history wit wiz

I've lived nearly half of my existence and all of my adult life in the Philly area - but last weekend I became a tourist of my own town. If you're like me, you usually avoid these tourist traps and chuckle at fanny-packed and camera-necklaced visitors ogling costumed Ben Franklins as they shuffle around town. It all changes when you have out-of-town friends visiting and they want to see "typical" Philly.

So, with cameras around our necks (no fanny-packs), we took our Japanese friends on a textbook tour of the illadelph. It was literally textbook because we checked off nearly every destination in their tourbook. Rocky statue and the Art Museum area, all of the historical spots around Independence hall, and a nightcap at Pat's Steaks. I haven't seen the Liberty Bell since I was a little kid - but its still amazing how one bell served as a symbol for so many movements including Women's suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. I relearned a bit of history as I visited Betsy Ross' house and the Carpenter's hall for the first time. My Japanese friend has a great admiration for the American revolution - commenting that revolting against the British served as a basis for the strong character of American people. We can add slavery and destruction of Native American lives to that foundation...but I decided to keep his view rosy.

Sometimes its easy to forget that the U.S. is still a relatively young country. What seems like ancient history to me, is modern history to our Japanese friends. As a sidebar, it was interesting to learn about the nature of high-school history classes in Japan. Many Japanese don't get in-depth lessons in modern Japanese history in schools - purely because their history is sooooo long. Lots of events, eras and emperors to cram in there.

We stood in line at Pat's for 45 minutes to get a famous cheesesteak with dripping liquid cheeze whiz. I haven't had a cheesesteak for more than a year (and my heart thanks me for that). My friends were too intimidated to order for themselves - as there are specific rules on how to order. Think of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi - but substitute soup for cheesesteak. So, I ordered "4 whiz wits" (translation: 4 cheeze whizzed cheesesteaks wit onions) handed my pre-ready money and stepped to the next window for pickup. There is a sign detailing the proper ordering process complete with lingo translation. If you mess up, you gotta go to the back of the line. And this line was 50 people deep. I told our friends that next time they can order for themselves and they grinned nervously.


Anonymous said...

Great post, great photos. I especially loooove the post title, and your observations about learning history.

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