north america, Travel


I hadn’t really thought about visiting Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation, until my best friend went to University of Pennsylvania. I wasn’t much of a history buff as a kid, actually. Despite the amount of traveling I did as a kid, I hated going to museums for a long time. I only really started enjoying learning about history when I took AP World History and my teacher was good.

Anyway, when I saw that my friend was having loads of fun, I wanted to join in and visit. Of course, I only really had time during spring break of our freshman year of university. I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned my hatred for the cold yet. I don’t like the cold. It was cold there and it even flurried one day, so Philly was already a tough sell.
However, we didn’t really do historical things. We walked around the campus, which is of course gorgeous and old and everything you think an Ivy League campus is like. But we also went to a spoken word show and a modern dance show on campus. I got a little taste of collegiate life in the northeast. It’s not that different from the university I went to, University of Texas. They are both large, well-funded schools with many societies, clubs and social events always going on.
This is the story of a cafe near campus!
This is going to sound a bit ridiculous, but my idea of Chinatown in the northeast was pretty skewed due to a little TV show on Nickelodeon that I loved way too much. In Unfabulous, the gang heads to Chinatown (presumably in Philadelphia) to crash a wedding and they meet all sorts of colorful characters. It looked like so much fun. Of course, my friend was puzzled when I told her I expected to find turtle racing, kind palm readers, Chinese acrobats and rickshaw drivers. Maybe there were a few rickshaw drivers at night, but we went during the day and it was still brilliant. I liked that there was an actual Chinese-looking, can’t be sure of the authenticity, structure on the street to make you feel like you’ve entered a different part of Philadelphia. My friend is a bubble tea and Asian food savant so we of course had both and it was glorious.

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asianing up the joint with @vivianhhuang

A post shared by Madhu (@madhuiwannaknow) on

 My favorite part of the hold trip, hands down, was Isaiah’s Mosaic Garden. Installation art and history of the artists’ oeuvre? I’m always down. You can tell from all the photos I took, the outside part is a structure made of something like clay and millions (maybe zillions) of broken pieces of glass and mirror. It was gorgeous and eye-catching and I could’ve walked through it for ages. I went inside and wrote a “Happy Birthday!” note to the artist and left feeling quite pleased.
My hostess has impeccable taste in places to eat. She’s an expert Yelper (though she might not admit it), so when she took me to a food place, I was all about it. We ate at Cafe Lift and liked the experience as a whole! Good brunch place for twenty-somethings.

hipster brunching #philly @vivianhhuang

A photo posted by Madhu Singh (@loveyounglion) on Mar 16, 2013 at 9:25am PDT

Again, I couldn’t have had such a nice, brunch-filled and stress-free time if it weren’t for my friend putting me up, feeding me and showing me kindness. If you have friends living in cool places offering you a place to stay, take advantage of their kindness as soon as you can! Of course, return the favor as soon as you can as well.
Young Lion


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