This past weekend, my parents took a trip to visit my older brother and his family in Philadelphia. This was something that my mother wanted to do before her skin cancer treatment next week, and with this coming weekend being the Hallmark Ornament Premiere weekend (which is usually the next biggest Saturday for me in July after Otakon weekend), it was either now or wait until next month. Since I've never actually seen my older brother home in Philadelphia (I've heard about the place, but never actually visited it), I joined my parents this time around to see what it's like and if there's any neat places nearby. In the end, it turned out to be a fun weekend.

First, there's my older brother's home. Currently, he, along with his wife and infant daughter are living in a three story house in Central Philadelphia. The first floor is the living area with a living room, kitchen, and dining room. Climbing up the steps, you then reach the second floor, which contains the main bedroom (with a bathroom inside said room), the bathroom, and the baby's room (which includes a crib and a bed for the parents to sleep on). Climb another flight of stairs, and you reach the den area, which consists of my older brother's computer area and a small room for either guests or watching TV if you don't want to distract the others (which was great for me, since a lightning storm that hit my home the previous night prevented my plan to record Durarara! while I was gone). Finally, the computer area is connected to a two story roof area which can used to view the Philadelphia skyline (as well as the nearby Art Museum, which is best known for its appearance in various Rocky movies).

Back to the weekend at hand: given how the Art Museum is visible from the room of my brother's house, that meant that my brother lives in "Museum District" of Philadelphia. As a result, I decided to spend the afternoon checking out the Franklin Institute (which is less than a mile from their house). The cool thing about the trip was that the museum was currently hosting an exhibit featuring one of the largest collection of mummies in the world (from a Egyptian mummy complete with sarcophagus to a South American mummy of a child that predates King Tut, right down to the mummified remains of some 19th Century European people). Sadly, photography was not allowed at the exhibit, which means that if you want to see the mummies, you'll have to visit the exhibit yourself. After seeing the exhibit and waiting for my family to pick me up (since this is my first time visiting my brother's home, I didn't want to risk getting lost trying to walk back to their house), I looked at a sign post map and noticed that the Philadelphia Convention Center is also nearby. That means that if Otakon does move to Philly in the future, I'd don't have to worry about finding a place to stay for a few nights (not to mention I need to be on the lookout for any interesting events going on at the convention center).

After finishing up a trip to the Franklin Institute, I thought that I probably had enough fun for today. However, there was another fun thing in store for me that evening. About a half hour away is the King of Prussia Mall, which is the biggest shopping mall in the East Coast. Hence, while my father and older brother went to a Harbor Freight that's a few miles ahead (my dad likes Harbor Freight, although the closest one near us is in Laurel), I went and checked out the mall. One thing I didn't realize was the the fact that the mall is actually TWO buildings that's connected together. Hence, I only saw half of the mall. As for shopping, the only real thing I picked up was at the mall's Hallmark, which already had the Halloween ornaments out (usually, most Hallmark stores don't have those out until the Ornament Premiere weekend). Seeing as how it was the last one of that ornament on sale (and thus one that may likely sell out fast), I picked up the ornament that recreates the scene from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown where Linus mistakes Snoopy as the Great Pumpkin rising from the pumpkin patch. The rest of the weekend after the mall was spent relaxing, with me taking photos from the roof of the house, going on the internet, and playing some DS games (while keeping quiet as to not wake up my infant niece, even when I was watching Durarara! late at night).

In conclusion, it was definitely a smart move to visit Philadelphia, as I was able to enjoy myself as well as get an idea of what's around the area of Philly where my brother lives so that I can plan ahead for the next time I visit. Rounding out this report, here's some pictures I took on the trip.

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