Journal 4 - October 8, 2002

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Journal 4
Chowda, da Sox, kawfee, Ben Franklin, brownstone brick buildings, and history, lots of history, that's what Boston is all about, not to mention the J-Crew dress code, which I clearly didn't adhere to. Not only J-Crew, but J-Crew with a haircut, something I haven't had for about three months, much to the chagrin of the Boston women, each of them with nary a hair out of place. This in contrast to my curling frizzy locks, stepping onto The T, disheveled and wearing shorts, t-shirt, and flip-flops. The T is Boston's creaking relic of a subway, which is cute in a turn-of-the century way, and if you have a century to get to your destination. But Boston is a town of history, and one century is nothing compared to the old brick buildings, cemeteries, churches, and hundreds of old white men whose names I was supposed to memorize in grade school.

It was great to see the history and be in a town that offered two in ten people smiling back at me as opposed to the one in ten smiles I received in New York. I started off by walking what is called the Freedom Trail, a three-mile long walk that takes visitors to many of Boston's main points of historical interest, each of which seems to be exponentially older than the last. All of these things are also hundreds of years older than our own country.

Along the walk I saw Boston Common, our country's oldest park, the State House, complete with a shimmering 23k golden dome that would make any Notre Dame alumnus jealous, Paul Rever's grave, along with many other graves and statues of people I was supposed to be impressed by. Of course I was impressed, it's impossible not to be impressed walking on bricks that really are older than dirt. The monuments are interspersed throughout Boston, so the three miles can be done in two hours, or ten, depending on how distracted you allow yourself to be by the shops, plaques, bricks, churches, gas-lamps, and bricks.

One of the many impressive sights was the neighborhood of Beacon Hill, which like everything else is hundreds of years old. The Hill is Boston's most expensive neighborhood, but if you're picturing sprawling estates and huge yards, you're wrong; the neighborhood is made up of narrow streets and old brick, and or cobblestone roads and alleyways. The beauty of this neighborhood is difficult to describe. It was like going back in time. The gas-lamps that line the streets remain lit 24 hrs. a day, this because it costs less money to keep them lit than it does to pay someone to light them every day. The roads are narrow, everything is red or brown from the bricks, the tress are healthy and full, so they help shade the streets, thus contributing to the contrasting specks of bright light created by the gas-lamps. I've never been to Europe, so my pathetic comparison will have to come from my humble beginnings in California. A make believe street in Disneyland is the only thing I can compare Beacon Hill to, which of course doesn't do it justice, and I'm sure old Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave as I type this.

Amongst the sixty-something universities and colleges in Boston, there are working people too, the Bostonians shared with the New Yorkers the common theme of no eye contact, and only an occasional smile, some of which may have been accidental. I guess I have to face it, city people are busy, and they can't be bothered to waste their time smiling at a country bumpkin like me. I was all smiles, sitting on the subway with my camera, map, and water bottle, ready to go and see the sites while they schlepped their way to work.

Thanks to my friend Alegra and her roommates, I had a beautiful place to stay near Boston University, which is right near Boston College, which is right near...

Well, I could go on, but the $0.30 a minute is a little too steep here at Kinko's. Fortunately there are many internet cafes in New York that are much more reasonable and have better equipment. Things are great so far, tomorrow or the next day I'll tell you all about my trip to New Hampshire, Vermont, and the turning of the leaves. And eventually I'll figure out how to use my digital camera so I can include pictures to go along with my rambling descriptions of these places.

I forgot to mention in my previous emails that I got to say it. The answer to the proverbial question, "what do you do?" My response? "I'm a world traveler," I'd been waiting to say that. Just a mini-highlight from the many awesome experiences I've had in the few weeks I've been on the east coast. Blah, blah, I know you all have work to do. Until the next time, it's great to be back in New York.

Justin