As you know, I do love my downtown layovers (oh God, this again?). Largely because I love to go out and get coffee and look at cute boys on them (oh God, this again??). Today’s sojourn to the South Side of Pittsburgh handily satisfied these cravings. (As well as all my cinnamon needs.)
I’ve been to Pittsburgh before, but it’s been ages since I’ve been off the airport property, where we used to layover. I have great memories of coming here fifteen (+) years ago with one great friend to visit another. We bowled in a dinky upstairs bowling alley and rode the incline and I acquired my yellow souvenir mug from Beehive Coffee. I sipped from it just the other day, in fact, little suspecting that I would ever visit Beehive again. Much less in two days, thanks to the (often well-hidden) beauty of Life on Reserve. Heck, I was just glad the place was still in business, as it would give me a reason to get out of bed and get out of my hotel room, in whose comfort it is sometimes tempting to stay ensconced after a 3-leg 13-hour day.
You can always tell you’re in a place where everybody drives everywhere when the front desk clerk admits that she’s lived there her whole life and can’t tell you the best way to walk to a bridge that’s eight blocks from her job. But walking around it is the only way to get a feel for a place — you’ve been in the backseat of one taxi cab, you’ve seen ’em all. It’s by moving through a city’s streets on your feet that you can peruse the architecture, the accent, and the lunch specials. That you stumble upon bookstores run by eccentric old men of the kind you fear (and hope) you’ll become, or upon rugby teams from local universities raffling off dates with toothsome players to passersby (which I, alas, did not win.). After suggesting multiple alternatives to walking (a cab, the T, she might have muttered something about hitchhiking), my pal at the front desk was able to unearth and (skeptically) provide me with a map, and off I went, across the Monongahela (which I mention mostly to carpe the diem of having the opportunity to drop a cool riparian place name like “Monongahela”) into a gorgeous fall day.