Jul 8, 2007

Ay Caramba!!

That's a lot of Massachusetts!!!

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the nonstop Ishie ego site, where I blog about my general adventures while incoming SGU students try desperately to sift through to find some substance, and a big hello to all my Annex peeps out there.

Happy belated Independence Day to all my fellow colonists out there, and happy uhh... any other day to everyone else. And to our former owners, we love you, England, we really do. We just also really love blowing things up.

So, where was I? I'm going to separate this into a few entires, because in the last couple of days I have walked the Freedom Trail, fought 600,000 people for a 4th of July on the banks of Boston's Charles River right outside the Esplanade, been pulled in to get a close up view of a hemiarthroscopy, and burned around Cape Cod. And to think, I just wanted to bum around this summer. Of course, that's still pretty much bumming around. It's just bumming around while spending more money. Where's that loan when you need it? LONG BLOG POST ALERT (but lots of pictures!!)

I guess I'll go in order... Previously, I blogged about driving in Boston with the chief, oft repeated advice of "don't ever do it", since the drivers are insane, and they fail to mark ANYTHING.

Turns out Boston doesn't want you driving in Boston either, a feature I noticed when I went to pick up my dad at Logan airport and decided to take the *smart* way in: the MBTA, as noted before. As I pull into Alewife station, I notice that they expressly tell you NOT to drive. This would also explain how Paul Revere mananged to complete his ride, though they no longer allow horses on the subway.

Speaking of Paul Revere, as this statue demonstrates, he doesn't actually ride all that well, and in said graven image, he is not only COMPLETELY in his horse's mouth to a degree that I'm surprised it hasn't bucked him off, but he's kind of skewed backwards with his legs sticking out. Paul Revere's Fall. One if by buck. Two if by rear.

Paul: "Whoooooaaaaaaa... I really wish I'd sprung the 9 bucks for that Charlie Ticket!"

Fortunately, Washington is a better rider. This may explain why we won the Revolutionary War. Riding lessons.

George: "Dammit Paul, be secure in the saddle, and quiet your hands!"
John and Ringo: "She loves you; yeah yeah yeah."

Anyway, parked at the Alewife station, which is 5 bucks for 24 hours of parking, which, combined with the 9 dollars a person for an all day bus/rail pass, is probably the second best money I've ever spent (the first best was the 40 bucks I spent for a 9 hour trip around Margarita Island).

Nowwwww all night long Charlie rides through the station crying "What will become of me? How can I afford to see my sister in Chelsea or my cousin in Roxbury?"

So for this low 14$ price, you can ride around ALL day and never once have to get behind a steering wheel. They have the best public transport I've ever seen, even besting San Francisco, which I always thought was pretty high end, and EVERYTHING is labeled and explained. Apparently, when Boston was allocating an "informative signs" budget, it all went underground, leaving nary a road sign to assist the unwary drivers above. Is that how you spell "nary"? Moving on.

Picked up dad at the airport by transferring a couple of trains and then taking the shuttle over to Logan, which, of course, is all part of that 9 dollars. I'm liking Boston more and more by this point, thus I can now honestly say, which I could not previously, that I am fond of Boston rather than thinking it should be turned into smoldering nuclear rubble, and that's saying a lot after that day of trying to drive through it!

Dropped his luggage back at the car and set to do the Freedom Trail, which is apparently one of the most famous historic trails in the United States. We unfortunately managed to skip the first couple of stops (like where Sam Adams and Paul Revere are buried, whoops), but started in the King's Chapel, and their requisite cemetery so at least we've seen John Winslow and Mary Chilton's death marker, and that's something, right?

I see dead people. By the way, noting the similarity between the design on the closest grave marker and Skullhead Boneyhands from Animaniacs is unamerican. Be advised.

Highlights... hmmm... it was cool. The Freedom Trail is very well marked by either a series of double bricks in the sidewalk, or where that fails, a painted red line.

In places, it seems somewhat arbitrary, taking long ways to cross the street, and going suspiciously out of its way to hit gift shops, but this 2.5 mile trail takes you by Faneil Hall, Quincy Market, the Old North Church, Paul Revere Mall, Paul Revere's House, the first school, Bunker Hill, King's Chapel, the USS Constitution, Boston Harbor, and the site of the Boston Massacre, and nowhere nearly in that order. To compensate, here's some pictures:

Okay, that's actually in Townsend, Mass, which is a cute well-patriotically decorated little town en route to Alewife station. But hey, nice July 3rd stuff, right?

One if by land:

Two if by sea:

Apparently, the "super" duck tour refers to the "super" feeling of relief you get *if* you manage to make it back to shore without drowning in Boston harbor from capsizing your listing, four-wheeled, fully-unseaworthy little thingamajig that makes the watertight old style VW Bug look like Old Ironsides in comparison.

See, I was worried people would forget I was in New England, thus necessitating the token church, though technically this is a meeting hall, so there you go. You can tell we're actually in a big city though due to the counterintuitive giant buildings behind it. Boston is kind of cool that way, particularly to those of us from Northern California who are unfamiliar with anything built before 1906.

Yeah! No tax on tea!!! Except... uhh... there's a tax on tea now... but most of it is Lipton, which already tastes like it's been dumped into a harbor, making future Boston tea parties somewhat redundant. D'oh. Incidentally, we're still paying a 'stamp tax'. But... uh... our military doesn't have to wear those red coats that scream 'please hide in the woods and shoot me', so I'm going to still say we came out ahead.

Yeah, they have these guys everywhere, but I still love them. Despite living in driving distance of San Francisco for years, I'd still head over to Pier 39/Ghiradelli Square/Fisherman's Wharf to see the performers (and the sea lions), and these ones are dressed in colonial best! The performers, not the sea lions. Sea lions are hard to get into bonnets due to the large teeth.

Hmm... "Hanging with St. Francis" sounds like a Tori Amos song, doesn't it?

No, this is not just another generic church; it's the Old North Church, so show some respect!

Kids, don't drink and drive... but if you do, drink Dr. Mcgillicuddy's!

Some of the places along the Freedom Trail are open with a suggested donation, and in some places, that suggestion becomes mandatory, but still, doing the Freedom Trail yourself is quite affordable. There are a lot of actors in costumes doing presentations about the history, which is always a treat. Even more of a treat was in the Old North Church, accidentally (sort of) getting pulled into the "Behind the Scenes" tour, and getting to climb halfway up the steeple to see where they'd come into put out the "one if by land; two if by sea" lights, and where Paul Revere had started the first bellringers guild as a teenager, and all the bellringing information contained within. I bowed out before getting taken down to the crypt, not because I wasn't interested, but because I figured I'd pressed my luck for long enough and didn't want to get 'discovered' in my unauthorized tour groupage. Bad Ishie.

The bell ropes and the tour guide whom I suspect knew I wasn't supposed to be there since when she did her count she said "close enough", but chose not to rat me out to the Man. Thanks tour guide!

Inside the main part of the church, they were giving an explanation of the history of the Old North Church, and interestingly, instead of normal pews, the church had sort of... they probably have a technical name I'm forgetting, but boxes for entire families that could be bought and decorated back in the day so that you didn't have to be bothered to mingle with riff raff while in church. Nice, eh? But posh! The other churches I didn't notice being similarly equipped, so apparently, it was just the Anglicans that were rich?

The clock has been working (though I think it needs to be wound) since it was created back in Colonial times, and those cherubs up there were actually stolen off someone else's ship (Canada?) and donated to the church. Boston took the unprecedented step of offering to give them back but the victims said "Eh, keep em; you've had them long enough..."

Oh, no, I'm wrong about the pews/boxes... my pictures of Kings Chapel reveal similar boxes, just apparently my lack of an attention span, so instead of deleting that last bit, I'll leave it in for kicks.

And speaking of Kings Chapel, taa daa:

Quincy Market is a definite lunch spot and is essentially the nation's largest food court, with some awesome seafood and a host of other things, one of which, is a huge crowd of people, apparently at all times. Best to eat outside.

I couldn't board the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, because it was closed, but it's still a really cool ship that they apparently take out every year to stretch her... uhhh... rudder? Sails! That's it, sails.

There's also a destroyer at the other side of the shipyard whose name and
significance I've forgotten but it does possess a number of flags, and flags are always cool, right?

Bunker Hill... which in no way resembles a giant phallus... I wanted to climb up, because it apparently affords an incredible view of Boston, but the ability to climb it closed for the evening 15 minutes before we got there, so we sat in the battlefield eating lemon sorbet because battlefields always make nice picnic spots and boring field trips.

(Is Boston compensating for something??)

As it got late in the day and our feet were getting sore, we found ourself at the US shipyard with no real intention of walking all the way back, and no train station near by, but we did managed to hop a bus (REALLY good public transport), got directions to a seafood restaurant (I'm eating so much seafood in New England, I think I'm growing gills) from one of the stationmasters, and headed to the No Name, which is way down in the loading docks where you'd never expect there to be a restaurant.

Getting there was weird because Boston has something called the Silver Line, which is essentially... a subway without a train. A city bus drives in pre-made winding tunnels, identical to the subways but better lit, but without that pesky track, you just have a driver whose entire life must be like driving on the freeway when they put up those concrete barriers that make you feel like you're on a slolum course. Ahhhh!!!!!!!!!!

The restaurant was cool though, and one of those kitchy little places that I adore. Good lobster.

Then it was back through the silver line, back to the trains, back to Alewife and home by 1:30 in the morning, only to wake up at 6:30 and do it all over again for the 4th!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Hanging with St. Francis" does sound like a Tori song. Someone get Tori on the phone, stat! Haha!

- Patrick