Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia!

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Early summer in the US has probably got to be the best weather I’ve ever travelled in (or travelled to). The sunny weather with blue skies and cold wind is like being on top of some Malaysian hill without the sweat-inducing humidity, which really is absolutely amazing. The primary reason we went to US was to visit my sister in Philadelphia where she studies medicine.

Prior to the trip, all I've heard about Philly is that it's home to that ever famous Philly Cheese Steak.

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(Meat and cheese – there’s no wonder that it’s so famous!)

However, little did I know that it was a historical haven and before Washington DC, it was once the capital of the United States.

*cue gasps*

But ladies and gentlemen, grant me the privilege to tell this story chronologically. So before that, Philadelphia welcomed us with uncharacteristically conservative rules for their cabs as we entered the city.

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Stricter than any school!

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It was early in the morning when we arrived and we had a whole day of possibilities laid out for us! Open-mouthed smile Open-mouthed smile I really do not like arriving at new places at night, only to check in and realize that it’s time to sleep. A day wasted, just like that! D: D: HOW DO YOU PEOPLE LIVE WITH YOURSELVES?!

We got around the city by foot and with the fantastic weather, hardly broke a sweat!

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Apparently has fantastic wings, which we unfortunately never got to try. Sad smile

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Blue skies!

The first order of the day was of course, breakfast!

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Dr. Seuss, anyone?

Like any other visitor from a non-tipping country, we dedicated quite a number of minutes on deciding how much to tip! The whole tipping culture makes me so suspicious of any helpfulness on someone’s part. It’s really terrible. In Malaysia, if the waiter’s particularly polite or helpful, we always feel pleased because well, good service is great! But in the States, when the waiter would come by often to check on our food and refill our glasses, all I kept thinking was, “Oh, no! Are we supposed to tip him more now?”

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With my baby brother!

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Steak & potatoes!

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Poached eggs on pork pieces, with a side of rosemary potatoes. I’m sure there was a much cuter name for this dish but I can’t remember it. It was fantastic, nonetheless! Eggs and pork. Who would’ve thought?

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Poached eggs on chicken… on a waffle! What a combination!

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Red velvet pancakes!

That ice-cream looking dollop on top is a huge helping of cream. Each pancake is peppered with chocolate chips and held together by cream cheese in between each layer. To be greeted by this level of decadence on our first day pretty much set the bar for the rest of our meals. Smile with tongue out 

After breakfast/brunch, we headed to Atlantic City via bus for some shopping! With four out of eight of our luggage missing somewhere in Las Vegas, we needed clothes! Thankfully, I could wear my sister’s clothes but my dad wasn’t so lucky, heh.

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Khoo sisters reunited!

Our ticket came with some free credits for the casino. The last time my sister was there, she managed to win back the cost of her bus ticket and we were hoping to do the same.

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Alas, we didn’t! But it was a good experience regardless. There were a lot of old people there just sitting at the slot machines pressing buttons repeatedly. I can see how some people get addicted especially when pressing a button can easily bring you $250 winnings with a $1 fee. But in winning that $250, who knows what other opportunity costs were incurred? D:

Well, the rest of the day was just spent.. shopping. Home to factory outlets galore, Atlantic City held branded goods which had their prices slashed up to 70%! Whilst we didn’t go crazy, we did buy a fair number of things, hehehehehehe.

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A word of advice though – go early! We really did not have enough time to go to the stores we wanted to and although we just took one hotdog break, it really ate into our shopping time! (lololol)

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Very indecisive sisters. Open-mouthed smile

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Hot dog break!

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By the time we got back to Philly, it was late and most of the stores we wanted to go to were closed. With not much of a choice, Wendy’s it was!

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Excitedly holding a ‘medium’ sized drink! What would large be like? Surprised smile

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Classic and delicious. Smile 

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Arranged in order of birth – last to first! It’s no wonder I’m like this – middle child syndrome! Open-mouthed smile

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The very fancy looking shadow-light thingy outside TJU.

A very strange night later in which the whole family squeezed into my sister’s room, we woke up to the epitome of a perfect summer’s day.

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We pretty much spent the morning people-watching, scooping spoonfuls of fantastic $3 icecream in our mouths.

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There were doctors walking around everywhere in scrubs, having meals under the sun.

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Childish to say, but don’t they look like they’re in pajamas? Smile with tongue out

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SUNNNNNNNN!!! Sun

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Posing with an American tree.. because they’re obviously vastly different from Malaysian ones and warrant a picture. Smile with tongue out 

To those who (like my brother) watch a lot of food videos by Americans on YouTube, Five Guys shouldn’t be a foreign name to you! To give an idea of the kind of hype it brings, they’ve recently opened a branch in London and reports say that the line curls around the block!

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Free flow of.. peanuts?

It’s a very simple kind of restaurant, mostly white with red accents. It’s spacious and comfortable with newspaper clippings posted all about.

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The right way to kiss up to a customer!

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If you come to Five Guys with a healthy meal in mind, forget it! Their bacon cheeseburger has a whopping 920 calories, and I doubt that includes the toppings.

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Verdict? It was an excellent basic burger!

The burger craze in Malaysia brings with it a lot of wacky flavours and special add-ons from portobello mushrooms to peanut butter and jam in a burger, but Five Guys just serve straight up gimmick-free burgers, and they do it well.

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Fries cooked in peanut oil! Meh for me but Dom thought they were great!

After lunch, it was finally time for some tourist things! I love museums and historical places and although that may make me a boring person, I am a cultured boring person! Open-mouthed smile *convinces self*

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One of Philadelphia’s many murals.

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Chloe and her boyfriend with Thomas Jefferson’s plaque!

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With George Washington!

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Right outside the Liberty Bell Centre! For those interested in the famous Liberty Bell with the crack down its side, here’s the link for more info!

Though Pennsylvania initially worked to sustain slavery in the U.S., by the late 18th century, the state mobilized to abolish it, a transition that resulted in a huge impact for the other states. The area outside Independence Hall is very much an outdoor museum with signs and visual/audio guides on the history of slavery in the state.

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A glimpse of the past with horse-drawn carriages.

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One of the televisions displaying a short sketch of life as a slave back then.

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The Independence Visitor Centre!

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Watched a short movie on America’s Independence but a hungry brother and prior appointments cut our trip short. Sad smile Ahh, so much to do, so little time!

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To stay true to our Chinese roots, we had to head over to Chinatown as well!

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With the entrance that looks the same everywhere! Ahh, familiarity. :’)

 

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Asian murals!

This post has gotten long enough, but a visit to America’s Chinatown (and a post about it) really isn’t complete without fortune cookies.

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Den den den!!!

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TADAHH!!!

But not to worry, fortune cookie! I hardly get enough compliments so that shouldn’t be a problem. Smile with tongue out Maybe if you guys flattered me a little more I’d be able to heed the advice more seriously.. and we all know how important it is to listen to fortune cookies. Winking smile 

I’ll be updating on the rest of my US trip as well as my visit to Penang and Johor! Will be heading over to Taiping this weekend so you can expect a post on that as well! Stay posted, and stay healthy! Open-mouthed smile

2 comments:

  1. tIffany,you Must have been havIng tonS of fun! the american food look So good omg. i feel so hungrY nOw by jUst looking at your pics. yum.

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    Replies
    1. LOL you do know I think I know who you are right. :P And you would definitely not be saying good things about the food. More likely to scold for the calories.

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