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It was an adventure. It always is, though, when I get together with the BFF. We drove up Saturday morning, and got there around 1. BFF swears by her GPS, so we plugged it into my car and it was surprisingly useful. I harbor a suspicion for many electronic devices, because they aren't totally reliable — and TomTom did crap out a couple of times — and I think it's so important to maintain basic knowledge. Like knowing how to read a map. (I remember driving around NY two summers ago, and asking my sister to look at the map. Her response: "I don't read maps." My response: "Whuh?") But we managed pretty well with the GPS device. We got to the Hilton in Woburn, MA, which was only 20 minutes from the Boston. The hotel had a slightly retro vibe, with mustard-brown colored carpet and taupe walls, but it was clean, nicely appointed, and we had a room overlooking the atrium. The room has this sliding door, and you can step out onto your carpeted balcony above the hotel bar, pool, and restaurant, but you're protected from the elements by a huge slanted glass wall, so it's like being outside without the weather. The view from the balcony: Nice, huh? One other bonus was that staying in a room above the atrium means you can catch the free wifi signal coming from the lobby. We relaxed in the room for a bit (a 5 hour drive is tiring), made reservations at Legal Seafood, per Wife's suggestion, and then headed to Boston. No particular destination in mind, we ended up on Boylston Street, parked, and started walking. Always in the mood for Thai, we stopped in at Bangkok Blue, where BFF had mediocre pad thai, and I had amazing chicken panang. We wanted to sit outside, but the hostess looked ominously at the overcast sky, asking, "Are you sure? It's going to rain soon." It looked cloudy, but not rainy, and I almost objected, but decided to defer to her. And, wow, am I glad I did. It was sprinkling by the time we finished eating, but when we were ready to head outside, it was pouring. I didn't have an umbrella — since I've gone natural, I've proudly eschewed all forms of rain gear — and BFF had a tiny one, which I insisted she use for herself ("I'd rather have you dry, then both of us partially wet"). I stepped outside gamely, and was soaked to the skin within 30 seconds. I was wearing a skirt and a white tank top, and a white kid riding by on his bike took note of this, asking where my umbrella was, then shaking his head at my lack of common sense. And of course, as he rode away, shouted, "wet t-shirt contest!!" (And yet, he was oddly polite the entire time. I had trouble gauging Bostonians, because they all seemed really mellow and nice, which is antithetical to the New Yorker.) By the time I got back to the car, I looked like a drowned rat. BFF was mostly intact, however, due to her ingenuity and force of will. We drove back to the hotel, put on PJs, hung up our wet clothes, and chilled for a while, watching Fox News*. We eventually dragged ourselves back to the car, drove to State Street, and walked around the Long Wharf, Faneuil Hall, and Quincy Market. The wharf was really cool, and we summarily decided to purchase a boat together. Dinner was at 9, and because it was really busy, our poor waiter started off by simultaneously greeting us and the young couple next to us. I felt bad, because he had clearly been double-sat (sat with two parties at the same time), which is one of those things hosts try to avoid at all costs. I expressed outrage at the injustice, and he was great to us the entire night. Of course, the fact that we splurged on lobster and wine may have helped, but he seemed genuine. We chatted when he came to our table, and it turned out he was born in North Africa, which explained the accent and the middle eastern look. He was henceforth known as our Sexy North African Server. He even tied our lobster bibs on for us, sexily, of course, and he gave me his e-mail address to send him the pictures we took with him. 20% for you, sir! Post-dinner, BFF drove us back to the hotel, and we passed out like negroes after a church picnic. The next morning was absolutely gorgeous. Puffy white clouds in a bright blue sky, and warm but breezy. We got brunch in Cambridge, at a place called the B-Side Lounge. We ordered a bunch of food, but BFF's pancakes were like cardboard, and she ate less than half of them, so we asked the server to take them off the bill. She acted like it was a huge inconvenience, and said she'd have to 'ask the chef.' Considering the fact that our bill was over $50, I didn't think it would be much of a stretch to take a $5 item off of it, and the chef concurred. But I thought it was strange she seemed so put-upon. When I thanked her, and told her everything else was delicious, she gave me a very ... sarcastic look. 15% for you, ma'am! We drove to Harvard, and caught the free Unofficial Harvard Tour. The tour guides, Harvard students, were funny, and it seemed like we got a lot of tidbits that probably weren't on the official tour. The guides walked backward the entire time, and enunciated very well (how old am I? "Enunciated very well"?? Sheesh!). Peep the "Hahvahd" shirts. Yes, that is how people talk in Boston. 'Charges' = 'Chaaahges.' We walked around Cambridge, and down to the Charles River, which is etched in my mind as the site of super-trippy Harvard Man, one of my fave guilty pleasures. After that, it was time to head home. The weather was mostly beautiful and sunny, with a lovely cool breeze. Somewhere in Connecticut, I was leaning out of the passenger side window enjoying the sun and the breeze when the Mack truck next to us honked. I looked up, and this Cletus-the-Slack-Jawed-Yokel-looking-dude had pressed a piece of yellow construction paper to his window. "U R HOT" it read, in black magic marker. I started laughing, he was grinning, and a good time was had by all. I guess you have to make your own fun when you're on the road for days at a time. By the time we arrived in New Jersey, around Newark, it had started pouring again, but we got a nice welcome-back present... *A note on Fox News: I finally understand why people call it Faux News. It's amazing that there is a channel which calls itself news and is yet and still, consistently, undeniably, wrong and a proud propagator of false facts.

2 new thought(s):

the joy said...

that hotel... is fly. ha! im sorry, but that kid is classic. but at the end you had fun, and it was an adventure, just like you said.

Jon said...

It wasn't two days ago that I came across a picture, tucked unceremoniously away in my night stand, of a certain JEA/NSPA fall convention trip to Boston.

A giant FAO Schwartz bear was surrounded by what appeared to be infants. It was then that I felt old.