Thursday April 14, 2005
After months of waiting, I am finally off on another adventure! I was a little nervous approaching this weekend, since I have been fighting off the Nicole-induced sickness for the past two weeks. Nothing like long hours and sickness to just wear a person down. Thankfully, the last two days I have felt much, much better – so I was eager when I woke up this morning to head out to Boston to visit Nathan.
My carrier of choice was American as usual. I mentioned before I wanted to fly Jet Blue, but my desire for the frequent flyer miles and the slightly cheaper ticket sent me to American. I dread flying American from LAX non-stop transcontinental because their than JFK, most of the routes are covered by 737s or worse, MD-80s. So I was not looking forward to a 5+-hour flight on a dinky plane. Especially after flying on the luxurious 777 to Tokyo last year. I noticed when I packed, I kept thinking I was going to Tokyo and that I would need to take all the little things, then I remembered I was going to Boston, so I was able to not sweat the small stuff.
Daniel whisked me to the airport in record time, and thanks to the fact I got my boarding pass last night via the aa.com web site, the airport was a breeze. It still confounds me that LAX is less of a hassle than Ontario or Orange County. Maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t go Jet Blue out of Long Beach. Another annoying trend is the lack of meal service on long haul domestic flights. Not that I really liked the food all that much, but gone are the glory days when I could order the Great American Burger…
The flight actually went fairly well. I was worried at first because the unlucky guy in the middle seat next to me was rather muscular and large. Fortunately a smaller man came up and asked the guy if he’d swap for an aisle seat so he could sit with his wife. Sometimes, you just get lucky. I watched the in-flight movie “National Treasure” which surprisingly didn’t suck as much as I thought it would. How Nicolas Cage gets cast in action-adventure movies, I will never know. He is so much better suited for drama or comedy. The movie did help the time pass, and with the iPod at my side there were really no complaints.
When we arrived, as we were waiting for the orderly exit out the aircraft, the guy behind me was about 2 inches from me. He also kept huffing and puffing with annoyance the longer it took. My suspicions were confirmed when he made a b-line for the bathroom in the gate area. It also reminded me that East Coast people have a harder time with that whole personal space concept. Maybe it is because they don’t have any here.
Nathan was waiting for me at the airport and with minimal fuss, we were out and on the highway. Along the way, we got to see such sites as Fenway Park, Harvard Square, and a few other sites in a circular route back to his pad. The last place of Nathan’s I saw was a small apartment in Paris where the bathroom was in the stairwell. Nathan hadn’t really talked much about his apartment, and I was amazed at how large and luxurious it was. As one would expect, it is tastefully decorated throughout and convenient to all major attractions. It even has a cool balcony out back overlooking the alley with the skyline of Boston in the distance. Tomorrow I am on my own till around 6pm so I will be heading to Boston Common and probably tackle the Freedom walk with the Gorn. It all depends on how adventurous I feel in the morning.
Friday April 15, 2005
Decided to sleep in a bit since this whole Eastern Time thing really bites. By the time I got out of Nathan’s apartment, it was already 10:30am. I headed down to Boston Common to walk the Freedom Trail – a really cool touristy thing where the city fathers have placed a red line (sometimes painted and sometimes brick) from Boston Common to Bunker Hill past 16 major historical sights. I had planned on just hopping into the visitor center to get a guide map, but there was this guy in period costume that told me that if I hurried, he’d let me join his soon-to-be-departing tour. He seemed to have a good personality (important for a tour guide), so I plunked down the $10 and away we went.
The tour covered the first half of the trail and gave WAY more history than if I was to just read signs and try and stumble around and find things myself. Among the sights: the new State House, Park St Church, Granary Burial Ground – home to patriots like Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, and then down to Faneuil Hall. From there, I was off on my own to Paul Revere’s house (which I admired from the outside, Old North Church – which is where the famous signal lanterns were hung, the USS Constitution “Old Ironsides”, and the Bunker Hill monument. There is nothing like climbing 294 steps to get to the top of a monument after a 3-mile walk. The view was amazing from the monument – however I think the stairs are worse than the ones at the Duomo in Florence or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
After the Freedom Trail, I headed back to Nathan’s via the public transport. Luckily the station nearest to me was the one at the former Fleet Center – home to the Boston Celtics. A quick metro and walk later, I collapsed at Nathan’s and relaxed until he came home from work.
We chatted for a bit then headed on out. We walked to this trendy little restaurant called Flux. I had some great penne pasta with meatballs that was ginormous!. Nathan had a nice steak (thankfully not the steak tar-tar he was telling me a story about. We then headed over to the Club Cafe, where they were playing videos in the back room. Nathan knew a few people there and I had a blast. I will say that I think I had one too many Chambord Martinis. I blame it all on Nathan and the “one for the road” policy. The two of us somehow managed to make it back to his apartment via Taxi. A quick cupcake fix and then the truly surreal night began.
It must have been the alcohol, but all I remember is: Ab Fab, leaving drunk messages, and a faint dream I was throwing up in my sink at home. Sooooooo when I woke up with a headache, I realized it was not a dream, and that I really need to chew my food more. I also discovered my clothes at random spots around Nathan’s living room. Even more to my horror, the water in the apartment was shut off, so there was no way to clean the mess up before Nathan got up. Such bad manners, I am sure I will never be invited back; then again, it might jut be another great memory we’ll have years to come.
Anyways, besides having too much booze, things are going great and I am having a blast. Day 3 looks like it will be low key since we are waiting for the water to come back. We will be heading off to Plymouth and maybe Salem. If we run out of time, then we will hit Salem on Sunday on our way to Maine (which is actually only an hour or so away – everything is so close here!)
Saturday April 16, 2005
So after waking up to the mess in the sink and realizing that there was no water to be had, Nathan and I basically sat around until the water came back up. I then spent some quality time at the sink in the bathroom making things right again.
After some showers, we were off to Plymouth, MA. Along the way, we passed some nice areas – I can only imagine what they look like in the fall with all the leaves on the trees rather than just bare branches as they look now. We stopped for lunch at Baja Fresh, and actually made it there in about 45 minutes. Everything is so close!
I had been warned not to expect much from the actual rock itself, so I was surprised to find it in this out-of-place looking stone structure at the beach. I snapped some quick Gorn photos then it was off to see the Mayflower II – a recreation of the original ship. We opted not to pay the $8 for the cheesy museum, and just posed for photos. We then did a quick walk around town. It seems that it was just getting ready for tourist season, and most of the major attractions were closed or empty. I actually liked that – no crowds to deal with. I can see why people love the cape so much – I bet it is tre-fabulous in the summer. One of Nathan’s friends (and Nathan too) has told me I MUST come back in the summer to experience it.
We then headed back to the apartment for a nap and then off to dinner at Jae’s – sort of a Japanese fusion place with a great steak (despite the fact they were out of the Filet). A quick dessert stop and we headed back to the apartment to watch a movie and then turn in. Nathan is a Netflix junkie. I think I might have to sign up – it’s so easy! A very low-key day, which was a perfect, follow up to Friday night.
Tomorrow its up early and then off to NH and Maine!
Sunday April 17, 2005
Today was a very adventurous day! We started out with the Nathan special breakfast – eggs and sausages and then headed out on our way to Salem, MA. Salem is one of those towns that you hear about in school and you always go, gee, I wish I could go there. So off we went. I won’t get into the details of what happened along the way, but let’s just say that I don’t approve of MA speed traps!
Once we arrived in Salem, we decided to walk around and see if we could find anything. Thankfully, we found a NPS Visitor’s Center that pointed out all the good places to see. Pretty much the only thing really neat was the Salem Witch Memorial that has these cool stones coming out of walls that has people’s names and when they put to death for witchcraft. The rest of the area was full of goofy museums that charged way too much and quirky little Wiccan shops that look like Patsy’s Mom ran them.
So back to the car we went and then headed over to the House of Seven Gables – made famous by the Scarlet Letter Man himself – Nathaniel Hawthorne. Again, a nice, quaint little museum with an $11 guided tour through a dinky house that we passed up. I especially liked the “Garden Cafe” which was a little alcove that was all closed off. Well, it is the off-season.
Having had our fill, we then set off to Maine! I was so excited to visit two whole states in a mere hour. First up is New Hampshire, which is mostly noted for having state Liquor and Lottery Stores heavily promoted and visible from the turnpike. Also, NH is famous for the random $1 toll for no apparent reason. Personally, I could have sworn the taxpayers had paid for all of the Interstate Highway System. The whole tollbooth looked like it was something rigged for a reality show. The countryside was beautiful though, and I can only imagine how much more so it will be in the summer and fall.
Before we knew it, we were across the border in Maine. More beautiful homes and scenery. We stopped to pee at the Tourist Info center just inside the border at Kittery. So technically, I “visited” Maine first. We were disappointed that we did not have enough time to visit a life-sized chocolate “moose” which was located too far away. Nathan mentioned that the quaint town of Ogunquit might be a nice short jaunt, and then I mentioned we should try and see if the Bush’s were home in Kennebunkport.
We took the former exit 4 (now exit 7 – apparently Main re-numbered a lot of freeway exits in a big scandal – personally, I don’t think it is exit 4’s fault) and meandered through some cool small Maine towns and finally made it to the Ogunquit beach. They were having a wee carnival on the beach in honor of Patriot’s Day (which marks the April 18th anniversary of Paul Revere’s midnight ride among other things). We decided to partake in a local fundraiser and bought some food from a booth, and then headed on down to the beach. I decided it was time to touch the Atlantic, something I had managed not to do in any of my east coast travels. It was very exciting and cold!
It was then time to head to Kennebunkport, which turned out to be full of HUGE mansions amid wonderful scenery. The actual small town has a neat little shopping village and some nice churches. No sign of Elder Bush, so we decided to set sail for home. Getting back to Boston was a breeze and I made sure to make a pit stop in NH so I could mark my territory.
Back in Boston, Nathan and I did some shopping at the grocery store and decided to cook some steaks on the Hibachi. They were mmm-mmm good, despite the huge flames and the worries of the next-door neighbor that we were going to torch the whole complex. After dinner we sat down and had a low-key night watching the tele. It was a perfect end to a great day.
Tomorrow I have lots of time to kill before my plane leaves at 5pm. I was toying with the idea of hopping on the commuter rail and heading to Providence, RI – if for nothing else to just knock another state off. I would have two hours max in the city, so I am not sure if I want to take the hour trip. I guess it all depends on my feelings in the morning. Otherwise, I’ll just likely wander around locally since the Boston Marathon tomorrow will make a mess of getting around. Then again, maybe it’ll make some good Gorn shots.
I certainly want to come back to New England to spend more time in the rural parts of Main, NH, and heck even go all the way to Vermont. But right now, this long weekend was very nice, and just what I needed.
Monday April 18, 2005
My last day in Boston I had visions of going to Harvard or down to Boston Common again to see the outside of the Cheers Bar, but alas, I decided instead to sleep in and be a bump on a log. It actually turned out to be a good thing since it helped keep my system on West Coast time.
The flight back was OK, but again I vowed never to fly a 737 cross country. It is hilarious when people have to pass in the dinky aisles. I should have watched the movie, but I was too busy with the Gorn photos to pay any attention.
I am glad that I have Thursday and Friday off again as my normal days off. It will give me a chance to catch up on everything around the house and settle back into the swing of things.