Saturday, July 2, 2011

Phinally in Philly

Today was a very full and productive day. At 6 A.M. we hopped out of bed, packed our luggage up, and met downstairs in our hotel lobby at 6:15. It was pretty early, and we were in a hurry to get moving, so I didn’t eat at the hotel lobby, but decided to wait until later. We took a taxi that was waiting for us, and we all enjoyed the sights of Washington, D.C. one more time. Soon, we arrived at the large D.C. train station, and once again I was struck by the gorgeous architecture of the massive building. We walked under one of the three enormous U.S. flags, and quickly found our train’s departure gate. Inside, I enjoyed seeing how many people were using the train system. I think that it’s unfortunate that we don’t have a lot more public transportation in California, because riding the train here was a convenient and pleasant experience. As soon as we pulled away from the D.C. station, I enjoyed staring out the windows at the expansive forests and occasional swamps. After a while, I got tired of staring out the window so I dug through my backpack for some sort of entertainment. First, I ate the bagel and drank the orange juice that I had purchased at the train station, and then I started reading a book that I brought with me. The book I read some of on the train was “Fast Food Nation”, a muck-racking novel about the fast food industry that I was assigned to read over the summer for an AP Language class that I will be taking this coming year. I found the writing to be quite graphic, and equally persuasive at scaring me away from fast-food which I already refuse to eat. Soon enough, we arrived in Philadelphia, and we took a taxi to our nearby hotel. It was clear from the start that Philadelphia is a college town, because I saw lots of UPENN flags on the short ride to the hotel. Soon enough, we ventured out into the streets of Philadelphia, and the heart of the UPENN campus was only a few blocks from our hotel. Once we were on campus, I was excited to see several parts of the campus that I recognized, such as the multiple Ben Franklin statues that are scattered around campus.

Soon, we discovered a beautiful botany garden on campus that contained a large pond with dozens of turtles, several ducklings, huge koi fish, and a pretty waterfall. While UPENN is a very urban campus, this pond was a very nicely designed haven from the bustling city of Pennsylvania. We walked around a bit more, and then we found a nice restaurant on campus. The restaurant had a very modern design, a friendly staff, and a killer pepperoni pizza that I thoroughly enjoyed. After lunch, we had a bit of free time back at the hotel. While we have spent a large amount of the past few days on our feet, I’m used to bike riding several times a week to burn off energy at home, so I decided to check out our hotel’s fitness center. Besides the large outdoor pool that I plan to visit tomorrow, the fitness center has a spacious cardio and weight room. I spent about an hour running on a treadmill enjoying the view of the Philadelphia skyline. After that, we headed downtown to a restaurant called Butcher and Singer. The interior was beautifully lit, and we sat down at a table near the entrance. Only a minute or two later, we were joined by June Chu and Margaret Wang. Margaret is a current UPENN student from Guam who was very enthusiastic to talk with us about anything we were interested in. June, a pre-major advisor, was also very willing to tell us tons about UPENN. The most important thing that I took back from the evening was a taste of UPENN’s culture. I learned about the local restaurants, the huge number of student clubs, and that Margaret really enjoys her fellow students at the UPENN campus. With our stroll through the gorgeous Penn campus, and enthusiastic comments about Penn by Margaret, I am even more excited about learning at this beautiful Ivy League School.

Enough Said.

Inhabitants of the Botanical Park

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