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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snowy Philadelphia Wanderings

Last Sunday I ventured into Philadelphia. As I posted about Red Hook Tea & Coffee, I started my morning off there. As I walked back to 5th Street el station, I just loved the scenery around me - I love Old City because the sights with the historical buildings are just gorgeous. I didn't take pictures on this walk because I wanted to get to the Academy of Natural Sciences by 10:30 AM - it was already 9:45 AM and I didn't want to miss the next train. I caught the train at the nick of time, arrived in Center City by 10:05 and as I walked to the Academy, I took pictures of the Parkway of Flags.

This is one of my favorite things about the Ben Franklin Parkway, they have foreign flags hanging up and it goes all the way to the Art Museum. I always try to get pictures and Sunday wasn't any different. I had someone take a picture of me in front of the United Arab Emirates flag with my Polaroid camera.

I need to figure out how to use the scanner of our new printer so I can scan it in (I took a picture of the Polaroid with my phone). The caption I wrote translates into "Alley of the Flags."

I made it to the Academy of Natural Sciences by 10:25 AM and before I checked in, I went to the front desk to pick up my membership since my renewal wasn't mailed in December (I renewed in November). I checked in and started looking at all of the displays for Animal Mythology weekend. I began my journey by checking out the Narwhal table.

For those of you unaware of what a Narwhal is, here is a song that a Sprint commercial used last year and that's how the Narwhal phenomenon began:

Narwhals aren't mythical, however, they do exist and they live off of Greenland. I think they're pretty cool because it is a whale with a horn. If you Google search Narwhal, you'll get this definition: a small Arctic whale, the male of which has a long forward-pointing spirally twisted tusk developed from one of its teeth.

If you're interested, here is a National Geographic article: About: Narwhal. If this creature exists, then why was it part of the show? Well, like any other animal, the Narwhal was mythologized. Wild stories were made about Narwhals to explain how they came to be. Just like at the table next to the Narwhal: the octopuses (octopi?) and squids were mythologized into creatures called Krakens. When sailors were drunk, they often saw things in a trippy way. These sights would then turn into far out tales and myths.

Before I went to the live animal show, I saw the display of dinosaur art. I thought it was beautiful and amazing that someone spent the entire day drawing this piece of art.

The wander of a child discovering sea monkeys for the first time.

Cool little sea monkeys! Now I want to get a kit!

I thought this shot was cool.

Roger Rabbit. His sister, Jessica, wasn't out today. :( Usually I see Jessica.

I had the opportunity to pet Roger. So soft. :3


I ended my day at the Academy of Natural Sciences with the butterfly exhibit. I noticed when I walked out of the steamy, tropical exhibit, that it was snowing outside. It looked beautiful and I couldn't wait to go outside. However, before I left, I went to the gift shop and bought a butterfly scarf.

When I finally left the Academy, I had to take pictures of the snow. I took more pictures of the flags and Love Park.

A few weeks ago when we went to the Art Museum, I noticed these little robots on the street. They are around the Academy, the Franklin Institute, and I was heading to FYE when I shot this quickly.

When I made it back to 15th Street, I decided to stop off at FYE to buy David Bowie's and Blaze Ya Dead Homie's new albums. FYE had Bowie's new album, but they didn't have Blaze's. I looked high and low, but couldn't find it. I bought Bowie's new album (I'm going to listen to it today - I haven't had the chance this week) and as I was checking out, I mentioned I had to renew my membership. I inquired about if I could do that online, the clerk thought I could and then I mentioned, "I think I saw something when I preordered Straight Outta Compton." She asked if the free hat was included. I told her I wasn't sure as it had been shipped yesterday and I wouldn't know until it came. She handed me a hat anyway and said, "Well, if you do get one, you'll have two! This hat is perfect for the weather now." (I'm glad she gave me one, the DVD came yesterday without the hat) I thanked her and headed back to South Street to go to Cedar's.

Sax player outside of City Hall.

As I wait for the bus.

Cedar's was amazing as always. I ordered the lentil soup and it was just heavenly. I love lentils and I want to try making soup some time. I cook lentils the way Nan used to cook them - boil them with potatoes and garlic, then eat them with the potatoes. 

I also ordered baked salmon (سمك حارة) - I figured since I made fried fish (سمك مقلى) last week, I wanted to try their baked fish. It came with potatoes and it was just amazing. It melted in my mouth, as did the sauce. I enjoyed it.

I know I posted this poem with Thankful Thursday, but I want to post it again along with the pictures I took. I am proud of this poem and it describes the mood well that day (Louis also gave me a good title for the sonnet: "Star Crawl"). The owner's family was there for dinner, and there were a few others there as well, and the mood was lively and festive. While I couldn't understand all of the Arabic the family was speaking (the other guests there were speaking English, I tuned them out), I liked listening to it. I like listening to foreign languages.

Star Crawl

Beyond the Gothic arches lie cities covered in snow,
I sit against the vibrant pillow watching snowflakes;
they dance from the gray sky much like the candles' glow--
I'm toasty with my meal, and for his sake
I dawdle, I just love watching from the arches.
While it's cold outside, I'm sipping my Arabic coffee,
and listening to the Arabic around me, my heart marches
to the winter beat outside, warmed by date toffee.
Yet, as he disappears outside of the arches, into white,
I'm still stuck in my Arabic textbook with lattice on the walls
and red, blue, orange, pillows; happiness from the bright
on a dreary day outside, yet both worlds call--
warm deserts and winter wonderlands that sprawl,
endless landscapes and night skies with star crawls.

Arabic coffee is great.

Reminds me of my Arabic text book:

This was my first Arabic text book from 2010-2011. 
And why yes, that is black dye at the top. For Halloween 2010 I made cupcakes and made black icing. I was staying at Nan's and wanted to bring the dye home. I had to go to school first. The dye opened and spilled on a corner of the text book. It wasn't a serious spill... but you can see it from the top corner.  I know, I know, the book also looks worn - it's from a lot of use.

How I cropped the picture for Instagram. I am going to include this one with the poem for my book.

After I left, I went to the Queens Village Convenience store on 4th and Bainbridge. It's a neat little store and I want to go back. I found the Lokum (Turkish Delight), Arabic powdered soups, rose water, and a bunch of other things. I bought the rose Lokum, the soups, and rose water.

While I took the bus down to South Street, I decided to take a cab back to Center City. It began to snow more and I wanted to catch the el back to 69th Street to take the NHSL back to King of Prussia before the weather turned worse. As I sat in the cab, I took some pictures out of the window.

And I took these selfies on the el... I wanted to show off my hat... but I sometimes like to show off my nose stud (although come July it'll be 6 years of having my nose pierced... next time I go back to South Street, I should get some new studs):

It was a really nice day out. Here is the swag from my day out:


  1. Hi, dear Jessica!

    Are you up to your elbows in snow? I hope you don't lose your electricity. I read that 3,600 households in S.E. PA are w/o power.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your tour of the Animal Mythology exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences. My eyes popped when I saw that mounted platypus. I also loved the picture of the tortoise and Roger rabbit. I noticed the butterflies. Did you also have a rare opportunity to see "the Beetles" live and in person? :) I was not familiar with the Narwhal which seems to be part whale, part unicorn! When I was a boy I was fascinated with octopi and squids. Fantasy comic books I read often depicted giants of the species with their tentacles wrapped around ships.

    I love Mrs. Shady's lentil soup and I would love to taste Arabic coffee.

    Bundle up and have a great weekend, dear friend JM!

    1. Hi Shady!

      Fortunately we have not lost power yet. The snow is still pounding us - the library texted me yesterday (while I was at my full time job) that they were closing for today - I'm glad. It's still going strong at 10:43 AM and it won't end until tomorrow morning. After I clean my room, I plan on working on my book today... hopefully we don't lose power. I'm 4'10 and right now the snow is a little above my knees. I say we have a good 20 inches out there!

      Thank you! We actually used to own those Madagascar beetles. Not the Academy collection, no, but when I was 11 my mom adopted beetles to raise. My aunt said they were all males, but when they started having babies, we gave them back to my aunt. They're interesting creatures to say the least. I'm happy I renewed my membership to the Academy; it's a great place. :)

      Arabic coffee is VERY strong! It's like Turkish coffee. I like it, though. :) I had the maamoul for dessert - a date treat, and that is to die for as well. I might have to find a recipe to make those.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Shady!