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Shipping up to Boston

January 26, 2010

In the chaos that was getting up early with little sleep I repeatedly lost gloves and socks before escaping downstairs for a quick bite and a jog to the bus station. I napped on the way up to New York City and a panini and a reunion with Rusty later we were on our way up to Boston. It was dark by the time we reached North Station where we parted, as Rusty was couch surfing and I was in a hostel downtown.

I stopped via the bathroom where a guy had locked himself in a cubicle and was mumbling to himself. Presently the constabulary arrived and after some coaxing got him out and took him away. I emerged and found the guy outside lying on the ground moaning while the policeman and a station attendant stood over him unsure what to do. I didn’t know either so I got directions to Dartmouth Street and walked into the night air. A 15 minute walk down Boylston brought me to Hemenway and the hostel.

Being a Saturday night, I was keen to hit the town, but my new roommate Lee of the UK was les convinced. In the end, my persuasion won over and so we set off into the cold. There were only 3 or 4 bars close to home and being a Saturday night the queues ran in every direction. Not willing to brave standing in line in the cold, we decided to wait until later and see if it would quiet down. As luck would have it, we discovered a bar sans queue on the return journey so we went on in.

Finding two stools at the bar, we parked ourselves and hit the JD and cokes made without any sort of measuring whatsoever while 80s and 90s hip hop blared from the TV above. A guy shouting his order over us apologised and started talking to us, and after finding out we were foreigners, went to find his 50-something friend: “This guy is from England, and this guy is from Austria.” We ignored them after that.

A short time later a blond girl started talking to me, eager to escape from two guys hitting on her, who turned out to be our beyond-middle-age friends. Annie and I hit it off and were soon joined by a couple of her other friends. Things were going so well Lee and I were invited back to their room at the Sheraton, so we piled into a cab and a short ride later rode to the 24th floor. We were greeted with their chaperone Matt and a surly girl already in bed who wanted us gone. Annie had other ideas and said I was welcome to stay the night in her room. Lee was ready to go home, I was not, so the invitation was extended to him. Matt accompanied Annie, Annie’s friend, Lee and I back to the other room, presumably to prevent any shenanigans.

In the end, Matt and Annie’s friend shared a bed, while Lee, Annie and I took the other. Lee disappeared for a while so Annie and I started snuggling. Lee returned and got in the other side. I was starting to drift off when I heard noises. I raised my head to find Lee and Annie making out while I was spooning Annie from the other side, in what could only be described as something that could only happen to me, or be found in a bad Ben Stiller film. With various feelings and cursing crashing around inside, I rolled over and fell asleep. Waking up in the morning, I made a hasty exit to the lobby and stared back at the suits who stared at a kid in a hoody and jeans with unkempt bed hair and baggy eyes as he staggered out into the sunlight. I went back to the hostel for breakfast and a nap and woke to find Lee and a small piece of resentment.

I hit the streets of Boston and walked up to the Public Ground and Boston Common, a large park complex. The Freedom Trail beckoned, and I had just arrived at Granary Burying Ground when Rusty called. We met up for lunch and recounted our respective nights before hitting the shops. We split for dinner and afterwards went out for a few quiet beers with Al, a Perthite we had met in San Diego and by chance had run into again here.

The next day I set out to finish what I had started, namely the Freedom Trail. The Trail wound its way past numerous sites of historical importance; Boston is more or less where American Independence was born after all. The final stop on the 2.5 mile trek was Bunker Hill, the site of a Patriot/British battle (actually called Breed’s Hill but for some reason was mistaken as being Bunker Hill) and a Washington Monument lookalike. A strenuous climb up the 294 steps revealed a panorama of Boston and a woman using the stairs as a workout routine.

I descended and headed for Cambridge to meet Rusty. On the way I walked through a small park while a labrador puppy romped in the snow and later passed a simple but effective Holocaust memorial with 6 glass towers for the death camps where steam poured out from the ground. Rusty and I walked around the grounds of Harvard admiring the red brick buildings, and our journey had officially come to an end.

My last day in Boston was spent crossing off a list of last minute things to see and do: The “Make Way For Ducklings” statue in the Public Ground, the exterior of the Cheers bar, Chinatown for lunch and the Prudential Tower. By sunset I was 700 feet over the city so I watched the lights come on as Boston got dark and returned to earth.

Back at the hostel I had new roommates: the ridiculously camp Jay from New York City, and continuing the trend of long lost acquaintances, Nathan and Dave who I’d met in Albuquerque. We joined a group of others heading to a comedy night at Dick Doherty’s Comedy Club. The MC Jim introduced the show and four comedians, although he remained the most entertaining. Jay got increasingly drunk and vocal and so Jim began a rapport with him, and Jay insisted he be called Miss Kitty. This provided material for all the comedians and hilarity for us. Afterwards Nathan, Dave and I went to a jazz club downtown where the band was tight and grooved like anything. After a couple of beers and sets however, it was time to go. I had another early bus in the morning as I continued north, pushing into Canada.

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