We checked out of the Manhattan Inn Hostel and took the subway to Chinatown, where we were going to catch the 9 a.m. Fung Wah bus to Boston. It was not fun trudging through the streets of Chinatown with our bags. We walked about five blocks from the subway, which is normally fine without bags. Anyway, these Chinatown buses are operated by Chinese immigrants, for half the price of what Greyhound would cost. But their buses are of the same standard, if not better. Clean and not as crowded, for $15.
We pulled into Boston’s South Station bus terminal within 3-4 hours. For the Boston leg of my travel, I was just going to be a lazy tourist and depend on Yeh Yang. He did spend four months here as an exchange student at Bentley College, so he knows the area well, or so we thought. From the bus terminal, we took the T – the underground railway – to Fenway, which is where our hostel was.
Boston was cold. Surprisingly cold. New York was really warm while we were there, and we expected Boston to be the same, but apparently the day we arrived in Boston, the temperatures plunged. It was covered with mist that hung low over the tops of buildings. The hostel was pretty nice. It houses Boston University students so each room had a bathroom, and individual beds, and a study desk.
We took a walk, passing Boston University and settled for lunch at a burrito cafe. After that, we walked towards Newbury Street. It’s the main shopping area. According to Yeh Yang, the shops are in a way, arranged in order of their brand value. On one side of the street are affordable brands, while on the other side are higher-end brands.
Rugby Ralph Lauren, one of only nine stores in the US.
Boston Public Library
Prudential Center is Boston’s tallest building
Inside the shopping area of Prudential Center
Dessert at Finale – pure indulgence. Too bad I’m not a dessert person.
We passed a theater and it was the Boston production of The Light in the Piazza. Having never heard of this musical before, we peered into the theater, checking out what was going on. There was this guy standing outside the theater smoking and he asked us if we were interested in free tickets to the show. He said he worked for the theater and he had tickets but wasn’t going to use them. We were thinking, “Why not? Free tickets to a musical and we didn’t have much to do anyway.”
The musical was SO bad. The dialogue was SO lame, the songs weren’t nice, and the story line was terrible. And mind you, I later found out that this particular musical had won six Tony Awards and had a one-year run on Broadway. So, nothing comes free. We sacrificed time and energy to sit through that musical.
What made the night worse was that I encountered snobbish Bostonians. Yeh Yang had earlier said that in Boston, dress code was important. Some places required men to be dressed in pants and dress shoes, and didn’t allow men dressed in jeans and sneakers to enter. I was in jeans and sneakers, but seriously.. This was a musical in Boston, and we came without prior notice that we were going to attend one. I would dress up if I was in New York maybe, but Boston? I didn’t think we were dressed inappropriately.
As I was walking out of the theater, two ladies behind me were talking about us, obviously. I overheard them saying that we looked as if we just walked in from the streets, which IS true, but there was such a rude message in the way she said it. She said anyone could have walked in from the streets and attended a musical. For your info, you don’t have to be well-dressed to appreciate a musical. And dressing up doesn’t give you the right to judge or criticize others. I mean, come on, there was a guy dressed in sweatpants and these ladies were making a fuss about us? Shallow snobs.
The next morning, we left for Quincy Market, which was a really nice area, with a variety of shops and eating places. It was raining pretty heavily though, so that made walking around quite a bother.
New England Clam Chowder
The mist was thicker than the day before and now with the rain, it just made everything more gloomy. The area, however, had very rich history as one of the main British colonies in the New World. Also pretty significant in the Civil War and independence era. New England architecture – very old school red brick type.
The glass structure was printed with the words of Holocaust victims, survivors and their families recalling the painful days.
Serial numbers of the prisoners imprinted on the memorial.
Very interesting road, decorated with banana skins and trash.
An ice rink during winter, now a pond.
At the Beacon Hill neighborhood, there are lots of nice houses, very upmarket houses where the rich people live. I had a good impression of the people here, because even though they are rich, some I passed on the street smiled and said hi while walking their dogs. Boston is associated with “old money”, and I think this area is where they live. We were looking for Acorn Street, which according to Lonely Planet, is the most photographed street in America. It’s a quiet traditional back alley, though I don’t understand what’s the significance behind it. It’s just a quiet grandeur I guess. The houses have very nice windows though.
We did a little window shopping, I can’t remember what that area is called. Had a sour cream cheese and herb pretzel at Seattle’s Best while chatting for a little bit. Finally settled at a Taiwan eatery for dinner. We ordered quite a bit of food for the two of us – beef noodle, soya sauce chicken and vege. It was a satisfying dinner, one of the better Chinese food I’ve had.
My first time having kang kong in US.
Soya sauce chicken. Yummy.
Fenway Park – home of the Boston Red Sox
After walking around Fenway Park, we left for Harvard. It’s outside Boston, across the river in Cambridge. So happened that they were having their graduation rehearsal, so saw many of them in their gowns, with flip flops and shorts. Quite a funny sight. There were many parents walking around campus. Harvard is so lively, more buzz going around than in Boston.
All set up for the convocation ceremony.
Harvard students for a day, if only.
We left Harvard and walked back to Boston along the river. Yeh Yang was going to meet up with his friend and collect his luggage. So his friend drove us back to Bentley where YY had left his bag. Nothing much except that the handle of his bag broke! It was quite a funny sight, though I felt bad for seeing it as something funny. Now he had to struggle with the bag all the way to the airport. It still is funny!
YY had a flight back to Singapore the next morning, while I was going back to New York for my flight to San Francisco. We said goodbye and I was on my way to the bus terminal to take the Chinatown bus back. The bus left Boston at 11 p.m., and I reached New York City at 3 a.m. or so. The plan was to take the subway from Chinatown to JFK airport for my flight at 8 a.m. Being alone is not fun. Being alone on the New York subway could be dangerous. But it went well.
The thing about being in New York is that people generally mind their own business. The city is safer now compared to what it used to be. There are still many homeless people around, and on the subways overnight because they have nowhere else to be, so they hop on the subway and spend the night there. As long as you mind your own business, and don’t show that you are scared, they won’t mess with you. At least that’s what I tell myself. And of course, with God’s angels and blessings of guidance, one definitely feels safer.