Today was the day for me to go on my incredible tour of Pittsburgh, organized by VisitPittsburgh.
Arunan was nice enough to offer to drive me to the bus stop, which was a short walk away. There was wayyyyyy too much traffic though, so I just walked by myself, gave Arunan a big hug and went on my merry way. Walking faster than traffic.
Before I knew it, I was getting on the big shiny bus to downtown. I met a guy who was commuting to Philadelphia because when US Airways closed their hub in Pittsburgh, he lost his job, but the company found him another one on the other side of the state. That sucks for him.
It was SO easy to get to Shadyside from Arunan's place, which was all the way across town, but it was only one bus transfer. I had to walk through some CRAZY construction, and I got on the wrong bus once, but the bus drivers were all very helpful and they got me to my destination without any hitches.
I checked into my room, tried to get the internet working, but it wouldn't go. So then I used the lobby computer which sucked the big one. TravelPod was launching the redesign today, so I wanted to see it.
Kevin and Sue were delayed for some reason, so as soon as we got there, we went for lunch at Point Brugge Cafe. After having a delicious shrimp stir fry and a Hop Devil beer, we got back on the bus to Lawrenceville, an up and coming neighbourhood in Pittsburgh, just recently gentrifying into something artsy and brand new.
Our first stop was Dozen, for some melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon buns and vegan cookies. We met the owner and then checked out some of the old architecture and the "doughboy" statue.
You can find these types statues all over the USA, commemorating the deaths of soldiers in WWI. Why is it called a doughboy? There are many explanations... Our tour guide says that it refers to men who wiped their hands free of chalky-white soil on their pants while training in the southwest USA.
Wikipedia says: It arose during the Mexican–American War, after observers noticed U.S. infantry forces were constantly covered with chalky dust from marching through the dry terrain of northern Mexico, giving the men the appearance of unbaked dough.
Next stop, Frankies for some homemade sausages. These ones really tasted homemade, just like my Grandpa used to make.
Then we stopped in a couple of art galleries, where a lady showed us how they make Japanese woodcut printings, with hundreds of colours, each painting requires a separate wood cut for each colour used in the design.
I was reprimanded for taking a photo (of people not of paintings) in this gallery. After that, I didn't take any questionable photos anymore. You'll see why later...
We checked out the Grey Box Theater, a brand new place for people to stage independent performances. Then, a fair trade/organic/environmentally friendly store, a weird retro house decorating store, we had some coffee samples (which were delicious), checked out a renovation type place, where they use jeans to insulate their building, then a Persian rug place, then a few other retro type stylish places before stopping for a drink at Brillobox.
Someone had recommended that I visit this place before I left, so I was happy to go there. It's decorated all in red and vinyl and there is a Hammerhead shark on the wall!
The highlight of the day however, was the sushi at Tamari.
It was soooooooo incredible. I ordered a "Sexy Dragon" but also some quails eggs wrapped in bacon and got to taste the various hors d'ouvres that everyone ordered... including some lobster and a special tuna piece that the chef made just for us. It melted in my mouth. Oh my god amazing. I have never been to Japan, but if I did, I would expect that the sushi would taste just like this there.
When we got back to the hotel, I was really looking forward to another hot jacuzzi. The one in the hotel looked promising, but alas, it was colder than the pool. I asked at the front desk what was going on, they said they didn't know, and that they would fix it tomorrow. Drat!