Monday, February 25, 2008

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

I spent this weekend in Philly again, having fun while Farnham took his GMAT instruction course. On Saturday, he dropped me at the campus bookstore again, where I took advantage of the research books to write more of my book. I also pumped out a couple of pieces of poetry, which I'm proud of. At noon, I went and got checked into the hotel on Farnham's lunch hour, then wandered the streets of Philly for a while. I found an incredible vegetarian Oriental restaurant merely yards from our hotel, and I ate there. Wow... I was so impressed! I had saitan with sesame, steamed brocolli, and whole wheat brown rice. It was incredible.

Saturday evening, we met up with Farnham's son and his girlfriend, wife, and two grandkids, and went for Mexican food at a little hole in the wall. Very delicious, and the burritos were stacked. After that, we split up, the rest of the family going home while he and I went back to our hotel room. He did his homework, and I caught up on email, and then we settled down for a good sleep.

In the morning, we enjoyed Starbucks for breakfast before he dropped me at the Reading Market. That place is sinfully wonderful. I wandered the streets of Chinatown until the Market opened (I had arrived at 8:30am, and the Market opens at 9am on Sundays), staring greedily in the windows of the Oriental stores. I managed to get a fresh baked, still steaming lotus bun for a snack, and I ate it with great relish.

Back at the market, I looked around to see if there was somewhere to purchase either a large backpack or one of those little shopping carts on two wheels. Nada. I asked, and one of the vendors suggested K-mart up the street. I decided I'd wander the Market a bit, first. After all, maybe I wouldn't need a cart!

The first place I went was the meat section. I managed to purchase 3 lbs of meatball mix (veal, beef and pork in an even mix), 3 lbs of ground turkey, a 5 lb beef roast, 3 lbs of oxtails, and 5 lbs of sausage. Hm... So I lifted the bags, and realized, "Hey, I'm now lugging around 19 lbs of stuff, and the day has only just started!" Ugh. Off to K-mart to buy a cart.

That was an adventure and a half, but worked out well, and I got my cart. I loaded my meat into it, and cheerfully wandered back toward the market, through Chinatown. I shopped. I bought a LOT of Japanese style dumplings, fish balls, shrimp balls, and other yumminess. I even found a huge bottle (about 8 oz) of Madras Curry (that's the good stuff, for those who may not know) for only $2.89!

Just as I was heading back toward the Market, I went down a little side street, and ran into... a dragon! I had forgotten it was Chinese New Year, and Philly's Chinatown puts on a great show. They had 3 regular sized dragon dancers, and then 3 more that were miniature - they had the kids just learning the dance dressed up in them, and they did such a great job! There were firecrackers all over, and Chinese mythological figures wandering by, and a few VERY good Kyoto drummers accompanying it all. It was riotous good fun, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Back at the Market, I picked up more food, and lunch for me and Farnham. He picked me up soon after that, and ate his Greek gyro while I was loading the huge cart full of groceries into the trunk of the car. Then we drove at break-neck speed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where I was dropped off so that I could see the Frida Kahlo exhibit.

The lines were long. There were about 10,000 people there. People were pushy and rude, loud and obnoxious. I never noticed any of it, once I got into the exhibit. Kahlo's pictures were up on the walls, so close you could see the brush strokes in many instances. The colors popped off the canvas. The images were intense, sometimes painful. The audio tour explained many details in the voices of people who had known and loved Kahlo.

Beyond her paintings, they had also put her snapshots on display. I do not mean pictures taken under special lighting for magazines or books. These were scores and scores of snapshots, taken with family cameras, of Frida with Diego, with her father, her sister, her family and friends, and her pets. There were pictures of her in traction, after a particularily nasty spinal surgery in America. There were shots of her in a pile of laughing, unidentified people, giggling hysterically. There were pictures of her in dresses, in her father's suit, in American style clothing... Those snapshots were such a peek into her private life. There was even one picture she had had taken of herself when she was pregnant with Diego's child (the late miscarriage of that child almost took her life, too). Incredible.

There were so many wonderful things, there. I have photos to share with those who want to see:

Philadelphia Museum of Art
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