Friday, June 11, 2021

It Wasn't Bad Karma, Just Bad Luck

This past week we took three days off from our routines and decided to head away to the Philadelphia Flower Show.  I had not gone for almost a decade and decided it would be a nice change to face the crowds as COVID is waning in our area.  They usually have the event inside the Convention Center.  Due to COVID they scheduled it outside in FDR Park and issued timed-entry tickets.

Our entry was for 2:00 PM and since we live three hours away and planned on spending two overnights we thought leaving at 8:30 in the morning would give us plenty of time for checking into the hotel and then "UBERring" out to the park.

I was using our car's Garmin map tool.  I soon discovered this was NOT a good thing because as we left the visitor center off the highway for our mid-trip break after almost 2 hours,  we encountered LOTS of traffic moving slowly and soon coming to a complete stop.  I switched to the WAZE APP on my phone and saw that there were two areas ahead with accidents.  We sat in our car nestled between huge trucks and vans and little hybrids for two and a half hours!  I have a hybrid car, so not a great loss of fuel or increase in pollution. Had I been on WAZE before I might have avoided the mess as WAZE lets you know of highway incidents ahead of the encounter as well as so much other stuff.

We finally exited an area as we crawled forward and went miles east then miles north then doubling back miles west to finally make it to downtown Philadelphia.

We proceeded to check in but our challenges were not over.  We had to keep up deep breathing and calming exercises as the hotel had trouble with our credit card.  We had to change credit cards but finally made it to our room!

The hotel was right downtown near the convention center, but the Flower Show was out of town due to COVID.  I called an UBER.  I waited...and waited.. until finally one showed up and asked us to meet at some point TWO BLOCKS away!  I said no and he canceled.  A second UBER was a little better.  We jumped into the car and told him where we wanted to go and he said he thought the Flower Show had been canceled!  He said he would take us to the entry and low and behold they had been canceled due to the dangerous afternoon weather!

Thus we UBERed back to the hotel and by then we were only an hour or so from dinner so made reservations at one of the many Chinese restaurants in the city.  The next UBUR driver had to drop us off a half block away due to street work.  I used my phone in the steady rain dropping on a blurry screen; we walked past the restaurant TWICE before we asked someone where it was.  The restaurant sign was one of those super modern fonts and very difficult to read unless you were directly in front and looked up!  (I am sure someone has captured the old folks arguing and walking back and forth while staring at their phone screens.)

The dinner was delicious and we actually were able to get an UBER back to the hotel.  I called the Flower Show Service that evening and they said we could come in any time and any day throughout the week before the show closed!  Our pre-paid lunch was also still available.   Things were looking up. 

The next day, at least the weather was somewhat kinder.  We failed to get an UBER again and instead called a CAB that was friendly and efficient and dropped us off exactly at the Flower Show entrance.  The day was hot, 92F, but no rain.  The event was somewhat interesting and a bit crowded because those that had booked the day before came this day.  Maybe I will share photos.  Maybe I have become a bit jaded about these events.

As the day came to an end, I tried once again to get an UBER back to our hotel in the late afternoon.  The UBER pick-up suggestion could not be found by our eyes and when we asked a local they explained that the name given was an OLD name for the corner and the new name was the metro name.  I texted the UBER back and told him we would be at the bus stop on that corner.  We waited and waited.  Then when he arrived we were so busy looking down the street that we did not see him pull in.  FINALLY, we connected!  What a nightmare!  All of our UBER drivers were polite and useful if somewhat less knowledgeable about the city than we were --- see below)

Since it was pouring rain as we reached the hotel we decided to eat dinner in the restaurant connected to the hotel.  Hubby thought it would be a mediocre venue, but it was delicious food.  I like whiskeys and bourbons and they had a huge selection of pre-dinner cocktails.  Only three tables out of at least 20 were filled and so it was also quiet with excellent service.  The other two tables that had customers had middle-aged men in nice suits eating with sexily dressed women who were clearly younger. Their meet-ups were certainly a date as the behavior of the women was very flirtatious.  (OK maybe it wasn't a date, maybe it was something else since one of the women had her dress slit up to her crotch and was wearing only a band of some stretchy fabric around her top.)  I get to cities only rarely these days and I am not going to evaluate a restaurant on its customers, but on its service, food and beverages.  After the trip we had, I was working on being mellow.

We still enjoyed ourselves talking to our waiter who was from Belarus.  He had lived an interesting life and his immigration to the U.S. was also interesting. He had been a protestor against the government and was forced to leave.  So sad. For those of you who, like me, have trouble keeping up, "Belarus is the thirteenth-largest and the twentieth-most populous country in Europe."  Go to this link for a clue how it has changed (‘It’s All Ruined’: Young Woman Caught Up in Belarus Clampdown - The New York Times (

Our trip was somewhat of an international tour as we took time to get to know all the people we encountered.  Note below:

Uber Drivers:
Nigerian,  Baptist preacher
Pakistani man 

Cab Driver:
Mexico. 7th-day Adventist who came via his church

Man from Belarus
Lady from Egypt

We purchased some nice green tea at the Flower Show:
The saleslady was from Taiwan and her husband from France!

The U. S. is becoming so much of a melting pot these days.

I guess my advice is to always stay as mellow as possible unless it is life or death.


  1. This life is much easier if you look upon these things as an adventure. There will be problems, it's a fun challenge to figure out how to deal with them, a puzzle of a sort, and look at the really great people you meet.

  2. You are wonderfully patient and kind. I’m so glad you were able to look for the positive things to enjoy during a trip that was proving to be a challenge.

  3. Quite a foray into that city. It was good you were so mellow. You made the best of it for sure. Getting into the city after the pandemic must have been great and I imagine that helped.

  4. Well done for keeping it together. I also like how you engage people you meet. It does make travel more interesting.

  5. That seems rather busy to decrepit old me, but it seemed that you enjoyed the food, and I haven't had breakfast yet. :)

  6. So much difficulty, but it all ended up just fine. Thanks for the great tour through your words, without me having to go through the hassle.

  7. It may be true that we all have forgotten the hassle of going out.

  8. it's always better to just go with what is happening instead of getting upset about changes. being flexible is so much less stressful. I try not to have expectations and so am rarely disappointed. my grandkids use UBER all the time but I never have but that's because I've never needed to.

  9. I had a grandfather from Belarus. He left circa 1890, fleeing the Russians (or so the story goes). Guess it hasn't gotten much better.

  10. Your trip sounds great for the break you wanted. I am so down on travel right now that none of it sounds good for me. We left the 2nd and should be at the farm the 12th, and who knows what then especially regarding internet, which seems unlikely.

  11. The article was fascinating, thank you. As are your adventures. I really hope you post pictures.
    No travel here, darn it.

  12. What an ordeal to get to the flower show

  13. All in all, y'all had an adventure to remember.

  14. Woops, but, had a good time, ha ha.

  15. I live in a very small town. What is the benefit of an uber over a taxi cab? We have neither here.

  16. Oh! Dear! And after reading what you went through confirms my desire and choice to remain at home! I'm not cut out for all that kind of ado! I don't have the patience, I freely admit! lol

  17. Any so-called planned outing all too often can turn into an adventure so is best viewed as such -- sure sounds like what you had.


Take your time...take a deep breath...then hit me with your best shot.