Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Day 15

The Town That Time Forgot

I was up at 9:30 this morning and went for a run at 10:00 - in earnest. I felt so lousy. My knees really hurt - but I managed to do about 34 minutes. Two weeks in and my form is showing absolutely no signs of coming around.

Once again we went to Panera for breakie and I drank as much coffee as my stomach could hold. I decided to stop when I couldn't focus on my laptop screen and I couldn't type due to the excessive shaking in my hands.

We wanted to play our second round of mini-golf today but by the time I started coming down off my caffeine high and we had finished getting our daily wi-fi fix, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. So we decided to take a drive to Tamaqua instead, which is where my grandparents were born and my mother grew up.

Tamaqua is the Native American word that means 'Land of the Running Water' and was founded in the late 1700s. When coal was discovered there in the early 1800s, it led to the rise of the town as a coal producing community. It remained a thriving source of the mineral until the 1970s when the number of mines started to taper off. My grandfather worked for fifty years in a coal mine and I wanted to make this trip to Tamaqua so that I could visit his grave for the first time.

As I drove around the town, flooded with childhood memories, I was shocked at how much everything had declined. It seems that a lot of people have moved to the area from New York and have not taken care of anything in the community. The crime rate has increased and most of the population related to previous generations has disappeared. Myself and Paulo remarked how it was like the town that time forgot. It made me very sad but I still have all my happy childhood memories from the times spent there with my family.

We left Tamaqua and took 61 South to reading to see my brother Marc and his wife Emily. We hung out in their gaff for a bit chatting and playing darts as a case of Yuengling was there on our arrival. Oh, how well they know us!

Everyone's hunger started to build so we piled into the car and drove to a place called Trooper Thorns for a bite and one dollar Killian Red drafts. Yes, you read that right - one dollar drafts! We may have stayed all night except some dude came in and began setting up a karaoke machine right in front of our table. We all looked at each other and decided that it was time to exit - stage left.

Our ever fearless designated driver Emily then shuttled us to Viva where there were more staff than punters. There was also a DJ playing some really, really good house music - to no one! Even though the music was quality, I was pretty sure that the dude was faking it and just playing a mix CD. Now, the lads may have you believe that I was acting a bit jealous but I know a poser when I see one...

After a few drinks, we went back to their gaff for some more chats, more tunes and a night cap.

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