Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Philadelphia Story

Sadly, my little netbook took ill no sooner than I arrived in Bogotá for the bookfair at the start of May. The fantastic Hotel Excelsior has a business center for its guests but trying to blog knowing any minute someone else will turn up to use the computer makes it harder for me to write. At any case, the bookfair was useful, several salalmistas were present and many of us were at the Excelsior.

Onto my stay in Philadelphia from May 27 through June 2 to attend SALALM LVI hosted by University of Pennsylvania and Temple University. (Another guest in the hotel elevator asked me what the LVI letters stood for and I explained it mean the 56th annual meeting of our group. He replied, "Clearly, I'm not a Roman or I would have known that.") We had some very good panels on archiving issues regarding human rights. As always, what I really look forward to is seeing the many friends I've known from the conference over the years. What's equally fun is meeting new faces joining us for the first time and I met several people in this category.

It was my first time in Philadelphia and the Center City area was the perfect setting. The hotel had good restaurants but right outside the front door were even more in every direction. I had French food, Mexican food, seafood, Middle Eastern food, and even the mandatory Philly Cheesesteak! It was also great to see the old character of this realm mixed in with new stores and buildings. There were small old alley ways that I looked down even if I only got delivery trucks unloading their goods. From my hotel room window there was a mix of old buildings mixed in with new. Some of the older buildings were even taller than the new builds right by them. I was especially intrigued by one building I could see to my far left from my room window. Very tall, possibly early 20th century (or at least through the 1930s) but not a skinny skyscraper. It was rather broad and toward the top, I could see a row of balconies with arches. Time didn't permit a walk to try to get to the building and learn more about it.

I did manage a walk on a hot Sunday afternoon to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. I didn't have a ticket for Independence Hall but it didn't take long to walk through the Liberty Bell Center, read its documentation and see the bell itself. Luckily, I found the bus stop on Walnut Street and caught the 42 bus back to the hotel. It was really hot that day and the last thing I wanted to do was show up at Executive Board a big, sweaty mess.

My next trip to Philly will have to be during a cooler time of year in order to enjoy more sights and drink in the history.