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{Tuesday, May 30, 2006}

Back Home from Philadelphia

What a fantastic trip it was. I flew into Philly on Thursday night, got my rental car and drove into the heart of Philly to meet up with a fraternity brother who thankfully agreed to put me up on his couch for the night. He lives in a really neighborhood just north of 10th and South Street. Here's a shot I took with my cell phone as left at 6 am the following morning:

I left that early so that I could find my out to Mercer Lake in New Jersey about an hour's drive northeast from city center Philly. I was there to cheer on, support, help and do what ever I could for Lewis & Clark College's varsity women's 8+ at the NCAA national championships. They raced a heat Friday morning, a grand final qualifying race on Friday afternoon and raced in the petite final (places 7-12) on Saturday morning. After a disappointing but very close race Friday afternoon (six bow balls across at 500 meters to go; see Row2k for a great photo), they performed wonderfully on Saturday to finish 7th in the country in Division-III rowing. Here's a shot from the petite final:

Not bad for a tiny D-3 school of less than 2,000 students. Some the schools in D-3 are three times the size of LC's enrollment. I'm so damn proud of them!!! Here they are as I will remember them:

The rest of my stay over the weekend was centered around attending the NCAA men's lacrosse final four with my good friend from Oneida, NY, Dan. Dan was instrumental in introducing me to the sport of lacrosse back when I was at Cornell. He was a grad student at the time and took me under his wing. It was great to see him and his whole group of friends from the Syracuse area. Here's a shot of Dan, Fritz and Karl, in order from left to right, at the Monday tailgate:

Syracuse did not play well on Saturday against a dominant Virginia team (17-10), but they at least finished the game closer than UMass did on Monday (15-7). On Friday, I had dinner with Dan and his family at a wonderful brewpub, Nodding Head Brew Pub. I was really impressed with their beers and told them that, making sure that they understood the compliment was coming from a Portland native beer snob. I got some great shots of downtown on our way back to the hotel:

On Sunday night, Dan and his family attended the Pearl Jam concert leaving me to fend for myself. So I decided on a Philadelphia city walkabout. It was hot and sticky and I began my journey around 5:30 pm. Along the way I saw this couple getting their wedding pictures taken at an old historic building:

Right after that, I by chance ran into members of the Oregon State men's crew in town training for the upcoming IRA regatta this next weekend. Then I tromped a few miles up to the North Liberty neighborhood (and beyond by accident). I felt like I really got to see Philadelphia on this walk. Here are two pictures of contrast. The first is what looks to be a vacant lot that had been converted into a wonderful park that was full of folks enjoying the holiday weekend. The second is right across the street from that park; this vacant lot was a common sight.

I found a great neighborhood pub on 3rd street named The Abbey. They fed me some nice cold water and some good local ale. The locals hanging out gave me some good advice on another couple of places to hit. I tromped on again, but missed the cross street and headed way farther north than I was supposed to. It was just starting to fade into twilight and I have to say I was not comfortable where I was. I figured it out with the help of some friendly bicyclists and eventually found a wonderful bar/restaurant, Azure. I highly, highly recommend this place to any of venturing to Philly. It's on 2nd, a half block north of Poplar. I had a wondefrul filet mignon with a great side of crisp bacon wrapped asparagus. The bartender took care of me, I got meet lots of characters, hear some wonderful live local music (open mic night) and eventually took a cab back to the hotel. Why did take a cab? Mostly because I blew out my Tevas, which were old any way. Here's a shot of the aftermath:

I flew home last night, getting into PDX at just after 2 am and into bed close to 3 am. I'm beat today but I still have to go to a meeting for this upcoming weekend's Corvallis-to-Portland regatta that A and I are helping with.

Another shout to my buddy Andy B in Indonesia fighting the good fight working for Mercy Corps helping with recovery from the big 2004 Tsunami. Did you get sent over to Java to help with the earthquake??

See ya.

posted by The Brooklynite 5:08 PM

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