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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Chinatown bus goes to Boston...

Back from Boston now. Sitting at home relaxing with a beer and reflecting on the weekend. I like traveling, especially now that there's that added element of having to take all sorts of public transit so I feel that much lighter when I do travel. I packed up a duffel bag and carried just that and my shoulder bag to work that day so I could leave straight from, no car to worry about parking or fueling. Just as long as I could make it to whatever terminal I was leaving from, I'd be fine. And traveling solo can make you feel even lighter, but traveling with a companion can be just as fun. This trip was actually conceived because Karishma was planning on meeting a friend in Boston, just to get out of the city for the weekend and I realized that going with Karishma would be the perfect excuse to get out and go meet up with Jeff and Debbie for the weekend. I hadn't been to Boston since I was ten either.

I was planning on leaving straight after work for Chinatown to catch the Fung Wah bus, the oldest running Chinatown bus service between New York City and Boston. I met Karishma outside the Grand Street subway and, from there, we decided to throw out our plans of hitting a specific dumping shop, across the street and down a block, and, instead, to get dumplings at the first place that looked good. We opted for a hole in the wall on Chrystie Street, the name of which escapes me, ordered a good amount of food and carried it over to the place where we were to meet the bus. There was a little window in the side of the building with signs for our bus company all over it so we went up to the window to check in. After telling us to sign our ticket stubs she directed us to go wait down on the corner for the bus. So we went looking for the corner she was talking about and had to circle almost half the block before we actually found it. Confident we were in the right place, we promptly got out our food and began wolfing it down, Karishma with hers coated in too much hot sauce. An older Chinese man stopped on the sidewalk beside us and started to eyeball Karishma's dumplings, all cradled in styrofoam and piping hot. I thought he was going to ask her for some, but instead, he pointed out that it was good food we were eating and then launched into his life history, starting in some obscure town in China that was near India, and led through every other city in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Sydney, Australia and a bunch of other places I couldn't remember. I was too busy eating some awesome pork dumplings. A little pre boarding entertainment from yet another one of the city's characters.

When the little ladies with the red shirts and the walkie talkies came around to check our tickets, they gave an approving nod and a proud look when they saw that we had already had them stamped and signed and we proceeded to board. When we got situated, our driver came over the intercom and assured us that he wasn't going to lie to us and that we were in for a long bus ride. He had seen the northbound traffic on I-95 on his way down and decided that we should avoid it, adding almost another hour onto the trip. We drove through the city to the Bronx instead of getting on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and cruised at a decent speed for what was basically an uneventful four and a half hour trip. The lights of Boston were pretty impressive and I was surprised to see us plunge into an underground tunnel before coming up to the bus station. I had no idea before this weekend about the "big dig," the interstate being underground and all those other things that Jeff told me about associated with the Boston transportation system.

Jeff agreed to meet us at Davis Station because it was about as far for us from South Station as it was from his house in Medford. Sleepy Medford. It was a short ride to Jeff's place and we soon crashed after talking over what we might do the next day. I expressed a desire to take it easy and do mostly free stuff (except eating and drinking of course).

On the agenda for Saturday was to tour Harvard and then go into the city and try and tour the Harpoon brewery and if that was a bust we would just walk around the Back Bay area. Harvard was nice, we took half of a student guided unofficial tour and slipped away from the crowd around the memorial hall portion of the tour and then headed over to Harpoon which was off of the Silver line somewhere on the outskirts of downtown Boston. Karishma left us around Park Street to meet the friends that she'd be staying with for the rest of the weekend. Harpoon's tours were sold out so we checked out the bar area, used their restroom and headed back towards the Back Bay area and walked the Boston Commons area and on through the Public Gardens and down to the Boston Public Library, before heading back to Medford to let the Pug Lola out and eat dinner. That night we went out to Old Magoun's Saloon and had some tasty beers. Here are pics from Chinatown and the first day in Boston:
(The first three are in Chinatown NYC)

Boston, Day 1

I'll write more about the second day and overall impressions tomorrow. I'm too exhausted right now.

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