Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Never Sunny in Philadelphia

On yet another ridiculously quick business trip, I went to Philadelphia. It was going to be a pretty standard trip: fly out Day 1, work Day 2, fly home Day 3. And it was going to be better than most because it would actually be during the week. I'd get to keep my weekend for a change!

This is until it was decided that we had to work on the robot during the night as to not hinder it's use during the day when it was needed most. Fun...

So last Monday, we flew out to Philly. Everything went smoothly except for a half hour delay on the last leg of our flights. We quickly began to do the math at hand realized that with the delay, we'd only have about an hour to get dinner before heading to the customer site. Add in the extra half hour it took to get the rental car and we were quickly losing time.

The biggest difficulty though? I had the wrong address for the hotel. There was a hotel only five minutes from the customer site, so I naively assumed it was the one that was booked. Only after arriving and finding out that there were no reservations under our names did we realize our work had booked them at the hotel with the same name twenty minutes away. By the time we got to the correct hotel (plus a couple of additional times that I got us lost), we had just enough time to drop off our luggage and change before heading to the customer site.

It was pretty easy work at the site. It went as smoothly as you could hope and with the time difference between coasts, it didn't feel as late as it was. Although I can't mention the specific site I went to, while I was there, I did see a minor celebrity. And I use the term "celebrity" loosely (if at all) because she was on "Dancing with the Stars". (If you really wanted to figure out the customer site, it wouldn't be hard given who she is and when I was working.)
Although everything went smoothly, it was still after 3:30AM by the time we finished. Even though I had a candy bar about midway through, I had no energy and think I slept the best I've ever slept in a hotel bed.

The best thing about working through the night is that it gave us most of Tuesday to explore Philly! After finding a place that served all-day breakfast (I was in desperate need of some french toast), we set off for downtown Philly.
Our hop on/hop off tour bus
The steps from "Rocky"
You can see New Jersey across the river
Just chilling with the Liberty Bell, in my new, cool jacket
Because we got a late start, we missed the last tour of Independence Hall, but we did make it just in time for the last tour of Congress Hall, the building that housed the first House of Representatives and the Senate.

The clock tower of Congress Hall
Sites were starting to close and it was beginning to sprinkle, we headed to the Reading Terminal Market to kill some time and fill our bellies a bit before heading to dinner. I really wish we had a whole day to spend there and just eat and eat and eat the day away.

Here's the reason this one was a poor decision: it was a mile from where we wanted to eat dinner. Not a big deal on a normal day, but this was not a normal day. About half mile into our walk through downtown, this happened.

I have never before seen rain like this. And there was nowhere to hide. We shielded ourselves as best as possible until the rain let up and then tried to run to the next awning. By the time we got to the restaurant, I looked like this.

We ate at the City Tavern, which has all kinds of history, but pretty blah food. It definitely did not agree with me.

But other than getting lost a bunch, working through the night, and getting soaked to the bone, fun trip!

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