February 20, 2011 – Ni hao ma! It’s time for another lunchtime vacation.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve visited historic Old City and the Curtis Building and its surroundings. Today, we’ll venture a little further west (ironically) and visit our friends from the Far East who inhabit Chinatown.
Many major cities have a Chinatown area; perhaps the most famous is located in San Francisco, but Philadelphia’s Chinatown could give it a good fight for authenticity. I’ve been to both and I am equally impressed with Philadelphia’s effort and its over 1,000 Asian-American residents who’ve created a bit of their mother country right in our backyard.
The entrance to Chinatown is officially 10th and Arch Streets, as shown by this photo. The Chinatown gate, which is known as the “Friendship Gate” is an internationally known landmark and a symbol of cultural exchange and friendship between Philadelphia and its Sister City, Tianjin, China.
Consisting of just six city blocks, Philadelphia’s Chinatown is small compared with other Chinatowns around the country. Still, the area is home to over 50 restaurants, a Buddhist temple, an Asian Bank and several gift shops and grocery stores. When visiting you get the sensation that you’ve left Philadelphia and ventured far across the globe.
I was quickly brought back to reality though when a delivery truck stopped in front of me and flipped open it’s hatch in the back. Inside lay about a hundred or so pigs ready for delivery, already slaughtered, yet their heads still in tact and their hooves bound for the journey. It was a horrible sight, and I walked away with my head hanging low, and feeling a little sad for my Suidae friends.
Sometimes vacations turn out a little different from what we expect.