Sphinx at Penn Museum

Out of Town Guests

posted in: Personal Essay, Photography | 0

We’ve been fortunate over the past month or so to have had a few people visiting from out of town. One of Holly’s friends and one mutual friend were in Philadelphia for conferences. A friend of ours from my Vegas days was here for a book tour. And, most recently, Holly’s dad was here to visit for a weekend.

When Holly’s friend, Amy, was here in mid-March, we met her for dinner at SouthGate, our current favorite go-to spot. Because Amy was here for a music education conference, she was able to get inexpensive tickets for that night’s performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center. We saw Janine Jansen perform Michel van der Aa’s Violin Concerto which he had written specifically for her. After the intermission, we saw them perform Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2.

That night, I took two of my last photos with my Samsung Galaxy S5. The S9+ that I had ordered arrived later that week.

Kimmel Center
Kimmel Center
Kimmel Center Dome
Kimmel Center Dome

We actually hadn’t been to the Kimmel Center in a while, and Amy getting tickets was a nice coincidence since I had recently purchased tickets for the orchestra another night in March. I decided I wanted to spend some of my tax refund on experiences and wanted to go see something at the Kimmel Center. So, as it turned out, we went to the Kimmel Center twice in March after a long absence. The second time, we saw Lindberg’s Akbank Bunka which I was unfamiliar with but rather enjoyed. However, the real reason I had chosen that night to see the orchestra was that they were performing two of my favorite works, Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919) and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

Every time we go to the Kimmel Center, I feel so fortunate that we live only a few blocks away from the venue for a world class orchestra.

By the time we went to the second show, I had my Samsung S9+ and took a similar photo from our seats. I think the improvement in the camera is quite noticeable.

Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra

The following week, our friend Bobbi was here for a conference. She had a Sunday afternoon off before her conference obligations started so we spent the day showing off our neighborhood starting with brunch at Rex1516, followed by afternoon wine at Jet Wine Bar, and then dinner at Los Camaradas. The winter and early spring had more than it’s fair share of rotten weather, but we were lucky that it was nice that day and we really enjoyed hanging out and wandering our neighborhood.

A few days later, my friend Lynn, who I knew from my Vegas days, was in town promoting her new book, Vibrator Nation. We went to her book talk which was held at Penn Book Center. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty horrible so the turnout was small and Lynn had difficulty getting to Boston the next day for the next stage of her tour. After her talk, we went to CoZara for dinner and drinks in order to catch up. I hadn’t seen her since I left Vegas in 2011 so I was glad to have the opportunity to get together despite the weather.

Then, in mid-April, Holly’s dad was here for a weekend visit. We had one nice weather day and one cold and rainy day.

Saturday, we took him to Northern Liberties (where he had not been before) to go to Standard Tap for brunch followed by a brief tour of the neighborhood. We then went to the new Yards Brewery. They recently moved from a much smaller venue to an impressively large spot. We sampled some beer before heading back into Center City to go to the National Museum of American Jewish History. Holly and I had been there once before, but it was new to her dad. In addition to their standing collection, they had a fascinating exhibit about Leonard Bernstein.

In hindsight, we should have made dinner reservations that night. It was the first pleasant day in a long while, and everyone was out and about. We were thwarted by a long wait at the place we had in mind. We looked into last minute reservations at some other places but everywhere was booked. Since we had a big, delicious brunch at Standard Tap, none of us were all that hungry, so we ended up at Jet Wine Bar for wine and snacks.

I used my new-ish Samsung S9+ for the food and drink photos, but I also had my Canon Rebel EOS T3 with me that I used for the museum and walking around photos.

Sunday started out just a little gray. Holly’s dad enjoys seafood so we met him for lunch at Devon Seafood Grill. We then wandered to University City (another area he had never been before) to go to the Penn Museum. I had been there once ages ago, but it was new to Holly and her dad. The entire museum was interesting, especially the Egypt Gallery which includes a Sphinx. The standout experience, however, was their special Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq exhibit which highlights the destruction of cultural artifacts due to the turmoil in those areas.

For Sunday, I brought my Canon Rebel EOS 2000 film camera with me. I took quite a few pictures with it at the Penn Museum and used my Samsung S9 Plus for brunch and dinner. I am quite pleased with the camera on the Samsung S9 Plus, which is good news since the camera was one of the main reasons I got it.

By the time we left the museum, the weather had turned windy and rainy. We went to Tria Taproom to warm up with some beers before heading to Audrey Claire for an, as always, delicious dinner.

We don’t often get out of town guests so it was a real treat being able to see so many people in such a short amount of time.

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