Portraits of Boston

4am GMT wake up call Wednesday. 4am CST wake up call Thursday. Norah commented on what a good traveller I am.

There is a free bus from the airport to South station. Other cities: take note. This makes the entry sequence very attractive.

chian

Where possible, my first stop on any trip is Chinatown. Boston’s Chinatown is even more disappointing than Chicago’s.

Coffee, walking. Boston Coffee Company does good coffee. I am still perturbed by the tax at the till policy of the USA.

Thinking we were walking in a loop, we ended up at the Common and ended up very late for lunch with Rob, one of our hosts for the long weekend. He looked very young but was highly pleasant. I love Americans!

housesj

At Rob’s recommendation we walked the Greenway to Little Italy where “it’s really old and the roads are super narrow.” America doesn’t do old, not real old. And the roads were regular by British standards.

The Greenway is a lovely initiative, and all cities should consider turning unused industrial land (or land at all) into green space. People will walk if there are places to walk. It’s a nice way to see the near north side of the city with views to the harbour and exits into Feneuille Market.

Regular roads

Regular roads

Hungfusion was setting in and eating was becoming a necessity before moving on. We stopped in a sandwich shop which had a number of Italians in the window watching soccer. The sandwiches were a good shout, the dessert was not.

lilita

Norah said her heart was set on one of the desserts upon entering. We were both disappointed. Even moreso when we saw that the highly popular and commended Mike’s was next door. I should have gone with my instinct of multicentring lunch.

mikes

Improv as we crossed the bridge to the north, then yoga at Paul Revere’s landing. I was reminded that I used to be fun and how much I love my friends. Freedom is a feeling that can’t be bought or worked towards, it just is. Glee washed over me in the greatest extent since the beginning of the winter of discontent.

Every city has a love lock bridge. Not every city has a lot of love to share.

Every city has a love lock bridge. Not every city has a lot of love to share.

Forever smug that I am usually a self-powered commuter

Forever smug that I am usually a self-powered commuter

The Boston version of the Oyster is the “Charlie Card”, a real delight to hear in the Boston accent.

Norah spoke to a blind girl and took a picture of her and her dog to send to her mom, a guide dog trainer.

We went out to a bar for Paddy’s. You can’t not go to a bar for Paddy’s. Allston isn’t the place in Boston where Paddy’s truly comes alive. The $9.50 pitcher of beer cost me $15, and the barmaid berated me for not tipping immediately. My friend and hosts were outraged on my behalf. We ate the free popcorn. I was won over by being in a real dive bar, and by the barmaid’s Boston Boston accent. A drunk who was propping up the bar stole my stool.

Another bar said they were full. Four bagpipers then entered. “Those fucking liars! We can see those bagpipers go in!” Bagpipes aren’t even Irish, but everything’s Gaelic to America.

Peep those Sam Adams

Peep those Sam Adams

bunnker

Bunker Hill is my favourite part of Boston. It has real history (some buildings date from the 1600s) and was the stomping ground for many a literary great. Armed with our 7 Eleven coffee, Norah and I did some serious catching up and ruminating on life. These are some great walking streets.

common

The Common further proves the importance of green spaces to a city. People gathered here, people ran, people lounged in the near freezing temperatures. There was life here. The sun was out. A better March morning was not to be had for me anywhere else.

Make Way For Ducklings sounds like something that should have made its way across the pond.

#International

#International

Public toilets are not a done thing in America. We spent a painful half hour looking for a bathroom before sneaking into Starbucks. Always use bathrooms where available. You never know when your next one will come around.

Wendy’s for lunch. 4 things for $4. The fries in Frosty deal is overrated, though not unpleasant and harrowing as people I described it to expected it would be.

Even the dogs are jollier in America

Even the dogs are jollier in America

Waiting in a hailing queue for a brewery tour that is never to come is fun with friends. I had got into beer the previous week and was now going gung ho. Bostonians love their beer. The craft beer revolutions rages through the states. The beer hall was full. Breweries are one of Boston’s greatest attractions.

beer

Uber and a coffee with Norah’s cousin and aunt, slightly hazy. The uber driver gave us gum and received a good rating. The aunt is a yoga teacher who is looking into the psychological benefits of yoga. She was incredibly interesting. The cousin was twenty but worldly with it.

A run to hibachi, a party, playing in the park, tiredness sets in. Brunch the next morning, tiredness rages on.

The only attractive church in Boston

The only attractive church in Boston

A walk down Newbury Street, as recommended at brunch. Not the best shopping street in the world, but still retaining Boston’s historic-feel. We happened into the Boston Architectural College for an exhibition and I explained my job at length, then came across a magazine with my boss in it at Trident. Where I while away my afternoons wandering around neighbourhoods, Norah does so in bookstores. Please write to me if you have bought Kim Kardashian Selfish as I am yet to think of the target audience for that book.

Monumental

Monumental

The walk to Wrigley isn’t long, especially fueled by ice cream. We sat outside Isabel Stewart Gardener, put off by the crowds and the limited time. Then wandered through a park, met our hosts, were shown their allotment, went into Wrigley, and had a long walk back to Allston along the river.

Tiredness is the greatest disease in the world. It is in this state that the majority of bad decisions are made and where joy goes to die. I longed for solitude I thought, but I really just longed for sleep.

Boston is a beautiful city, one that is clinging on to its history with all its might. The number of places with British names is charming. I wish I had had an extra day to savour it.

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