Christopher tm Herdt (cherdt) wrote,
Christopher tm Herdt

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The World's Only Statue of Charles Dickens and Little Nell

This morning I finally rode my bike somewhere and went to a flea market in Clark Park, in West Philly/University City. I've only been to that part of town twice before, but I liked what I saw and wanted to check it out.

I locked my bike up outside the Green Line Cafe and went inside and got a cup of organic, fair-trade coffee, because that's the only kind of coffee they have. One of the people ahead of me in line brought his own ceramic mug to have filled. The fellow in front of me was a young black man with an athletic jersey and a pristine white cap, turned ever-so-slightly to the right. I heard a voice call from the entrance: "Honey, I'd also like a bagel with cream cheese." The guy in front of me turned to the white woman with the stroller who had just spoken and said, "Yes, dear."

As I walked around the flea market people smiled and said good morning. There was a farmer's market there too, and a local farm had a bazillion peaches on on a table. I talked for a while to a guy who was selling books about cycling and bicycle parts. I told him I was new to the area but liked his neighborhood, and he admitted he was actually from Germantown. There were old books, LPs, junk, African wood carvings, homemade soaps, and all sort of other things for sale—all priced just a little too high, in my opinion.

Some of the women there were wearing niqabs and abayas, which I must admit I find a little strange—especially when the voices that emanated from within them were friendly and invited me to look over their flea-market offerings—but I just pretended they were ninjas and then they seemed quite fun.

I walked around the entire park and saw people walking their dogs and pushing strollers, and everyone was very friendly. I saw what is supposedly the world's only statue of Charles Dickens and a stone from the battlefield of Gettysburg, to commemorate the hospital that had once stood on those grounds that had treated many of the wounded. I saw an enormous London Planetree that was probably there before this country was founded.

I also saw a baby bunny. Cute!

I walked by a garden that stood on what had once been an apartment building. Created by the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, the garden, according to the signs, made use of native plants that were drought-resistant and helped absorb storm water to help alleviate the burden on the storm sewers. Many of the plants had labels that gave the common name of the plants and mentioned any historical medicinal or folk uses.

I picked up my bike and rode around the neighborhood for a while, alongside street trolleys, past Ethiopian restaurants and bars, a West African restaurant, and a huge Roman Catholic church with Byzantine domes. A girl on a bike said hello as she rode past. I looked around to see who she'd said hello to, but I was the only person in sight. What a friendly place!

I found a diverse, community-oriented, liberal neighborhood with interesting architecture and a nice park, near where I work. I told well_lahdidah that if our rent goes up again next year, I might make her move there.

After well_lahdidah got out of work and we were walking back to Center City via Penn's campus, we saw a fawn! For a second we thought it was a dog, but it was indeed a fawn, galloping across Woodland Walk/Levy Park/College Green (or whatever they call it, the indecisive Ivy League bastards). Where did it come from? Where did it think it was going? How bizarre!

Later, we saw a 20-something, whose arms and legs were obviously functional and not painted on, riding a Razor Pocket Mod Miniature Electric Scooter down the sidewalk on Broad Street. well_lahdidah said that such a sight was even more bizarre than the fawn on campus, but it didn't shock me—personally, I think that human stupidity knows no bounds.

We bought 4 bottles of wine and a fifth of rum, but I decided instead to open a bottle of dandelion wine I made some years back, and it looks like I'm not going to get any help drinking it, which might explain my rambling.
Tags: charles dickens, clark park, philadelphia

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