Living in a Destination City, for me, has been a new experience. Philadelphia, for some reason, fails to attract vacationers' attention like the Bay Area and though some people came to visit us while we lived there, they were more interested in quality time with us than in the Liberty Bell.
Since moving here last fall, on the other hand, we've hosted six friends on our couch and seen several others while they were in town. Even after all this traffic, I still don't feel like I know how to entertain them, aside from going to the Berkeley Bowl to buy produce with abandon and drinking beers in the middle of the day and driving to the beach. Most of my friends by now are happy with this simple plan, but I hope that at some point I can add some other tricks to the repertoire. If you're looking for a vacation that revolves around meals and lying around, we will be sure to show you a helluva time. If you're hoping for a tour guide, I'm not sure what to tell you.
This last go around, we had two favorites in town: Kathleen of Astoria, and Mary Wegmann, soon to be of Portland. They are easy going sorts of friends.
Mostly we employed the usual tactics: a hike to the albany bulb, a drive to the coast, Burmese food to die for and a picnic apiece. Mary Wegmann brought some fresh beer from Wynkoop in Colorado, a peppery brew which we enjoyed thoroughly.
With Kathleen, John arranged for a particularly eventful event: a headless dead bird fell out of our tree, while the two were sitting in the chairs in our backyard. After exclaiming thoroughly at the insanity of it, they gave the poor guy a proper burial, not before documenting the unlikely, unsightly thing. I'm not sure this sort of thing will ever become a regular on the Mary-and-John-Oakland-celebrity-tour, but for Kathleen, a bird enthusiast, it was certainly a notable occurrence. And one you will not find in any guidebook. Here is a snapshot, but beware it is a bit graphic.
I think we'll stick to the easy going sort of hosting duties, feeding and sheltering and the like. That way, the unexpected headless birds have room to fall from the sky and you'll quite possibly have a perfectly unbelievable story to tell the folks back home. What more could you want in vacation?