Friday, February 29, 2008

Starbucks + wifi = link to civilization!

This is Sher reporting LIVE from the only Starbucks in Indiana, PA. There's actually a small Starbucks on the IUP campus, but it's not an independent store like the usual ones you see at street corners, busy intersections, strip malls - you know what I am talking about! That's not the point... the thing is I am here in the little town of Indiana, PA... why?!? This #3 road trip is with my dear sister, Sharon as she interviews for graduate school admissions. While she is busy meeting faculty and future program colleagues, her beloved sister - me, is left with the car and luckily the laptop from 11:15a.m. to 5:00p.m.

In previous trips, I have had Michele or Peter with me and we have been in 'busier' locales to which we can roam/explore the city or quaint townships it has to offer. This time it is me alone.... and after less than one hour, I can say that I have driven around/explored and have been to all places of importance in Indiana, PA! Let me describe to you of our drive here from Buffalo yesterday...

To start, Sharon and I left Buffalo in the early afternoon... made great driving time on the interstate and thruways and before we were to hit smaller routes to Indiana, PA - we chanced upon the the
Grove City Premium Outlet Malls (rated as one of the top 20 Outlet Centers in the United States). Doing what we girls do best... a pit stop to do a little shopping. It's tax free on clothing in Pennsylvania! Hurrah!!

As we continued our drive to our final destination - we were met with hilly, one lane roads. Adding to the driving conditions were pitched black, curvy, low speed limit and sign-less road of about twenty-some miles. Anticipation of reaching the end built and we were sure we were lost in the midst of the Keystone State. Also known as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" because the national Christmas Tree Grower's Association was founded in Indiana county, we were beginning to think that we may have missed a turn or two and were just heading deeper into the woods - filled with Christmas trees!!

We made it... and instead of heading to the accomodation which Sharon had secured... we went to grab some supper at Ruby Tuesdays. It seemed the most logical and convenient place seeing it was brightly lit and everything else looked less.. err... shady dark?! As we were heading to the motel we were putting up.... yes, you read it right... a motel (don't think of the movie Psycho for the time being... I will explain in a bit), we discovered that Ruby Tuesdays was kind of at the west end of this little township, the university in the middle and our motel on the east end of it = all this in a less than 5 mile radius!! Not to sound snooty... okay maybe I am....but, my day alone (today) did not sound promising!!

The motel which we were in was called Twin Pines Motel and it was a rustic looking cabin - nice, decent and clean. It even came equiped with a mini refrigerator, microwave and even wifi. Not bad for a couple hours of having a warm roof over our heads. It was nothing scary or unpleasant that we had previously imagined or the Bates Motel (!!). We should have taken pictures to show and tell but you can take our words for it!

Sharon and I were discussing about how small this town was is and about how it would weigh in on her decision in choosing the university. On IUP's website, we found out that student life here would be to experience all things nature, hiking, fishing, camping, etc. But, if one were to desire more excitement or big-city possibilities - "Pittsburgh is just an hour’s drive away!". Yeeaaahh.... so much for that!

Lo, behold... here I am blogging at Starbucks after visiting Indiana's only mall - Indiana Mall which comprised of The Bon-Ton, JC Penneys, Sears, K-Mart and a few stores in the mall. There is a four screen movie theatre in the mall and I thought... hey, I can catch a new movie while I wait for Sharon - no can do! Before our trip here, I did some research to see what there is to do around town and what I found was that the earliest movie time is 5 p.m. This has to be some error, maybe the movie times on the third party websites were not updated.... even a small town must at least have some matinee movie showings, right? NOPE! The movie theather was locked-up and a measly paper-clock time showing time of opening as 6:30p.m. An older gentleman smoking his cigarette by the doors of the theater looked at me funny as I was trying to peek into the theatre to see some signs of life! Moving on....

I took a stroll... more like a brisk walk through the mall and all of the stores. That was it... there has to be something else in town to do. I got in the car and drove around a little. Compared to what little of the town I saw last night with Sharon, I may be able to spot more places of interest in the daytime. It started snowing... a lot of snow... I persisted and drove around downtown Indiana - sure enough, the same things we saw last night. The downtown of Indiana appears to be just a couple blocks (4-6 blocks) of stores on one street. The city-like landscape of the town are represented by buildings of the IUP campus and the streets are confusing, hilly and there's a railway track that separates the campus from the other main street which houses this Starbucks, the mall and the grocery/convenience stores.

It is after almost 3 p.m. now, still snowing and for a non-coffee drinker, I had munched on a pineapple-mango empanada and am working on sipping my grande green tea latte. I wonder what else they have for me to feast on? Come on Starbucks... I can rely on you, right? That leaves me about about 2 hours before I go to get Sharon and we head home - I pray that her session ends early!

I am thankful for wifi and will continue my survival here in Stabucks, Indiana-PA oh, and a happy leap year to everyone!!

Happy Leap Year 2008

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