I swear our GPS is trying to kill us

One of our local radio stations was having a free concert. Free stuff is free, so me, my sister, and her roommate decided to drive out to Philly to see it. Unfortunately, we had never been to this venue before. We decided to follow our GPS.

Yeah. Bad idea

For some reason, our GPS decided to take us through North Philly, which has a reputation as a… less economically affluent area. Now, as much as I make fun of Philadelphia, it’s not that bad of a city. Central City is nice. There’s some very safe and pleasant areas. If you don’t go looking for trouble you will, for the most part, avoid it.

North Philly is a little different, however. The borders of North Philly are fuzzy, but they contain a series of neighborhoods that has sunken deeper into poverty over the years. As a suburbanite, I can’t say much firsthand– but I’ve heard that the neighborhoods are highly segregated by race, that drug trade is common, and North Philly is home to a bit of gang activity. In other words, it’s not the place you want to be in.

But the crooning voice of our GPS (set to Australian-English: Male) decided that, hey, the fastest way to get to the concert was through North Philly. Who were we to argue?

Our GPS, in addition to falling in and out of functionality, also gave us a nice meandering tour of North Philly. We got to see all sorts of new things!

It seemed as though we would never get out of there. On and on and on we drove, nervously following the directions of our GPS whenever it decided to actually work. And the scenery rolled by… (here, courtesy of Google Maps)

My sister’s roommate and I eventually cracked under the mental strain, and totally lost it:

We ended up arriving to the concert an hour and a half late. At this point, there was no parking left at the venue, so we decided to leave our car by this fine alleyway:

…complete with lovely brick garden.

It was all worth it in the end, though. I got to see Tyler Glenn’s hair.

Neon Trees rocking some neon hair.

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9 thoughts on “I swear our GPS is trying to kill us

  1. I learned the hard way never to trust GPS directions if your destination is anywhere inside a big city. It will invariably route you through some of the area you do not want to go through without a police escort. I have some funny (not so funny at the time) stories to tell you about GPS routing and big city the next time we get together at your dad’s house.

    The best thing to do in this case is to enter the destination address into your GPS before starting and proceed to open Google Map and find your route by looking for the nearest highway exit to your destination. Set your destination to that exit and have Google Map generates the directions for you. Follow it and ignore your GPS (no matter how many times it begs you to get off at the nearest exit). Once you reach the previously selected exit (hopefully it won’t be too far from the venue), you can now follow the GPS directions the rest of the way.

    Do the same thing when you leave the venue. Ignore the GPS direction if it tries to route you anywhere but the nearest highway entrance ramp that you got off previously (not always possible since in some city, the entrance ramp is not always near or opposite the exit ramp).

    • After that experience, I’m definitely going to take your advice next time we’re in the city. That GPS of ours took us down some of the shadiest roads. I’m sure you have some funny (and frightening) stories as well! x.x

  2. The funny thing is… I live there.

    I recognize just about 2/3’s of the pics you posted, even the pile of bricks.

    It’s not THAT dangerous…. just… you know, around 1.15 homicides there per day. 🙂

    You’d really love Morimoto’s, it’s only a subway ride and a trolley from where you were! Best sushi I’ve eve had, and I’ve had a some good sushi in my day 🙂

    • Hahaha indeed, I was probably exaggerating. I don’t live in Philly so I don’t know how dangerous it is. Most kids I talk to say that if you just follow your common sense, you’ll be fine. 😉
      Ooh, the best sushi you’ve ever had? I’ll have to check it out next time I’m there!

  3. I volunteered here handing out fliers to LIFT, an organization helping people get access to resources that enable them to have successful, productive lives. The people were really friendly, and I felt that I actually helped a lot of them. And they are actually pretty great, and they seemed to have much more of a community aspect than other parts of Philly.

    I guess what I’m saying is Boston is a wimpy city.

    • I don’t doubt that the people are nice. Nice people are everywhere! Boston’s like that, too– we have lots of distinctive neighborhoods that are very tight-knit. I volunteer in Roxbury, a neighborhood in Boston that’s primarily African-American, and you can definitely see what a tight-knit community it is. Neighbors are always talking on the street, and people really seem to know each other.
      That said, Boston has a long history of violence, especially in Roxbury and Southie. Whenever I talk to NU alumni they often joke about how bad Boston “used to be.” The city has really been pushing redevelopment in the poorer areas, though, and you can definitely see the difference– Boston’s much, much better today than it used to be.
      I guess what I’m trying to say is that Boston isn’t a wimpy city– just a safer one. Sorry if I offended you with my digs at Philadelphia– I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone!
      (I also apologize for getting all defensive about Boston– college kids here are known for doing that 😛 )

      • There are definitely some very violent places around Boston! And around Philly. I was just stating my opinion, nay the fact, that Philly could beat up Boston.

        No offense taken! Just digging you right back, haha.

  4. Oh, God, I was dying of laughter this entire post. Seriously, Vy, after the day I’ve had, I needed something to laugh about.

    GPS directions are so unreliable, along with signals…I Google Map everything and print it out beforehand. Glad you ended up getting there safely, though.

    • I’m glad I could help 🙂
      GPS directions can get nuts! My dad actually has an incredible sense of direction (which I inherited none of) so that, half of the time he uses his GPS, he gets so irritated at its erroneous directions that he turns it off. As for me, I’m a fan of Google Maps!

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