Out on the Razzle in America

United Kingdom
Freelance writer, literary graduate and minor lad. In America for pleasure, not business. I've never been before, so I thought I should. Should I have done it all at once? Can it all be done at once? Only one way to find out...

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Boston, Day One. Storm in a...Tea Party...?

Mmm, woeful title. In New England, it seems fitting to begin with that most english of topics: the weather. Boston's weather has taken a tropical tinge today it seems, and a torrential downpour scuppered my plans to walk the city in the morning. Instead, I holed up in the Boston Public library, and the subway.
The library is lovely. The subway less so. The library is a grand, imposing city-block's worth of book-toting and smug patriotism, well made, well stocked, and sporting a smashing fountain inside a courtyard that wouldn't look place outside renaissance Venice. It reeks of that casual opulence that one associates with the USA's centres of learning. The subway meanwhile, just reeks. The grubby tunnels don't even sport proper platforms (you have to get up into the trains). Nevertheless, it does the job quickly and pretty cheaply - $9 for a day.
By the time I came out at the Government Centre the sun had come out, (properly, judging by my red neck), and I walked up to the wharfside. A man had done an abstract watercolour sketch of the rain-soaked watercraft and the heavy sky. The clouds looked realistic enough, which probably means it wasn't a very good painting. I didn't tell him, because he looked pleased with himself.
As with any major tourist spot, the centre of Boston, during working hours, is perhaps 1% Bostonian. As a result, it is totally overpriced and you are lucky if you hear English spoken, let alone an Irish twang. My taxi driver was Haitian, and took a quick citizenship test in the car on the way from the airport - "Name two national Haalidays" says generic lady, "New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Independence Day...". He wanted to come to London, to take his daughter to Diana's grave. Nowhere else, just there. Incidentally, by the wharf, opposite Victoria's Secret, alongside Wagamama's, is a replica Cheers. Where absolutely nobody knows your name.
In fact, it has been very hard to meet any Americans at all. The waitress that served my clam chowder (when in Rome) seemed totally thrown when I asked where she went out. Over the water it seems. So, the north side and Harvard is where I'm off to tomorrow. Weather permitting of course.

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