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Philadelphia, United States

So after a slightly rocky start, Philadelphia has turned out to be great!
I jumped off the train in Philly station (I loved that train ride. It’s the best bit of travelling I have ever done. I recommend that line to anyone who wants peace for a little bit.) and then was in a pickle. Should I follow instructions and take the bus to where I wanted to go, or should I simply walk? I chose the latter option, remembering that Dad’s advice has always been to walk around a city to get its feel. So I walked about 20 blocks up from the train station, looking at suburban streets, the University of Pennsylvania, and large brick buildings everywhere. It was pretty neat, but my unintended stop in Delaware had pushed back the time and I was running dangerously out of sunlight. To compound my problems, the hostel didn’t have a sign out being right next to the ghetto area of town. This being the case, I walked right past it and into the less safe area of the city. After somehow managing to extricate my very silly self from a sticky dilemma, I wound up finding my hostel just as the sun set, for which I was impossibly pleased.

Today I went downtown and saw the Liberty bell (I always imagine these things to be bigger) and Independence Hall (where I was taunted by an 8-year-old about how little I knew about any of the important things that happened there. What can you say to an 8-year-old when she’s right?) My magic New Zealand army ID is great. I got free into all the museums, including unlimited access aboard another Submarine (they’re everywhere!) and throughout all the library’s. I don’t lie to these people – I never claim to be anything other than a New Zealand army officer cadet. By somehow I fail to mention I’m not here with the American army...

I took a few more photos of important things which I’m not quite sure the meaning of, and went back to the hostel before dark. I have learnt my lesson before NYC. I’m going to be bloody safe or I’m not going at all! But I am going, tomorrow, and hopefully I can get a lift with a guy who’s going up to check on his hostel up there. I am not staying at his hostel (I checked with a friend who used to live in NY before I made any bookings, and she basically guided me to a nicer area) but it would be good to save a bit of money.

Actually the whole trip has been remarkably inexpensive (relatively). I suspect that if I was a bit more experienced, or had been to some of these places before, then it would be even cheaper, but so far I haven’t had any trouble. The hostels and the train/flights are easily the most expensive (I have been living off left-over’s that people come and give me to get rid of. I trade them for a Muesli bar. And instant noodles! Yummy.)

So tomorrow NYC. I will tell you how it goes. I am nervous – people spin so many yarns about how intimidating this place is that now I am going I am worried. Will post soon.

permalink written by  Crosswood on January 9, 2008 from Philadelphia, United States
from the travel blog: New Zealand Student, American University.
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Money is funny, theres more when you think theres less, and yet never stretches as far as you think it should. Or am i talking gibberish? That dear reader, is up to you.

permalink written by  Rebecca Harris on January 10, 2008

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Crosswood Crosswood
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I am a second year Officer Cadet in the Royal New Zealand Army, going for a trip to Berkeley (University of California) in the United States. I have a sense of humour, poor organisational skills, and collect clocks.
What more can I say?

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