Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Uptown Girls

Lauren and I started out around 9:30 this morning, a bit earlier than we have been. It was cloudy, cool, and damp when we headed to Collingswood to pick up the train into Philadelphia. The PATCO was busy but not full, and we rolled into Philadelphia around 10.

After getting turned around a little, we made our way down 13th Street to Market to pick up the bus to the King of Prussia Mall. There's two buses that go that way, 124 and 125. It was just starting to shower lightly as we hopped on the 125. The bus was half-full, and it being 11:25, we'd just missed the lunch traffic. By the time we arrived at Court section of the mall, it was pouring. We made a dash for the Macy's entrance.

The King of Prussia Mall is huge, the largest mall in the US...and it's very different from what I saw when I went there in September 2014. The Court is the newer section; it was apparently built in the 1980's and is currently anchored by Bloomingdale's and Macy's. We decided we'd check out Macy's later and have lunch first.

Walking around in the Court a bit, we found a nifty little cafeteria-style food court. Instead of the usual booths, there was one long counter with four different areas and one register to pay at. I went with your basic Philly Chicken Cheese Steak Hoagie and fries, which was one of the cheapest meals on the menu at $5.99. Lauren had a chicken wrap and salad for $8.99. We both had bottles of Bubbly sparkling water. (Lauren had lime, I had grapefruit.) Yum! The cheesesteak was perfect, with tasty sauteed onions and perfectly seasoned chicken. (I do wish the fries hadn't been so bland, though.)

By 1:30, the storm had turned into a monsoon. We hurried under the covered walkway that leads between the sections of the mall, heading for the Plaza. The Plaza apparently started in the 60's as an outdoor shopping center before being enclosed in the 80's, and it has all the fun stuff and the less-expensive stores. We peered at L.L Bean before going around the corner to Game Stop. I didn't see anything, but they were having a buy-one, get-one half price sale on Nintendo DS titles. Lauren picked up a few she was interested in.

As we were exiting, I spied a store called Uncanny! across the way that had huge superheroes in the window. Turns out it sold comics, role-playing games, toys, and geek-related t-shirts and clothing. It was a really neat store. There were tables in the back for roll-players, a whole wall of t-shirts, and a couple of functioning vintage arcade games in the center of the store, including the Star Wars Arcade pod-racing game. I didn't get anything, but Lauren found some comics.

We had no luck the rest of the afternoon. Most of the stores in King of Prussia are expensive clothing or accessories shops that I couldn't afford and neither of us were remotely interested in. Their JC Penney closed last year, and we couldn't figure out how to get to the first level with the Build-a-Bear and the other Game Stop. (Oddly, they did still have the small Rite Aid in the Plaza.) The Macy's is also in the midst of remodeling. I couldn't find anything I liked, and Lauren had so many problems trying to find an employee to help her, we ultimately decided we'd check out the Macy's in Philly instead.

I got lost getting us out to the Transportation Center. I assumed they'd upgraded it, along with everything else. Nope. It was in the same place, tucked along a wall near what's now Irish department store Primark, as it was in 2014. We jumped on the first bus we found that went back to Philly. That was probably not smart, especially at 4 PM. The 124 was filled to capacity. There was barely any room for us to grab the metal poles on either side, never mind sit down. Thankfully, most everyone was getting off at one of the two train stations the bus stopped at. We were among the few people who went all the way to 13th Street.

Lauren wanted to check out the Philadelphia Macy's. I had to use the bathroom and deal with a...little accident. I wanted to replace my shorts after having to clean them in the bathroom, but I couldn't find anything I could afford. Lauren did a bit better, picking up a couple of shirts.

Thankfully, the rain had vanished by 6; the day had returned to just being cloudy, chilly, and damp. The train to Collingswood was busy, but not quite as full as the Septa bus was. We had no problems getting there or strolling straight home after we arrived.

I made Chicken Parmesan topped with pepperoni for dinner, along with pasta and steamed asparagus. We watched the first Police Academy movie while we ate. The title institution has just opened their doors to anyone who wants to be a cop, from spoiled rich girl Karen Thompson (Kim Catrall) to gun nut Eugene Tackleburry (David Graf) to the very massive florist Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith). Carey Mahoney (Steve Gutenberg) is only there because a friend recommended him to the program to stay out of jail. He keeps trying to get obnoxious Lieutenant Harris (G.W Bailey) to throw him out...until he falls for Thompson and starts to wonder if police work might not be so bad after all. He and Hightower are thrown out for misconduct...but before Mahoney can leave, a riot breaks out that gives all the new cadets a chance to show their stuff.

If you're a fan of the slightly squeakier later installments, you may be surprised with some of the ribauld humor on display here, including a lot of ogling naked girls and some profanity. Otherwise, this pretty much sets up the tone for the rest of the series - the cadets (with or without Gutenberg) play pranks on an obnoxious authority figure until a fight brings them together in the third act.

Highly recommended for fans of this series or the "slobs vs snobs/authority" comedies of the 1980's.

And incidentally, I'm inclined to agree with something Lauren said while we were waiting for the train to Collingswood. I'm glad we got to see the King of Prussia Mall once, but I don't think it's something we'll do again. It isn't worth the hassle with the overcrowded Septa buses to check out a few stores. I won't do it again on my own, either. From now on, we stay in the Philly Macy's when Lauren visits, and I stick to the local malls that have more interesting stores near-by.

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