I decided that I needed to get away, and away far and somewhere differentish. So I choose Boston. I had to fly from Dublin to Heathrow and then Heathrow to Boston. Doing it this way worked out about £180 less than flying direct from Dublin.
On the first night in Dublin I headed into the city to meet up with someone I met on one of my ICS holidays. I had two winning scratch cards that were worth €10 –I got 10 more €1 cards. Of those 10 I did quite well and won a total of €31 (€2,€2,€4 and a €25). So next time in Donegal I’ll get another €31 worth of cards (I mean €31 euros isn’t going to change my life-is it?).
The flight to Boston started at 7:40 am from Dublin. And I had to be there 3 hours prior to take off to check in-so I had to be there for 4:40 am. I got to Boston at 13:30 (Boston time). So I was 7 hours in air. The room in hotel is much bigger than I expected.
After checking in I walked round the block and called into a bar called M J Connors-obviously an Irish bar. The bar maid was from Cork and was very chatty and recommended places to go and see. Two men beside me at the bar were talking music and I joined in (as I do). They were two brothers, on was called Jay, and I forget the other one’s name. After they left to go to a concert the barmaid came over to me and said “Do you know who THAT was?” I said “No. Why?” and she said the one who was sitting beside me was Whitey Bulger’s lawyer-Jay Leno. I did a search on internet later, and sure enough it was the very same person. Surprisingly, I am not sleeping with the fishes.
At breakfast in a café next door to the pub I got talking to an English couple called Kevin and Theresa. I said with names like that they must have an Irish connection-they laughed and said yes. They were touring with a company called Travelsphere and gave me a brief description of their syllabus –sounded good to me. I actually met quite a few other people from their group-I think there was about 40 in it.
On the Saturday I took a coach trip out into the New England countryside. Weather was not great, so I did not get the views I was hoping for. We stopped in a little village called Kennebunk,Maine. Pretty touristy, but nice. On the trip we passed through another little seaside village-waves were high, weather was miserable-but there was loads of surfers out doing their bit. There was also a McDonalds –that was boarded up-seems it shuts during the off season. We also passed George Bush’s summer home-apparently he and Nancy were in. as the flag was flying. There was A LOT of big houses around here-obviously a very affluent area.
That night at the bar there was an annoying English man at the bar, who complaining the lack of Caffreys and Kilkenny beers. And that he got them in New York and moaned on. I interrupted (idiot that I am) and said that I was from Ireland and it was very rare to see these beers even in Ireland, and anyways hardly anybody likes them. I was lumbered with this this buffoon for the rest of the night-I got a look of sympathy from the bar maid. I got away as quickly as I could.
On Sunday I did the heritage walk with a group and guide. She asked if there were any English people in the group-reckon this was because her script had some anti-Engllish its in it. She asked us all to say where we were from, when it came to me I said Northern Ireland but that I had an Irish passport, and that on forms where it says Nationality I write “confused.” I got talking to people on the group, one guy asked me “What brought you to Boston?” and I said “British Airways.” And then I told him the real reason. After the walk I hooked up with a couple from Baltimore and we went off to the Cheers bar for something to eat and then we went out to Harvard for a look around. After we parted I got the train out to see the JFK museum –which was great.
Decided to give the bar a miss-in order to miss the annoying English man and hit the bar in the hotel instead. And also decided to stick to the Sprite too (as the Sprite was on tap, I liked the way I got a top up)-and got some fries too, which to me were drowned in salt. The person beside was actually the guide from the travel group and he gave me links to a couple of touring groups and his own. Noticed something pretty strange at the bar in hotel-they do not serve more than 2 drinks to one person at a time, if they are at the bar on their own.
Next day I decided to do the hop on/hop off bus –to make a start on my little shopping list. And the table tennis bat at the top of my list. I got a blank look in the first sports shop that I went into-he did not know what I was talking about, I quickly discovered that over there they are called Ping Pong Paddles. They had none any ways. He directed me to another sports shop called Modells. Went there-and they had none left. Later on the bus trip we passed Fenway Park. Whilst walking round the block I saw a bar/restaurant called Blazing Paddles and it had Ping Pong Paddles on its logo-good omen I thought. No. they just rent them, BUT the waitress told me the store where they get them-Target. So I went there to try-no. Apparently they sold the last lot to…..yep-Blazzing Paddles.
Gave the pub a miss again, mainly as there was no seats at the bar, and I could not see the Cork bar maid. At hotel bar I got talking to a guy who was there on a 24 hour Hackathon. He asked me if had seen much USA TV and we discussed a few shows. I told him I got the Pixies CD-he said he was a fan. When I said my favourite Pixies song was “Monkey Gone To Heaven” he said that he did not know that one. That night I called into a 7-11 store and got 2 scratch cards @ $2 each-I won $4. There was a beggar outside-I gave him the cards and told him if he uses them for 2 more and wins the big money, to give me a mention on TV. ANOTHER THING to get rid of loose change I would give coins to beggars-one woman looked at them removed the coppers and said “I don’t want THEM” and tried to give them back to me and then threw them on the street.
Final day with time to kill I walked up to Quincey Market and Fanuel Hall. Somebody told of a shop there that might do Ping Pong Paddles-Newbury Comics.
They actually did have them-BUT it was the really cheap ones a kiddie would play with. In the comic section I asked about a particular comic and the attendant had no idea what I was talking about, he had to check it on the computer to see if they had it.
HMMP the guys in The Big Bang Theory would be in a state of shock at this.
I tried another part of the Freedom trail on my own. In an American/Italian district I came across a lovely little book shop called I Am Books. Got talking to the owner he asked me about the last book I read. I said “High Fidelity” and told him my Nick Hornby story. He said that he had the Italian version of the book and reached down and showed it to me..
So all in I had a good time there. I would go back again but as part of a group. As Joanne said it’s nice being able to turn to someone and say “Gord, would you look at the cut of that!” Once again to busy to spell check-extra/hidden bit is on the other blog…still working on photos will email ones I have emails for when done, but my id on flickr is gerdybaby.