Here I am telling something about my recent trip to Philadelphia. I had a happy, nice and impressive Thanksgiving holiday together with Todd, Beth, Todd's parents and brothers. I took a train from South Station in Boston on the morning of Nov. 22. I got up very early that day but I think my host, Judge Redd and my hostess Shirley, got up even earlier than I did. When I went upstairs trying to find some breakfast, I found them praying there for a safe and wonderful trip for me, which made me very excited and warm in heart. How nice they are! Every time before I travel, they worry about me just like my parents, my brothers or sisters, they pray for me, give their best wishes to me and whenever I come back, they are always eager to know something about my travel, sharing the happiness I have had in my trip. Ed cooked a lot of food for my breakfast. He said that I should eat more because it would be a long trip for me. After breakfast, Ed drove me to South Station and we parted there.
Soon I got on the train to Washington DC. Everything was all right and I found myself a good seat that was by the window, which I thought, would make it easy for me to view the scenery outside. It took me six hours to get to Philadelphia 30 Station, one hour earlier that I had calculated. I thought I would have to call my friend Todd because I thought he didn't think that I could be there this early. But when I went out of the station, I heard somebody calling Fan Hongya. I looked up and it was Todd, waiting for me with a wide smile on his face. We had a very big American hug and he carried my case and went to take another train to Swarthmore, the town where he lives. It took us twenty minutes to get to our destination. We went to his car and he drove me to a restaurant to have lunch (All my American friends are afraid that I will be starved to death if they don't feed me immediately). On our way he began to introduce his town to me. I saw one of the best small universities in the States, Swarthmore University. After lunch, we drove direct to his house. It was a big house. Beth was not there at the moment. She was still at work then. We talked a lot there, recalling the happy time we spent together in China and it surprised me a lot that my friend Todd could still speak some Chinese.
At around 6:00 p.m., Beth came back and then we started our trip to Hershey, which was a two-hour drive. We talked and laughed all our way to Hershey. Todd's parents had both visited Yangzhou while Todd was there in my school teaching. They both know me well and were very happy to see me.
The next day was the traditional American Thanksgiving Day. Because we were very tired the day before, we all got up very late but because I was a bit excited maybe, I got up at six. After a late breakfast, Todd and Beth drove me to the Hershey Chocolate Factory. When we got out of the car, my goodness, the air was sweet. I was in a chocolate world then. We went to a big green with the large words "Hershey Cocoas" on it. We took several pictures and Todd said that he used to laugh at those who had pictures taken there when he was a boy but that day he himself had several pictures taken. After that we drove to Todd's school and his former house and he told me a bit history of his also.
Next was my favorite, the long-waited Thanksgiving dinner. The food smelled delicious and tasted even more delicious. Each of us took a big plate, took a little turkey, sweet potato, string beans, etc. After Mr. Parker's pray, Todd said "Chi" (a Chinese word meaning "eat"), and we began to enjoy our meal.
After the wonderful dinner, we drove to Hershey Park. It was very cold, but it seemed that none of us felt cold. We walked in the park where all trees were decorated with colorful lights, very beautiful indeed. We played games, watched reindeer, walked from shop to shop, inside which we found almost all the goods were labeled "Made in China". At one place, we saw something like snow falling from a window of a shop. We went up to get some. Some of us braver ones tasted it thinking that it must be sweet, but unfortunately it was soap foam. I could see what it tasted like from their strange expressions. Then we went to the Chocolate World. There we sat in a cart, which took us around watching the whole process of making chocolate. When we got back home, it was already 10:30 at night. The next two days was even busier. We went to Harrisburg Capitol Hall, inside which the guide took us to the Senate chamber, the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court. Magnificent!!! Gold leaf was put on the ceiling everywhere inside the Capitol Hall.
Later Friday afternoon we went to a movie "Unbreakable" which was also wonderful for me. The reason why they took me to the movie was that the movie was filmed in Philadelphia and Todd could tell specifically where some of the places really were. We drove back to Philly later that night. That night I had a very good sleep, like a log surely. Saturday was another exciting day. We first went to Philadelphia Museum of Art, where we saw a lot of world art works including Chinese Ming Dynasty Art. Then we went to Independence Hall, the City Hall, and the Liberty Bell. After that, both Todd and I felt a bit hungry. Todd wanted to find a good Chinese restaurant for us. So we got into a restaurant, ate some noodles and fried bean curd and then continued our trip. We walked about one hour and found a bar. We sat down, drank some beer, feeling very comfortable sitting there after a very tiring walk. Later we went to a World War Two US submarine. We went on board and walked through it. At the exit, we met a U.S. veteran. We had a long talk with him and he answered a lot of questions raised by me. When we got home, it was already 7:00. Todd ordered a lot of Chinese food (He doesn't want me to be hungry at any time). The next morning, that was Sunday. I had to leave Philly to return to Boston. It was crowded on the train, but the trip home was nice. When I got home, Ed and Shirley were excited to see me, eagerly asking me to say something about my exciting trip.
It was another unforgettable trip!!!