Boston trip, day 2 - Nothing to See Here
Mar. 19th, 2006
10:39 pm - Boston trip, day 2
So, maeglin73 put up a few pictures from day 1 at: http://gallery.caerleon.us/gallery/boston01
Yay for people with cameras (extremely nice camera, too) when I forgot mine!
I'm back in my hotel, having said bye to maeglin73 and Tale after dinner and to Mikko around 1am, after playing pool and bowling. I may try to do a little touristy stuff in the morning before heading to the airport. I'll see how that goes. I fly back to San Jose tomorrow afternoon. It's been a lot of fun, but I'm also really looking forward to getting home.
This morning (ur, Sunday morning), I got up at 9:45am Easterm (6:45am Pacific! Eek!), checked e-mail and wrote a bit on LJ and then got ready and went downstairs to breakfast at 11am. As I was sitting down in the ["Terra Cotta"] cafe to eat my included-with-room breakfast (hot chocolate, orange juice, bagel with butter and grape jelly), wizzu showed up, on his way out to go and buy some breakfast (he doesn't get breakfast included, and doesn't think much of a cafe). He got back a few minutes later and sat down to eat his food. maeglin73 arrived a couple of minutes later from his hotel, having parked in the garage next door.
Shortly, we got up and walked to the T (the underground). Caught the Green line from Copley to Park, and transferred to the Red line from Park to Broadway (South Boston -- aka "Southy"! Don't mess with guys from Southy, or so they say -- don't Matt and Ben come from Southy? No idea if one should mess with them or not -- probably not. JLo might kick your-- no, wait, Jen? Ur, or ... uh, whoever Affleck's with this week) for ... and I never thought I'd really do this... the (South) Boston St. Patrick's Day (time-shifted) Parade! Me! At a Paddy's Day parade. I think that's a first. The parade was amusing. Sent an SMS to a cousin who just had a baby, congratulating her, from where we were standing, right at the very start of the parade route, and also called my brother for a couple of mins--calling Ireland from the parade route seemed appropriate, somehow. The parade wasn't as über-festive as I expected. A bit more low-key and ... well, more like the Dublin parade probably. Lots of cops and firemen and bagpipers (I'm not sure if Americans know the difference between Ireland and Scotland ... well, and, of course, it's kind of impossible to march along playing the Oillean Pipes, since you really need to use your legs as well as arms to play them, so maybe the bagpipes are seen as some sort of compromise?), tonnes of local politicians, some cheerleader types, and a phalanx of Storm Troopers!!! ... many with shamrocks or green and orange stripes on their uniforms, to make them Irish-looking. Heehee. Also, Vader had a big shamrock. Neither the bounty hunter nor the imperial guard (cool costumes!) were particularly emblazoned, however. There weren't really floats. Just some trucks (pick-up and commercial) and tour fake-tram-busses and stuff with a little decoration on. The pickup truck vader and the imperial guard were riding in had a sticker saying, "Imperial Police. The empire's finest." Kind of amusing. =) There was a smelly, obnoxiously drunk little old man (before 1pm) who seemed like he might be homeless and I think claimed that, trying to get people nearby to give him money, who was fluctuating between quiet/muttering and being rude, throwing paper around, and at one point started yelling out curses and said something about terrorists and Al Qeada. He was a bit worrying, and he was only a couple of feet away. One of two girls who were standing in the same area as both obnoxious-drunk-bum and the three of us went away for a moment, came back, and a few seconds later, a cop came along and asked the drunkard to come with her as she wanted to talk to him. I was very glad indeed. He didn't come back to where we were, which was nice.
We meant to leave a bit earlier than we did, before the parade ended. Alas, when we decided to leave ... before the parade ended, but apparently a minute or two after a lot of other people decided to leave, so it took a really long time getting down into the T station (the entrance for which was only about 30 feet away). We hopped on the Red line towards Alewife (drunken English woman? I'll never know... since we didn't go the end of the line--we were headed for Harvard!
Arrived at the Harvard stop, went up above, and wandered around for a few minutes looking for somewhere to eat lunch, as we were quite hungry, had plans for dinner at 8pm, and it was about 2:30pm. Settled (after I consulted a couple of locals) on eating at "UNO Chicago Restaurant"(?) (not the chain, Pizzeria Uno), about a block off the square. We ended up deciding to split a pizza ("individual, serves 1; regular, serves 2-3", and we all were fine with deep dish pepperoni). I skipped dessert, but maeglin73 had cheesecake.
When finished, we went wandering randomly around the Harvard campus. Saw lots of ecclectic old buildings, on and around campus. Oh, and "we saw the Stones at Harvard!". Ok, stones (well, rocks) without a capital S, but it sounds better with a capital S. I believe maeglin73 has pestering-of-the-stones photos on the way (ur, in joke -- you had to be there).
We sort of wandered randomly until we were off campus and it wasn't quite so interesting any more, then I saw a Starbucks. Ooh, warm. Ooh, chairs. Ooh, hot drinks! It's cold outside, BTW. Around freezing point, plus wind chill to pull it lower still. So, we went in and I had a caramel apple cider (venti, w/ whip [uh, that means 'with whipped cream']), something I haven't had in quite a while. It was quite good as a warm-up drink. We decided we had about enough time to return to the hotel, check e-mail and stuff, and go back out to meet Tale at the Charles St. T station at 8pm in order to go to dinner. Went walking back towards the T to go back to the hotel. About a 15m walk, maybe. Caught the T (Red line to Park; Green line to Copley), wizzu went up to his room to check stuff on his computer and stuff. maeglin73 and I went to my room to check on e-mail using my computer and to look up a mythical recommended restaurant called "Villa Torino" (which neither Google nor the phone book thinks exists, so it obviously doesn't). Gave up and figured we'd go to Artú instead, the other recommended Italian restaurant in the Beacon Hill (Charles St.) area. Shortly, wizzu arrived down at my room, and we had half an hour to kill, so I showed them the first episode of Kitchen Confidential on my laptop. maeglin73 really liked it and wants to see more. I don't think wizzu was so hooked by it.
Left, and took the T (Green: Copley->Park, Red: Park->Charles) to Charles St. Waited around a bit, expecting Tale to walk down from the southbound (ur... inbound?) platform, but he outmanuveured us, flanking us and showing up on the street outside. He had walked the mile and a half from "home". We wandered down Charles St., found Artú, and went in.
We had an enjoyable meal. Great company (was good to get to see Tale as well this trip), and good food. I had pollo romano. Yum. Big flat chicken schnitzel-ish thing with romano cheese and prosciutto, with some marinara sauce on top and on the pile of penne beside it. Alas, Tale was coming down with a cold so didn't feel like eating a lot (though I think he enjoyed what he did eat), and unfortunately, maeglin73 was getting really tired and fading fast, I think, so wanted to get back to where he'd parked near our hotel and drive back to his hotel for the night. He leaves in the morning, so said goodbye outside a "CVS/Pharmacy" ("If you keep your drugs in CVS, I really hope you don't do it over NFS...", "They should Subvert that pharmacy!", ...) at Charles & Cambridge a few minutes after Tale left, having purchased some cold medication. wizzu and I had decided we'd like to play some pool so we got a taxi to take us to somewhere where we could do so -- we were going to go to Fannueil Hall (sp?) and some pool place out server at Artú had told us about, but the taxi driver said we should really go to Jillian's, where they not only have pool, but a bar and food and various other things, in the Fenway Park(?) area, so we said sure. It was a 3 story huge place, rather sparsely populated. We played pool for an hour (where I proved that I cannnot play pool) on one of the 3 occupied (well, our one by us, obviously; not occupied before we got there!) pool tables out of about 20 tables! Gosh. There were also table tennis tables (huh, unusual for a place like that). There were roaming waitresses (wacky), so we got cokes (ur, pepsis) while we played pool. They had a bowling alley on the 3rd floor (weird!), so we then went up there and bowled for a bit over an hour. wizzu, only having bowled a few times, did really well. 95, 117, 110. I, having bowled .. a couple of orders of magnitude more often, got 130, 141, 131 (IIRC). Not bad. Not stunning. A lot of fun, though. wizzu got the only double, so actually, given lack of any doubles, scores in the 130/140 range were rather impressive. Startlingly consistent of me. Unusual that. Got quite a lot of strikes and spares, but never strung together quite enough to get a really impressive score. Played 3 games of bowling, then left.
Oh, had a bizarre experience. Ordered another coke from a waitress who came over while we were bowling and asked if we wanted anything. She showed up with it, and told me $1.75. I though, "Hmm, uh, $3 would be rather crazy -- $1.25 tip on a $1.75 drink? Ur, ok, $2.50 is good.", so I dropped $2, on her tray, rummaged and dropped two quarters on there. I mean, I know tips in coin form are perhaps somewhat less appreciated, but did she think I should tip her 70% or whatever? Uh. No idea. She gave me the two quarters back. Said coins were too much trouble. Huh?!? I've never had someone turn down a tip because it was inconvenient before. I mean, yes, coins are less convenient than notes (bills), but ... uh, it is still money. It's not like I gave her a pile of pennies and nickels. It was 2 quarters, making it a 75 cent tip on a $1.75 drink. It seemed quite generous. So, uh, she got a 25 cent tip (the rest of the $2 I'd given her), by her own choice. I'm perfectly happy to keep my 50 cents, but, ur, very weird. I don't understand how that is more convenient. Really. Very confusing.
Got another taxi right outside Jillian's, back to the hotel. wizzu came up to my (7th floor) room, on the way to his (9th floor) room, to stop and chat and so I could give him some coupons and stuff I wouldn't get to use before I leave. Ended up chatting for a while (interspersed with SMSes from urox =), then we said goodbye, saying we'd try to meet up after less than 5 years next time, and wizzu went up to his room. He had to go to work in the morning, so I won't see him before I leave.
At his suggestion, I hung onto some vouchers (so, the reason I had vouchers and stuff was that the hotel had an "On-line rate" and a "Shopping Package" rate. The on-line rate was $20/night more(!), and ... the shopping package was for exactly the same deal plus a "shopping bag" of coupons and stuff -- uh, ok, so I will let them give me $20/night for the right to give me free stuff... sure, and thus I had vouchers and stuff) that I might be able to use in the morning (though... at this rate, it being so late, not sure if I will), to go to the Skywalk (value $10?), get free food court lunch, and free small ice cream. If I get up early enough, I'll make my way over there. If not, I'll poke them under the door of his room before I leave.
Now. Sleep. It's hours later than I should've gone to sleep! 3am! Holy carp...