.:DhalangCitra|thoughts & essays:.

Once upon a time in Philly …



Brewed the coffee that morning, threw myself in the shower and dressed up for the daily routine. My day begins …

I never had the urge to escape or even question my reality until that morning. I felt more than just a corporate slave who is steadily drenches its blood out of his creativity. As a remedy, I wanted more than the usual, perhaps something friendly and familiar to me. I just wanted to feel like a child again …

So I called up Eby later that afternoon to see if he would want to join me to Philadelphia for a two day skateboarding trip. Picking Phily as a destination is never a doubt. There are endless spots all around the city and some are just purely untouched, besides I’ve been there several times and never been disappointed. It was rather an easy pick. So we agreed to meet up at 8 p.m. on a Friday evening at Chinatown to take one of those Chinese buses that are ridiculously cheap. Twenty bucks round trip with a departure frequency: every hour! You can’t beat that my friend …

It has become a custom for me to arrive late whenever it comes to skating. A habit … a bad one that seems to be very difficult to get rid off. However, to my surprise, I was right on time and got on the bus right away, way a head of our agreed time. As I waited, Eby still didn’t arrive at 8 p.m., his work is just a few blocks away. Strange. So I kept calling him to see if things were alright. He got stuck at work and came a little later. We regretfully had to take the next available bus.


We finally got to Phily, at that point the rain had started to drop. But luckily, Arif was kind enough to pick us up, took us to eat Malaysian food around the corner and we were allowed to sleep over his place.

The next morning, we started the day by hitting a local Whole Food store at 10 am. They had a sidewalk with rails sticking out of its sidewalk. Don’t know what its for, but it was completely skate-able. Not long after we had our early warm up, we headed to FDR park. This is the spot that I’ve always wanted to see. Amazingly, the skate park was full concrete and for me, totally unskate-able. Too big for me. We ended up just skating the mini ramp. Then, it was over.




Temple University: been there before, but never really a big fan. All it has is just a set of stairs with busted ledges (which is the greatest contribution bikers could ever make). However, in Temple they actually had a mini park right inside their complex. A bunch of benches with metal copings. Like all other spots, I think Temple can only be categorized as a one-stop spot. Cops are everywhere and its just really annoying to concentrate while you actually have to watch your back. I have to say I was really looking for something quite unusual. Something not available in NYC. Nevertheless, the spot was fun.


The best thing about skateboarding is that you are forced to find a heaven for expression. When you cruise around, sometimes you’ll encounter places quite redundant and not motiving at all. But when the time come and you found it, your state of mind becomes completely submerged into that very obstacle in front of you. Our next stop is a spot quite unfathomable to me: the ghetto park.



The term ghetto park is self explanatory, it is really a place where your skating environment is completely surrounded by suspicious activities that may or may not be safe. Drugs were being sold all around you, people were curiously looking at your intentions, and of course the ghetto would not be complete without children (or may I call them messengers) running around looking for trouble.

I loved that spot. I felt that I could understand the environment. I skated and was at point of my optimal expression. Then, Eby and Arif were not feeling comfortable with the these little messengers going around their backs. Those brats were insisting us to pay them $5 every time we missed on a trick. And did not hesitated to tell their “brothers”. So we left. I hate to feel powerless, but I had to compromise. At least I got one good shot from the spot.

We didn’t know where to go from there on. Every spots seems to be full of cops, and we just didn’t feel like continuing a pointless journey. We decided that, hitting back the Whole Food spot probably could complete our skate trip. When we got there, Eby had a run to film and I wanted to get more pics. We stayed for quite a long time and pretty much wrapped it all up.



Although we went to the museum to check up a spot, that trip didn’t get us but left us soaking wet. The rain started to pour out of nowhere. Luckily, Arif’s apartment was just around the corner. We chilled for a bit and then prepared ourselves to get back to new york the same night. We couldn’t skate any more. That was the end of our skate trip.

This trip was more than just trying to get away from my daily routine. It was in some sense, my way to reconnect with my long gone passion and to fulfill the the lost of my closest friends. I’m just glad that it did.



January 29, 2008 - Posted by | Travel | ,

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