It's a Jersey Thing....and a Philly thing..


So, When Last we met, I had tackled the Gangland Turf of Detroit and Chicago, and was Headed for the Peace and quiet of my new home state of New Jersey - home of...Big Pickles, Snooki, Teased Hair and Hogies ( Definitely a southern Jersey thing) - not in any particular order of course!!


How do you like your Pickle? Pickle spotting was a constant source of entertainment for me during my time in America...

Well the first week started off well - nothing out of the ordinary to report - a few misdemeanours I'm sure while driving, but nothing I got pulled over for - I'm yet to have the full driving experience where I am pulled over and forced to produce my Aussie drivers licence...hmm I should really get to the DMV and get my NJ drivers licence soon -I believe my 6 months grace period has long since expired - but who has the time! After a slogging good effort, I pulled into Philly for the weekend to spend a couple of days with friends and chill out. Mind you - I pulled in, but had to get my friend to find a park - which he proceeded to do within 5 minutes of getting into the driver’s seat, and something that I had been roaming the streets like a crack dealer for over an hour to no avail..- Have I mentioned that I have a hatred for finding car parks? Perhaps that needs to be its own special blog for another day - I believe it is Jersey thing not to worry about "tapping" the car in front and behind you when doing a reverse park - it’s almost mandatory even - just a quick tap each way and OLA - you are snugly parked where no one else would have ever thought a car could have fit - never mind getting out - just tap your way out - It’s a Jersey thing...


My Philly Friends - Perhaps they should have warned me about the turf I was stepping into - a little bit of neighbourhood background for a weary traveller - but coming home from Dinner on Friday night, we saw flashing cop lights and like most responsible people, did nothing about it and continued on our way. Next day on the news - - someone was shot at the end of the street - those flashing lights - No BS - it actually happened - not sure if it was a fatality or just a knee capping? Does it matter? Welcome to Philly - home of Cheese steaks, Mob Hits, and Restaurants to die for - the Italian Mob markets just south of Philly are old school and yet draw the new school yuppies, bargain hunters, local foodies and peeps with food stamps to buy their pork - yes that's right - the house of pork has some great cuts of pig - you can even buy a whole, boneless suckling pig with your food stamps - now that is looking after your People right there! God Bless America....

Pork aside - just for a moment anyway, it was a weekend filled with great things - good friends, great food, gang shootings, a visit to the emergency vet, a trip to the pet store to buy goldfish for an outdoor pond...did I mention we are still on the cusp of winter here people?? But when they sell these cheery looking swimmers for under $3 for 20, then it really seems like an experiment you should do - just to find out how many can live in frigid, arctic like waters - when they are deemed to be tropical dwellers for all intents and purposes. The answer - about half - so far - and that is quite impressive, I actually thought it was not worth naming ANY of them, as by morning, they would all be belly up like the shooting victim the night before, but golly gosh - these "feeders" have some fight in them - most still swimming, and only a couple doing the sideways shuffle...RIP you poor frozen bastards!!



Driving into Philly is quite scenic - and if you have the time, well worth the effort of navigating the opposite side of the road!

It's been a week since I have been home, so it’s time to get going, and say good bye to Philly, and Hello Home - currently Hoboken NJ - home of Carlos Bakery, birthplace of Frank Sinatra, and alleged birthplace of baseball. Don't get too cosy home - I leave again tomorrow - so a quick laundry run, download some more trashy shows onto the iPad - current fav is the TV series SHAMELESS - very trashy but hilarious! Monday arrives, and I'm a heading south people - not quite to the Jersey shore - but South of here - through places like Bucks county - where I get lost as the GPS system does not recognize the zip code for this address as it is such a small place - so I spend my mornings roaming the streets until I finally find what I am looking for - Why does this kind of thing always happen to me? Because it can, and so I can entertain you all that's why lol. Wilmington is next on my list - and again, I am lost - because the address I am given is a shopping centre address - no mention that there is a "hidden" staircase a top of a stationery store with a flight or 2 of stairs that will actually deliver me to the place I am headed......these people must think I am a crazy- always getting lost - but seriously - some of the places I am going to are very random, and obscure locations and some of them are downright ghetto ganster-ific - and that brings me to my next stop - Richmond, Virginia!



Being a Patricia Cornwall fan, I thought it was a little exciting to be driving past Quantico - another Jo Adventure to be had...



So - FBI headquarters, and home of the "Body Farm" that she discusses in many of her Dr Scarpetta Novels - while that does explain the slight stench I drove past on Highway 95, it does not explain the ghetto grotty Doubletree hotel that I stayed in - nor the smell of fear on my face, when I cross the street in search of cola before settling in to do some work. After 3 blocks of walking, I had been approached by 3 drunks asking for smokes (Thought I was back home in Darwin), money or god knows what else - by the 3rd time, I had already decided to get the coke and possible jog back to my room, It was not a surprise to see a fried chicken shop just at the end of the street - I have figured it out now - if the neighbourhood is a little dodgy, then I will generally know that by 1 of 2 things - 1 - there will be drunks n thugs lurking on corners, or 2 - there will be a Popeye's Chicken store within a 3 block radius of every corner...just saying - This is NOT a Jersey thing - It’s a Grotto Thing, and so far, this theory has proven to be correct every town I have applied it. If you recall my last Grotto fabulous destination of New Haven - Popeye's chicken right across the road, and thugs 2 blocks down with Walkie talkies...mmm hmmm - you know it - its gangster for real - just sayin.... Check your car treads people...


The next day, when I get to the office, I am told that the area I stayed in, is on the border of the projects - translation for those not in the know - its crack Ville pure and simple.... Time to sack my travel agent me thinks... Now just a lazy 7-hour drive in the afternoon and I am home again! Phew - what a ride - during those 7 hours I proceeded to get given questionable currency by a dodgy guy at the Quick-e-mart - $2 US Bills - which I hadn't seen before, but feared getting shot if I questioned it, so took my change and left without question... I managed to get off the wrong exit when driving through Washington DC - almost made it to Capitol Hill - I could see it very clearly - perhaps that may have been why I took the wrong exit - too busy checking out the scenery....


Yep - I still have these and hope to one day retire when they are worth double the value!

This week I'm home - Hooray!! and in a week’s time, I'm off to Miami, Los Angeles, and Vegas - 2 weeks all up and I'm sure more than 1 blogs worth of content for you all...

Today is St Pats day - I may have to go and get a pint now - it’s been quite the week!

Stay Thirsty


Written in 2012


Road Trippin is thirsty work

About Me

A contestant on Season 10 of MasterChef Australia, who also travels the world in search of the best food and restaurants. From fine dining in NYC, to Truffle hunts in Tuscany – I have been in the travel industry for over 20 years, so now the food is taking over and the fusion is going to be amazing! 

 

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