For almost two months now I've been getting middle of the night phone calls that are borderline harassment from a British chap wanting to know why I still haven't blogged about our Boston trip. Since I usually go to bed so late anyway I have given Andre permission to call at a late hour if he would like to chat. It's nice to have only a 9-hour time difference between us now (at least until the end of December).
Ok..in all seriousness, Andre has a right to want to see a blog. I mean, the trip was so much fun and we had a really great time together. In fact, I bet if Andre had a blog he would already have a post about our trip for all to read. But, since he doesn't, I guess the blogging task falls onto my shoulders and well, I just have to deal with it and do it.
Although the Boston trip happened all the way back in August I still remember it like it was yesterday (Scooby Doo transition here)...
I arrived in Boston on the 6th of August. Since I had packed light I was easily able to maneuver through the airport and take the T downtown to the Youth Hostel I was going to stay at. Since Andre wasn't able to join me until the evening of the 7th I had a full day in Boston to see the sights and to explore. Andre has done the Boston thing numerous times so I told him I would get all the touristy stuff out of the way and that way he wouldn’t have to do all that again.
I checked in to the Hostel and immediately set out in the rain to visit a few places before nightfall. My first day in Boston consisted of walking around in the rain and then, after purchasing an umbrella, walking around in the nonexistent rain.
I went to the Boston Public Library. Sigh. I love libraries and this was wasn't any different. I love books. One of my favorite exhibits there was called movingline
from the BPL website:
movingline – Through Nov. 30, Popular Reading Room. movingline, Drawings by Channing is the outcome of a seven-year exploration of the science and humanity of movement. With pencil, Channing captures nature's energy, beauty, and rhythms in a series of sixty drawings. In this extraordinary body of work, the intimacy of her art is initially represented by images of crashing waves, birds in flight, and racing horses. Her pursuit of motion then evolves into renditions of dancers and musicians performing, and complex portrayals of the human face.
I really wish I had bought the book...I thought about it but then figured I could get it online but have yet to order it.
I also went to this building (I'm embarrassed I don't remember the name of it anymore).
I then became hungry. Those of you who have traveled with me before know that when I get hungry I get a little cranky (sorry for those of you who have traveled with me before). I wandered around downtown Boston looking for a place that wasn't packed with tourists and that looked like it had decent food for decent prices. I wandered around for quite awhile studying menus outside of restaurants and sighing at the overpriced food. I finally stopped in a bookstore and bought a Boston travel guide just so I could figure out what I was going to eat. By this time it was getting late and dark out and I needed food fast!
I then realized I was mere feet from one of the greatest food places on earth. I hurried over to...and walked into the middle of one of the greatest and eclectic collections of food on the face of the planet. It took another full hour of walking back and forth amongst the food stands for me to finally decide on a veggie burrito. It was the messiest, greasiest and best burrito of my entire life. I ate the whole damn thing and didn't feel one ounce of shame. (Okay -- I felt a bit gluttonous but figured my hours of walking around Boston canceled the burrito out.)
After eating I decided to head back to the hostel. It was getting late and many people had begun settling in for the evening. The common area was packed with people hanging out and talking and I soon struck up a conversation with two young men.
As we were talking the two young men were asking me where I was from, what I was doing in Boston and what I did for a living, standard questions really.
One young man (who happened to be from L.A) seemed quite interested in my occupation and my current residence. He asked me many questions about living in Alaska and especially, living in rural Alaska. In fact, he asked me all the standard questions that I get from pretty much everyone when I tell them where I live.
"Do you like it?"
"How long do you think you'll stay there?"
"What language do the people there speak?"
"Is it dark there all the time during the winter and light during the summer?"
"What kinds of food have you eaten?"
I patiently answered all his questions although I had already tired of him and his friend.
We were joined by a British girl and the other young man set his sights on her which then left his friend, the Questioner, to ask me a million more questions.
At one point, he again asked me what kinds of foods I had eaten. When I told him that I had eaten seal his response was, "Yeah, cause you look like you eat seal."
I feel silent for a second. I stared at him with an incredulous look on my face and replied, "And what does someone who eats seal look like?"
He then fell silent and struggled to work through his blunder without appearing to be an insensitive jackass. The look on my face pretty much made it clear that he was a jackass.
Shortly after, his friend and the British girl as well as a group from Belgium decided it was time to go out. We gathered out belongings and headed to a bar called Wally's Cafe.
The young people from Belgium admitted on the way to Wally's that they were only 19. They were aware that the legal drinking age in the U.S. was 21 but the bouncer at Wally's the previous night had some trouble reading their ages on their passports and they had gotten in. Apparently, according to the Belgium teens, the bouncer wasn't too smart.
We walked up to the bouncer and the kids from Belgium handed their passports over. The first three 19 year olds got in just fine. The bouncer kind of scanned the passports and then just waved them through. The last one though, got past the bouncer and then the bouncer stopped him.
"Hey, hey! You can't go in! Hey! Come back here! Dude, you're only 19!"
The 19 year old from Belgium put on his best innocent face and didn't say anything. He pulled out the old "I'm not from this country and I was unaware and I don't speak English very well defense". We ran in and got his friends and they all headed back to the hostel to drink the beers the guy at the liquor store had sold them earlier in the night.
Since there were only two open seats at first they were proffered the British girl (let's call her Helen -- I don't remember her name) and me. We sat and talked and listened to music and tried to ward off a Somolian dude who was really looking for a wife. The wife seeking Somolian was less creepy than the guys we can with and after a few hours Helen and I ditched those two and walked back to the Hostel.
In the morning I ate breakfast and took in a few more sights.
I went to the Fenway Victory Gardens. It really is a cool place. Each plot is unique and is quite personalized with fences, weeds, fountains and various plants. I stopped and chatted with this guy for a bit and he promised me that if I came back in the fall he would give me some tomatoes. I didn't have the heart to tell him there would be no way I would be back in the fall but I did tell him that sounded nice and continued on my way.
I also stopped by the Museum of Fine Arts. I do love museums (almost as much as I love libraries) but this one was definitely a two or even three-day deal to see everything. I only got through Egyptian, Roman and Greek art before I had to call it quits.
By then it was pouring and I threw my umbrella open and made my way to a Whole Foods store to get some supplies and a bite to eat.
Since it had been raining for the two days I had been in Boston I had been noticing something a little odd. It seems that it is fashionable to wear high rubber boots with your fancy dresses and clothes. I could not believe the amount of rubber boots I saw on the feet of all the ladies. I had to laugh a little...I looked at those boots and thought "man, those would be great for pushing boats into water!" I'm sure that I was probably one of the only ladies in Boston who was thinking of that. I decided to keep my eyes peeled for a place where I could purchase some of those boots.
As I was walking to our hotel I noticed a huge bunch of rubber boots in a store window and made a mental note to go back and check them out.
I walked back to the Hostel and my stuff and then hiked back toward the downtown area to check into the fancy-pancy hotel I had booked. I got into the hotel and after getting ready I left Andre a note saying I would be back shortly and headed out to find those boots again and stop in at a promising store that said was called City Sports.
It was then I got lost. I'm not sure how it happened but it did. I was walking back to our hotel and my mind was racing and my heart was pumping. After all, I was seeing someone for the first time in almost two years and the anticipation was killing me. I just wanted to get back and see if he had arrived yet.
I first had to find the hotel though.
I found my hotel and walked in. The note I had left Andre said I would wait for him in the bar and it was there I found him waiting for me.
I can't even begin to describe how wonderful and comfortable it was to see him. He stood up and immediately enveloped me in a big Andre hug. After saying hello he then broke the news to me. It was official; Brett Favre had gone to the Jets. After weeks of anticipation and waiting I had to find out that Brett was no longer a Packer from a British man who had been in the country for three hours. However, Andre's heart was just as broken as mine and we held each other tight as he cried his heart out (he so loves Brett).
We then spent the next couple of hours just catching up and talking. It was finally so good to see that face and that voice all at once. For two years now we haven't been able to find a time to meet up and hang out and it was awesome that we finally were sitting next to each other eating French fries and drinking a few drinks.
The next day Andre, true to form, got up early and headed out to get breakfast and coffee. We then walked to the Farmer's Market and to the downtown area. Later that afternoon we rented a bike for me (Andre had brought his from the U.K) and Andre and I spent the afternoon riding along the Charles River. We rode up to Harvard and then back to our hotel. Andre made friends with a mounted police officer and his horse and it was a nice relaxing day.
I made friends with some of the hotel staff (was his name Roberto? Jose?) and they were more than happy to walk Andre and I and our bikes through the hotel lobby, past the grand piano and under the crystal chandeliers into the luggage storage area.
The next two days flew by. Andre explained to me that the rubber boots were all the rage in London and that a company called Hunter out of Scotland made them. (Why do the men in my life have more fashion sense than I?) Apparently the Royal family has been known to don some Hunter Wellies on their outdoor excursions. I immediately fell in love with them because they were not only in my size but also came up almost to my knees. I had been having trouble finding high boots in my size.
Andre and I spent our last day riding around Boston. The sun was out to stay and we enjoyed flying past the tourons (tourist+moron) that were in our way. We rode down to the harbor and sat by the water and enjoyed the view.
We rode my bike back to the bike rental place and then walked back to our hotel. We got ready for dinner and walked around trying to figure out which restaurant to go to. We finally decided on the first one that we had seen and went back to that one.
I ordered the salmon and then sent it back. It wasn't done.
After that, the fun was pretty much over. We got up early the next morning so I could make my flight to Green Bay. Andre was continuing to our friend Maggie's wedding and to spend some time in Vermont. I really wanted to go with him. I haven't been back to VT for a long time. However, teaching duty called and I had to get home.
Boston was pretty cool but seeing and spending time with such a great friend and person made the trip even better. It's so great that after so long Andre is still such a huge important part of my life. I can't wait to get back to the U.K. to spend some time with him over there. I really do miss him.