Boston, MA Felix Wong

April 15, 2005 Fri 1:45am: After a full day of travel, I made it to the Hostelling International hostel in Boston, where I’ll be staying for most of the night. My main purpose here, other than to check out the city for the first time, is to offer moral support for my friends Chris, Russ, Sharon, and Steve at the Boston Marathon. Some notes:

  • Mass transit seems very good here; just took a shuttle to the “T” (the subway), and for a buck-twenty-five, got to the Back Bay part of Boston with no problem. Also, I was just talking with a Brit named Nathan, who’s been here for a few days already, and he says the city is so walkable he hasn’t even jumped on the subway since getting here.
  • Met another British guy too, from London. We had a nice chat for about an hour, including a number of political topics such as capital punishment, urban sprawl, energy, the President, work & life balance, etc. I came out of the conversation feeling once again that politically I have much more in common with the Europeans than my fellow Americans, but will elave it at that.
  • I couldn’t help but notice Nathan, the younger Brit, was wearing a Livestrong bracelet. Apparently, these are really hot items in Britain, esp. after their footballers started wearing them. They are really hard to find over there too, he says. So he’s been buying a few over here (at Niketown, etc.) and then sending them back to his brother and friends.

It’s late now, so more later.

[Days later]: I did a tour around Boston with my friends from California. The wonderful thing about Boston is it is fairly compact and easy to walk around, with an excellent mass transit system. We also did a trolley tour but honestly it would have been just as easy to go around on foot/subway and save the $25.

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Coming from the Back Bay of Boston to the Public Garden, one can see the statue of Paul Revere who made his famous midnight ride over to Samuel Adams.In Boston Common--founded in 1634 and the nation's oldest park--is the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial, a commemoration of Boston's Civil Unit of Free Blacks.Felix Wong inside a little forum-like structure at Boston Common.The Boston Athenaeum, a large collection of books that gave Boston its monikor of being the "Athens of America" since 1819.I used to think Berkeley had the highest Saab-per-capita ratio in the States, but Boston beats it!  Also, there were a ton of VWs.  This picture also shows the typical townhome architecture in Beacon Hill.Acorn St. in Beacon Hill is narrow and is comprised solely of cobblestones, making it "the most photographed road in Boston".Theresa Heinz Kerry bought this home in Louisburg Square in Beacon Hill, and tried (obviously unsuccessfully) to get the fire hydrant removed since she kept getting so many parking tickets!This is the view of the Boston Harbor around the area of the Children's Museum and, more important, where the Boston Tea Party took place.  A lot of construction is underway.There were several sidewalk merchants along Washington Street from the Government Center to Chinatown.Back at the Comfort Inn, we discovered quite comedically that Sharon's room was connected to Russ' & my room through a side door.  But everytime someone would knock we would open the wrong door!Russ in front of the Paul Revere House.We waited for about an hour to be able to get a free tour of the USS Constitution, America's first and the world's oldest warship.  It is 42-0 in battle and even has some castings from Paul Revere's foundry company.The sleeping quarters on the lowest (third) floor) of the USS Constitution.Bunker Hill, which the British took but suffered massive losses, giving the American revolutionaries a big confidence boost.A miniature model of the battle on Bunker Hill, as seen inside the Bunker Hill museum.Sharon in front of an "Industry" statue in Boston Common.At first it may look like I took a picture of Steve with half of his head cut off.  But I was actually trying to take a picture of a bag of zip ties he randomly found laying on the ground at Boston Common.  It was hilarious because he kept wishing for a zip tie to attach his race sensor to his shoe all morning!Many notable people from the 18th century were buried at Granary Cemetery including the mother of Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and many more.Here's a tombstone for John Hancock, whose signature appears first on the Declaration of Independence.  He owned slaves, by the way, proving that not even the "Founding Fathers" of our country were infallible...In the Public Gardens, swanboat rides were given for the first time this year...... so of course Sharon and I had to go on them.We then headed over to Chinatown, specifically to a restaurant named China Pearl.We had dim sum in China Pearl.  You can see Gail, Steve, and Russ in this photo.Back at Boston Common I kept trying to get Sharon to buy this *ABSOLUTELY GREAT* T-shirt for her niece Emmalee, but for some reason, she refused, getting her a T-shirt that had boring townhomes on it instead!Sharon in front of the Cheers bar in Faneuil Hall (pronounced "fen-you'll"), which was modeled after the TV set.  The "real" Cheers bar which inspired the TV show is just a mile away off of Beacon St. across from Boston Common.Our entire group just chillin' by the Boston Harbor near the Aquarium: Russ, Steve, Ann, Joycelyn, Gail, Sharon, and Felix.

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