This weekend marked the opening of the World Cup. Unfortunately, the games are played during work hours. So, I’m unable to watch most of the games unless I catch the repeat. But once I learn who won, I can’t endure sitting through 90 minutes of a 0-0 game. This weekend also marked one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. Friday was uneventful. I worked both jobs and hit the sack early. I woke up early Saturday morning so I could clean, pack and get some things ready to sell in preparation of my upcoming move to London in September. After being satisfied with the level of productivity I put in Saturday morning, I met up with a friend for brunch who was in town from NY for the weekend. I took her to Platinum Grill in the Chestnut Hill/Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.
Platinum Grill is a Black-Owned establishment and has gotten rave reviews about the food. I’ve gone there for drinks and if you live in the NE/NW section of the city it’s a nicer alternative than going downtown. I decided to indulge and had cheese grits, eggs, toast, and shrimp. It was delicious and I will be going back again. When I told people what I ate they were like “Grits. That’s different!” I grew up on grits and having lived in the south for a while, I’m used to eating grits with my breakfast and dinner and Fish and Grits is one of my favorite dishes. Come September, it will be fish and chips rather than fish and grits. After over indulging, we decide to take a walk through Chestnut Hill. This is a very beautiful part of the city no matter what time of the year. There are very few chains stores, a diverse range of people, and a quaintness that reminds me of Notting Hill in London.
Chestnut Hill was the highlight for Saturday because the rest of Saturday was spent at my part time job. Sunday, I hosted another friend from NY; Ghanaian women I used to work with. We ran an errand to, had breakfast at IHOP, and ran back to my house to watch GHANA play in the World Cup. My first game of the series was between Algeria and Slovenia (I believe) and it was quite boring. I must say, the Ghana game was not exciting the first half, but by the 2nd half the game became interesting and we were both screaming at the TV and jumping out of our seats. Ghana was the victor against Serbia. Although I’ve had many friends who played soccer and dated a few soccer players over the years, I’ve never gotten into soccer. I really don’t know the rules of the game, but it didn’t prevent me from noticing some obvious things about the game. One interesting fact that my friend and I talked about and the commentators made mention of was that most of the African countries do not have African coaches. My friend and I discussed it briefly and another friend just pointed to colonialism. I find the issues of post-colonialism to be interesting and far reaching not only with regards to politics, but literature, sports, business, etc. This interest will lead me to London in the fall where I will be studying Post Colonial Culture and Global Studies at Goldsmiths University. What I want to do with that will be explained further in another blog post!
My other observation was on the commentators and the remarks that they made about the countries. In America, the sports are very individualistic. This is shown best with the current NBA finals with so much of the focus on Kobe Bryant and his performance. The teams are often identified by the lead player’s performance but not so much on anything unique that characterizes the team as a homogenous group. The world cup, on the other hand, is all about countries and less on the individual team players. Therefore, a lot of the commentary points to the current political and social climate of the country, playing. While I did learn some interesting tidbits about certain countries, I felt the commentary towards the African nations was negatively skewed. For example, when Ghana won, the commentaries kept saying how good this was for such a poor country. While I understand that a lot of African countries are poor, I felt more emphasis could have been given on the richness of the country or how it is developing.
After watching the World Cup match, I napped and got ready for a coffee and tea mixer. I had no idea what to expect. I met a few friends at the mixer which was held at the Hyatt Regency on Penn’s Landing. The mixer was nice, I met a few people, and learned about a promising business idea; a direct marketing coffee/tea business. After the mixer we headed to Warm Daddy’s where we indulged in some Southern Cuisine and listened to some jazz. I didn’t want my Sunday to end and Monday was quickly approaching. That’s when I decided to meet up with another friend before I headed back to the boring North East.
After going to Moaz, a vegetarian chain, to get my friend some food, we decided to prolong the night with more conversation and drinks at Dirty Franks located in the gayborhood (where there is a pizza shop that says Homo Hut in the window instead of Pizza Hut). Anyway, parking was tight as usual AND it was Sunday. On Sundays a lot of parking restrictions are unofficially lifted. At this point, it was about 9/10ish. I drank, played some tunes on the Jute Box, talked shop with my friend, and thought about how much I’m going to miss certain aspects of Philadelphia when I move. While accompanying my friend on a smoke break, I looked up the street and then it dawned on me, “I drove here. Wait – the street is empty. Oh no – my car has been towed!” I have never gotten my car towed. My friend lost his composure. You would have thought he got his car towed. I understood that he felt bad and was upset, but I thought the situation was laughable. While my friend was having a temper tantrum about my car, we were kindly approached by a homeless man peddling weed. We or should I say I declined the offer and then we flagged down a PPA tow truck and I was told where my car way.
Since I no longer had to worry about drinking and driving, my one sensible drink turned into a few drinks. I played more tunes on the Jute Box, watched a few games of Jenga, got approached by weird drunk men, and entertained a man with 3 fingers and tattoos all over his arms and legs for a while. But alas, 2:00am came and I had to stay goodbye to Dirty Franks. I crashed at my friend’s house and in the morning I got up early to fetch my car.
My ride to the impound lot was hilarious. I hopped into a cab with an Asian cab driver who was surprisingly friendly and funny. My mood was definitely lightened by the time I got to the impound lot. It was empty as I was one of the first in line to claim my car. When I look up, I see a familiar face in the line, a former co worker. He didn’t have his license so I ended up driving his car off the lot while waiting for my insurance papers to get faxed over.
My experience with the PPA, prior to today, was limited to the few parking tickets I have gotten and begrudgingly paid over the years, and the new hit reality series Parking Wars. This show really highlighted the PPA for what they are – the MAFIA. Ok I know that I parked in the wrong spot, but if you have watched this show you know what I mean. Furthermore, on the way home, I rode past tons of cars illegally parked in South Philly (They park in the middle turning lane). This practice is somehow accepted, while the rest of us get towed, but at the end of the day, what I was really mad about was leaving my left overs from Warm Daddy’s in the car. I finally got my car in about an hour’s time. I ran some errands and went back to my friend’s house to have breakfast and watch more soccer! So who are you rooting for?