canals and some had decorated their land exotically.

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If you’ve ever heard or seen pics of doll island, this is where we were heading. Some guy had hung hundreds of plastic, baby parts all over his land, giving an already creepy area a near hell like status. We all noticed this area felt a lot different than the City. Much smaller, a bit less people and we stuck out as tourist a lot more. We found the launching pad for the boats and discovered that all were available, no one had rented a boat yet so we’d be the only ones out on the water. Also no one would know we went out at all except the couple guys milling around the dock, drinking beers. After discussing with locals the logistics and cost, we all felt significantly spooked to forget the whole affair. It wasn’t tourist season, they explained but they had one guy that would take us out. Would he take us back is what we all wondered.

We got out where we switched trains, it was hard not to notice the immense futbol stadium, Estadio Azteca from the window. I’d never seen a live futbol match and had heard how crazy but fun they were. We investigated and were subjected to many scalpers the entire way to the ticket counter. The match was later in the early evening so we had several hours to kill. We picked up tickets and headed back to the train. We had another top site to see, El Angel, and it was closer to where we were at now vs. Zocolo.

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This stature was the symbol for Mexico City and appeared on TV shows and other programs to indicate where they took place. The statue itself is a tall column with an angel on top, rising up in the middle of a huge four way intersection downtown. Crossing the street to get to El Angel is not for the slow or faint of heart, cars are constantly whizzing by from all directions and traffic signals are a suggestion at best. You just saw an opening and ran for it. You can walk around and through the base. I learned that tickets were available to enter all the way to the top of the statue. A special pass and permission from the police was needed so we weren’t able to see the view.

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We continued walking, ultimately to another train station, but with the goal of seeing things along the route. We took a break inside a wonderful park. Trees, futbol, and food were all around our table as were what seemed to be a gallon bottle of Coke at another family’s picnic. Further up a steep roadway was a castle that now housed the City’s history museum. Chapultepec Castle was its name, but they charged admission for a tour. We didn’t think we’d have enough time to see the castle, eat and train back in time for the game. A wise choice we realized upon arriving at the train station. Every car was packed and we had to wait for a couple trains before we could board. It was shoulder to shoulder all around, adding extra heat to an already hot environment. It seems the heat got to one person as the train sat a long time at the station. A police officer showed up and side carried a guy who had passed out off the train. I’d say we sat on that car sweating for about 20 minutes before I realized what was going on.

On the train to the stadium, I was near a young girl who put on makeup the entire ride. In the time I boarded to the time we got out at the stadium she went from a little girl to woman. I wasn’t sure what her profession was, it could have been anything as most products are pitched by women, seductively dressed in short, short skirts and full make up. Didn’t matter what it was, phones, gum, trinkets, they all used females as saleswomen. Many guys would stop and talk, maybe some would buy but these ladies dressed to receive your attention. I sure hope she was just selling something safe, like phone plans.

They take tailgating to another level in México! Hundreds of people milled around out front of the stadium grilling meats and corn, selling beer and playing carney style games. We stood and watched while we waited in the security line to get inside. I noticed they made everyone raised their hands and patted everyone down, searched purses and confiscated items. I saw several guys’ belts taken, likely due to their big buckles, but they let me keep mine. We kept walking around and around, up and up, on a concrete ramp until we were at the top level where our seats were. Stepping out into the arena was a sight I’ll never forget. I’ve never seen so many people inside one place and the noise, my god it’s the loudest thing I’ll ever hear! Thousands of people cheering and singing different songs at the same time at the top of their voices, a band played along with both. Sheer cacophony!

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We made our way to our seats, in a not too crowded section, there were a few empty seats around us, making getting in and out much easier. The game was already underway, as was drinking. There didn’t seem to be any limit on beers, so long as you could physically say what you wanted, they sold you a beer. I bought one and settled in to watch the spectacle unfold. The premium box seats were at either goal and surrounded by a chain link fence. In fact, chain link fences were all over the stadium. It separated sections and fans of different teams. These games were not for sitting in the opposing teams section, they would probably beat you up or physically remove you. The air was thick with tension, that was for sure. Behind each goal was a section just for police in riot gear. Surrounding the ledges on most sections were more riot police, with shields and batons. The home team was called the Americas.

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Things were going well during the first half, but it was 0-0. During halftime some very loud, drunk guys behind us began walking around to others in our section. They chanted a lot. I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I hoped they were just singing special fight songs. I decided to turn my attention to the cavalcade of people parading onto the field.

They turned the goals into breadboxes to advertise a bread company, many banners and other sponsor swag was on display. I couldn’t believe there was a way to get more ads at a sporting event, but yet here it was. Everywhere you cared to look had an ad for something on it. What’s this, a couple guys were walking down seats into my area. They said in broken English, ‘drink cup,’ and preceded to hand a cup with a hole in the bottom. My friend translated they wanted me to chug beer from their cup. I put the cup with a hole to my lips, mind you they’d been going around to other guys for awhile so my lips weren’t the only ones to have been here, and poured beer rapidly into the cup. I chugged as fast as I could but didn’t fully get it all down, a bit dribbled onto my beard and shirt. Everyone around me cheered! I was relived and humbled, most people are friendly if you give them a chance, and I wish more people, including myself at times, realized this.

Things intensified on the field after the halftime break. The Americas fans chanted ‘puuuuuuuuuto,’ whenever the opposing team’s goalie kicked the ball. They were calling him a pussy, thousands of people, kids, everyone. After a bit I noticed a commotion behind the goal. Several people were yelling down to another section. I saw beers fly, well I hoped it was beer, more than likely it was pee in a cup, raining down onto most people in the lower section. A man tentatively scaled the chain link fence but didn’t make it all the way to do anything, just yelled up at them. Surprisingly, no one intervened.

The Americas scored the lone goal of the game to win and the place erupted with cheers.

We rushed out as soon as the game ended though a lot of people didn’t move. Once we made it outside the stadium, the reality of the situation was driven home. Several police surrounded a bloody headed guy, his arms behind his back. They made it to some stairs and he took a deliberate tumble down them. For sure, if you were arrested for intoxication, fighting, the police here ensured you felt your mistake physically. A bit later we saw another guy get batoned to the ground, not sure why. I began to worry about the train situation. How long would we have to wait, there were thousands of people? Luck was again with us as we didn’t even break stride and walked onto an express train that would take us towards Zocolo. I felt a great relief as the doors closed and we pulled away from the chaotic scene at the stadium.

It was quite the end to a great stay in the City. We had decided to split up our trip between Mexico City and Guadalajara, the most time spent in the City, three days, four nights. Our flight was very early and we had to leave even earlier to catch the train to the airport. That was the rub, car traffic was unknown. The train left very early, but its arrival time was much more accurate. I was as happy and as tired as could be when I laid down onto the top bunk that night. I’d survived and had a great time in Mexico City, a place several people discouraged me from visiting due to the violence. I felt that danger is everywhere, in whatever city you live in, there is somewhere that you could get shot, stabbed or kidnapped. I figured if any of these happened, doing it experience a new city is the best place for it vs. just making a wrong turn into a seedy area at home.

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Dream trip Day 138 Philly to DC by bus, beers with Jeff

Leaving is always hard, I am not good at it though I do it all the time.

The day began at Grindhouse for coffee and pastry. I still am not sure how they make vegan sweets or ice cream. I’m glad someone figured it out though. It’s good.

We hugged it out and then I queued up for the line to DC. This time I had a ticket.

Had just enough time to snap a pic of Philly’s Chinatown gate, a new thing I’d been taking pics of since I arrived to Boston.

 

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Another pretty quick bus ride and I was in DC. I was soon walking to one of my favorite hostels. I’d stayed here on a couple of other DC visits.

It’s in a good location, sort of close to a few subway lines which made getting around easier. Plus I knew the neighborhood.

Not much had changed at the hostel. Take off your shoes in front, bunks in the back. I decided it was time for a rest. Long night ahead.

I took the Metro to the stop near the capital, Jeff worked for the gov though I wasn’t 100% clear on what he did. I knew he helped a Congressman from Texas for a few years.

I’d know Jeff for over 15 years by this point. We’d seen radiohead together on The Bends tour, drove to Cali from Denton after graduation. We’d seen and done a lot.

A couple of transfers and we were at his car, parked at a station. This was sort of my dream commute situation. I just want to avoid traffic and downtown DC is pretty bad.

Initially we discussed checking out a punk show. I feel we both realized we couldn’t talk if we were in a loud place so we hailed a car to take us to a pub.

Jeff’s wife was actually Swedish, as in she spoke the language and had lived there for a time. That is a cool way to see a city and country.

He told me bout their honeymoon or maybe she just goes home every year and Jeff joined. I haven’t explored Scandinavia yet, looks fun but cold.

We caught the ballgame that was on. I ventured that maybe we could see a Nationals playoff game the next night. They had just won their division.

After sharing travel tales, his wife arrived to collect him for the night. She too is a cool kid and it was nice to get to know her at their wedding a couple of years ago.

Marylanders they were now. Ocean City for the summers.

I had to negotiate the Metro late and half sauced. I didn’t have a lady to pick me up.

It was fine, just sliver to red, head north and I was home.

Safe inside a roomful of strangers, snoring.

 

Song Fugazi   Kyeo

Beer  DC Brau   Corruption

Dream trip Day 135 NYC pizza, bus to Philly, beers with Jodi

Natalie had to work and I had to hit the road. Southbound to Philly today.

I was told to hit up Roscoe’s for a good pizza experience. I definitely wanted to get some NYC pizza to compare to some of the places I went in Dallas that trumpeted their NYC roots, style.

I got plenty lost and turned around walking the quarter-mile to the pizza joint. Oh well I got to see some cool parts of the city.

It was a by the slice affair at Roscoe’s. You ordered, they threw it in the oven while you paid and it was done shortly after.

Good pizza, sauce, and of course that crust! Another one please, nice and hot.

I shared space with some tough looking construction workers. Chowing down on some sweet ‘za. A classic NYC scene.

I am always surprised by how long it takes to get around via subway in NYC. About an hour to get over to the west side to a bus stop.

There are several lines for the bus, each for a different destination city, so you have to ask someone to make sure you are in the right line.

There are conductors and people who walk around keeping order. They know what to do and can sell you a ticket.

One held a portable swiper/printer device. The receipt was long as it was your ticket too.

I filed in line to board, throwing my backpack into the baggage hold. I’d discovered the top compartments weren’t large enough for my backpack, which is also too big to stow under the seats.

I kick back and watch the city fly pass me through the window.

I’d never been to Philly, so it was important that I make it down for a couple of days.

I’m a huge history fan especially US history, how the country was founded. A lot of action happened in Philly.

Luck was on my side as I had met someone on my trip who lived in Philly. She didn’t mind me crashing on her couch for a few days. Finally going to see Philadelphia, PA!

I spoke to my friend Jodi, and told her I was near city hall, specifically a large paperclip art installation.

To my amazement I was able to locate her truck as she passed on the busy road in front of the clip, I threw my bag in the back, hopped in the cab and slammed the door shut.

I was greeted by Jodi’s dog who is super cool. Only surpassed by Jodi who is the coolest!

She showed off a bit of Philly while it was still light, passing by a few landmarks I could take pics of.

We walked her dog around these sites, too. Lots of dogs in Philly.

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We soon arrived at the port. We were looking at the Delaware River, Trenton NJ was on the other side of the river.

Lots of military ships out here.

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We saw another large ship sail out to sea before getting back into the truck.

Her house wasn’t too far. In fact Philly isn’t that large, maybe 5 miles in any direction. Buses seemed to run most of the days, I certainly saw them whenever I was out.

We were hungry so we walked to a bar that served pretty good Mexican food. Had a couple of beers too.

It was a cool neighborhood pub, full of characters too. A guy at the bar had just been released from jail and they were celebrating.

Apparently this was a normal event and celebration here. Shots poured. I guess I am lucky or maybe square but I ain’t never been to jail.

Another baseball game I was able to catch, just being out and about I found a TV.

More pints, some food and we snake our way through the neighborhood home.

Everything feels old and out of a film. Just wonderful brownstone houses, walk ups, older corner businesses, the way it was, you know.

Tomorrow I’d fully explore the historic side of the city!

Beer  Philadelphia pale ale

Song  Hall and Oates   Method of Modern Love

Dream trip Day 133 Providence to New York City by bus, West Village house party with friends

If there is one thing I enjoy for breakfast it is corned beef hash. This is more of an east  coast treat and well, I was on the east coast!

Sure enough a couple blocks away was a diner. I didn’t even have to look at the menu. 2 fried eggs, over medium, corn beef hash, coffee.

I was served by a cute gal, long hair, young though. It is always nice to have those movie notions of saying something like, ‘I can see it, You hate it here. Why don’t you join me on this journey I’m on…’

Alas no, I just sat and calmly drank my coffee until my food arrived.

So good! Nice runny yolk is the sauce for the hash. Great way to begin the day, especially after a night of shots.

There were only a couple of buses to NYC so I had to rush a bit. I was only able to say farewell to one of the people I went out with the night before.

She thought I was rushing to leave, but I was at the mercy of the bus schedule, that and traffic once I hit the City.

I would be getting into town around 7 as it was. I wasn’t sure about my friends schedules, what time they would be ready or if they had to work.

Once again I played with fire not buying a ticket, just headed out to the bus depot. I was likely sore at the fees imposed when buying online. I can assure you, they levy them at you in person as well.

I made it all the way to the ticket counter where I see a hand written sign reading ‘Out to Lunch back in 10 min.’

The bus left in 10 minutes! Sure enough this lady wanders in at the time of departure, munching on chips. I give her a head nod and she meets me at the window.

‘1 to NYC, for now please. Has the bus left?’ I ask.

‘There it go now, you can take that one.’ she replied and handed me a ticket while pointing behind her at a bus that had just pulled into the depot. Crunch.

That’s how they rolled in Providence. I was heading to the big apple, New York City!

I hardly believed it as we drove through the wet, soggy afternoon.

I wore a huge smile on my face the entire ride down as we lurched through borough after borough until we arrived @ 41st & 8th St.

Now I know what the sound of 10+ horns blaring at the same time sounds like, thanks everybody.

I found the route to my friend’s part of town, not even thinking about taking the subway, I was walking the mean streets of NYC!

I just kept on walking through Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village. 41 gorgeous blocks just like Holden walked.

You just feel more alive in New York I cannot explain it.

Plenty of time for a hot dog, something I so rarely ate. Had a nice thick fruit beverage with my doggers too.

Fortified, I continued my assault on the city. Walked on Bleeker St, past CBGB’s, now a salon that sold clothes. Sell merchandise, not the dream.

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My friends would meet me out later. They were going to a housewarming party. I was assured it was cool I tag along.

I posted up at a pub and got some beers while I waited. Beer was about 7-8$ a or what I paid in Oak Cliff for a pint. Dang!

There’s usually a ballgame on at night in the fall so I caught a bit of a game before my friends arrived.

They they were! So cool to see an old friend. Natalie and her husband Nick. I’d gone to college with Natalie, sort of.

Denton has 2 universities so a lot of people who live there work or attend college. I can’t recall which one Natalie went to. We didn’t have any classes together, she was art major and knew several people I hung out with.

She was a teacher at NYC school #832. It was great to see her!

We got pints and hit up a booth where I filled them in on my travel story. I think Natalie said I should write a book. I think that may be what I am writing now.

Soon we finished and hit the subway to a party across town, in the West Village.

It was a little awkward as I parked my bags into a nook of the room which was filled totally by a couch.

These were some of their friend who had actually lived in Denton for a time when I had moved away.

Sometimes I think about living in Denton again.

They had plenty of beer, a fire escape/balcony that overlooked the street. It was such a cool experience just having a beer out there watching people walk by.

I am fairly sure we took the subway a couple stops to my friend’s apartment. It was nice, air mattress sort of night.

Sirens howled in the distance.

Beer  Yuengling Oktoberfest

Song  Parquet Courts  Human Performance

 

 

Dream trip Day 132 Boston to Providence by bus, party hostel, Irish lady

Everything is so much closer on the east coast. It was like Europe, only an hour or 2 bus ride or train, and you were in a different state.

Today it was Boston to Providence via a local bus line. Very affordable.

I took the long walk to the bus depot passing through Chinatown for some sweet pics.

chinatown

chinatown2

 

There was a craft coffee shop nearly in front of the bus depot, I got a cup to go. I think it was Guatemalan coffee.

Hurry up and wait! We gathered near the area our bus would arrive and watched the time pass by slowly! It was a bit late.

Still for perhaps 20$ this was not a bad deal at all. I only wish the train was as affordable.

I can at least say I’ve been through Pawtucket.

Once again I had arrived before check in time, plus rain was due! I needed shelter for a few hours. Ah a pub!

I tell you no sooner had I entered, it rained hard for a good half hour or more. Tremendous amount of rain.

I had to get clam chowda, even though I am not a huge clam fan, the dish would warm you up. A regional favorite.

The guy behind the bar said there was a chowda for every state, even some cities used tomatoes or some other shellfish, whatever was around.

After a couple pints, a beer rep arrived and handed me a bottle opener, as well as another beer.

We talked a while, he kept buying, He seemed like a nice enough bloke. Very suburban though, like a lot of the mid cities guys I knew back in DFW.

I didn’t have much else going on plus it was still raining, no sightseeing today.

capitol

Still raining when he left. I felt it best to call a car to arrive precisely at my hostel.

It was located in a neighborhood, on the other side of the tracks. A multi story house affair. Felt very Amityville horror style.

providence

Seems the workers got top and ground floors, I was stashed in a room with several bunks, all I was assured would be empty tonight. So far.

There was 5 of us in total staying or living at the hostel, going out tonight. They had all ready decided to close up and go out by the time I checked in.

I hung out in the TV room where they had hooked up a gaming system to be their playlist player via youtube. I was DJ.

They mainly wanted to listen to 21 Pilots  Stressed Out.

We all piled into a Uber van and zoomed to a pub downtown. I bought 1st round, I laid that gauntlet down son!

It was a real Irish pub, with private booths and all. I chatted up a friend of one of the hostel employees. She seemed pretty amazed I had just been to Ireland.

She was about to move or stay there awhile. I don’t think she knew how long, her family still lived there so she always had a place to stay.

Man I sure wish I had some overseas relatives to visit!

I was envious of some friends that spent summers or vacations at their relatives in another country. That is a valuable experience to have.

My relatives just lived in different parts of Texas, parts you’d only like to visit for a day.

We kept drinking, the ladies located a dance club, but I rolled with it, chatting up a couple of the guys.

The ladies here oh man, they went hard. Shots, mixed drinks, shots. More shots.

I had to stop drinking beers, everyone took turns buying shots. I maintained.

Of course people became separated, drama, the usual. I tried to hang around a couple of the people I knew.

Outside was an immense open area that many congregated that had food trucks.

Somehow everyone was together suddenly and a van was called. We were so loud in the van, just hopping over each other and everything.

A fine night in Providence!

downtown

 

Onwards to New York City!

Beer        Sweet Baby Jesus!

Song  Lightning Bolt   Dracula Mountain