A Bit of Past and a Bit of Present.

Trip Start Nov 17, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Friday, December 30, 2011

We woke up in Philadelphia, and left our bags in our hotel. We decided to walk to Independence Hall, since it wasn't that far.  We had  afew hours before we had to leave for New York.

I was excited to see Independence Hall again....we went through the bag check bit and were made to take off a million layers, only to find out that we were supposed to get tickets from the visitors centre.  You have to have a guided tour at a certain time.  So we wondered back across the street and found the desk where we bought our tickets.  We had half an hour until our tour....10:30am.  Just enought time to see the Liberty Bell again! There was no need to read all the info this time, we just headed straight for the bell and took some pictures.  It was the perfect way to pass some time, and after 15 minutes or so, we headed sheepishly back through the security gates for Independence Hall.

"Back again?" the lady said with a smile.

“We forgot to buy tickets,” we told her, and she laughed.

We queued for about 20 minutes, listeneing to a family with 3 kids behind us.  The mohter was telling her son that the Liberty Bell used to be in one of the big bell towers up above us, before it was put on display across the street.  The Liberty Bell rang as the Declaration of Independence was signed, inside the very room we were just about to see.  I was excited.

First we were taken into the 'West Wing’, a room with lots of seats where we listened to a guy talking about history.  He talked about the Boston Tea Party, among other things, and finally took us outside and into the main building.  As you enter, there is an entrance hall with a room on each side.  We went right first and saw lots of round tables with green table cloths and feather quills resting in ink pots.  It was a courtroom.  The room on the other side is the exciting one.  This was the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed.  President Washington, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and other famous Americans sat in this very room, passed around the most famous document in history and added their signatures.   If you look at the big chair at the head of the room, you can see half a sun carved into the back, and it kept catching my attention.  The guide suddenly mentioned it, saying that this was the chair that George Washington always sat in, being Commander in Chief of the Army.  He told us about one man who had famously stated that he had sat in that room many times and stared at that sun just like I was, and he could never tell if it was rising or setting.  And then on July 4th 1776, as 16 men signed their names and the United States was born,  he realised for the first time that it was a rising sun.

We exited Independence Hall out the back way and into the graden that we had found ourselves in many times, feeling glad that we had finally got to go inside.  Katie turned to me and said “onwards to New York?”  I always get a twinge of sadness when I leave a place in the US...and half of me felt like I wasn’t quite ready to leave Philly yet....but the other half reminded the first half that the hustle and bustle of Manhattan awaited us.  The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building....it doesn’t get  much more exciting than New York City.  We made our way back to our hotel, jumped in the car, and off we went.

The drive is about 2 hours and it was 2pm.  We were driving to Newark Airport to drop off the car and then getting a shuttle into Manhattan which took about half an hour last time.  We have to find our hotel, whch is on 50th street, and find the theatre, which could be anywhere.  Fanstastiks starts at 7pm....or 8, we’re not sure.  But we’ll be there in time to get on the internet and find out stuff like that.  Or so we thought....

The drive, the dropping off of the car and the getting into a shuttle all went well.  The traffic however, was INSANE.  We were barely moving.  Time ticked on and on, and by the time we got into Manhattan it was about 5:30, and we were still moving so slowly and had no idea what order he would drop us off in.  Luckily a guy on the bus realise we were in a rush, and lket us use his iphone to look up the time the show started (7pm) and where the theatre was.  We were last to be dropped off and the time was about 6.  We checked in to be told that we had actually only booked one bed, not 2, butwe just booked another one.  It was because Agoda is usually a hotel site, so it assumed there’s two of you, but in hostels you book beds, not rooms.   They also tried to charge us again, even though I has already been charged twice, but we mentioned our frustration and hurried off to our private room vowing to take it up with them when we wern’t in such a hurry.  So off we went ti find the Theatre.

We made it there by about 6.45.  Perfect timing!  We were excited to see a poster of Aaron Carter on the door, and we also found out that ‘Fantastiks’ is the oldest musical in the world.  When we went into the theatre itself, we were astounded.  It’s the SMALLEST theatre in the world.  We were on the front row.....and there only about 6 rows!  The room was like 10 metres squared.  And we would soon be sharing it Nick Carters little brother.  We were actually nervous for him....it seemed uncomfortably intimate.  Fater far too long, the lights went down and a few people appeared from behind a curtain.  A sweet looking girl who must have been the lead came and asked me if her dress was done up at the back, and I told her it was.  And so the show began.  Out popped Aaron in all his glory, with his all too familiar excited face and wide eyes, that I had seen a million times and yet never actually seen until now.  He has this smile, this energy that I just can’t explain.  He does brilliantly in the show, singing and dancing...and the whole time he is so ridiculously close to us..being on the front row of the worlds smallest theatre.  At one point he skids down onto the floor and brushes straight past me....and sits right by my feet for about 5 minutes.  You can feel every breeze he makes when he walks by, see every blemish on his skin, and hear every breath he takes.

The girl was brilliant as well....she has the sweetest voice, operatic but dainty.  I loved the way she didn’t even look like she was trying, and yet this amazing sound came out of her tiny little chest.  

So eventually the show had to end, but there was still one little surprise left for us.  We decided to wait at the stage door as we always do, with the hope of meeting baby Carter.  We waited for ages, and a lady told us that the cast had gone, but we know better than to trust people who say that.  A couple of other girls caught on and waited with us.  The lead girl came out and left....I told her how amazing she was.  A few others came out as well, but no sign of Aaron.  We are just about to leave when we heard a comotion back in the foyer.  A crown had gathered and sure enough, baby Carter was in the middle of it.  We shuffled our way ot the front and stood right infront of him as he made flirty small talk with some girls, which is more than some celebs do....he was actually trying to hold a conversation with them!  He moved from girl to girl giving each one the same amount of attention, not rushing, but making sure eveyone had a picture, and autograph a converstation and a hug.  He came to Kate next and I took a photo of them, and then he posed with me for my picture, and as kate lined it up, he suddenly shot me that excited look that I told you about....where he opens his mouth and pulls a face at me with his eyes all lit up.  He put his arm around me and told me he loved my peircing.  I said ‘Thanks, I love your hair!’ and I ruffled his fringe.  He said ‘Thanks!’  and we posed for our picture.  Just as we were about to leave he stopped us and said ‘kisses!’ and gave us each a hug and a kiss on each cheek!  How charming!  Why can’t Nick be like him???

We were positively glowing.  I can;t even remember how we got back to our hotel.  I just know that we talked about baby Carter all the way, surrounded by New York and all of its honking horns and flashing lights. 

When we got back to our hotel, the lady behind the desk told us that they had refunded the other charge on the room.  The perfect end to the perfect day.  And tomorow is New Years Eve and the Epic Ball Drop.  Being in America is one happy memory after another.  I don’t quite know what to say to people when they ask me why I like it so much, which MANY people do.  As we got into bed it was one of those days that seemd like it started years ago.  It’s aways like that when you wake up in one city and go to bed in another.  As I lay there I remembered the excited look on Aarons face when he had turned to look at me, and I felt  a little jolt of happiness... just like the man watching the sunrise on the back of Washington’s chair.
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