Date of Trip: May 2007
Ah Cambridge, Mass.! What a delightful city! And when you have a suitable guide, one who has a zest for life (driven by fear? love? hatred? awe?), someone who embodies her surroundings, wherever they may be, even the most morose dullard (me) will be provided with a nice primer of the city.
I left from Central New Jersey for the Boston area at about 2 p.m. on Friday. A slight mistake, at about 4:30 I was subsumed by a rush-hour blob of traffic on Rt. 84 between Waterbury and Hartford. You see — as was explained to me later — instead of circumnavigating cities as many major highways do, Rt. 84 goes directly through Hartford, causing bottlenecks at each exit.
When I finally arrived, the Boston area struck me as a bit of a driving nightmare. My friend, who spent four years at Wellesley, and a year in Boston’s working world since, continues to learn about the complicated road system. And though we did drive during the weekend, we also used public transport: the red-line subway route and the bus. We also did a lot of walking. Boston/Cambridge is a great walking city, and many, many people do mostly that to get around. It’s supposedly one of the healthiest cities in the U.S., and indeed, there was a remarkable absence of fatties.
After an introduction to her German roommate “Franz” and a beer on the roof, we headed off to meet two pals at the People’s Republik, a “communist” bar, with an abundance of red décor and walls adorned with communist paraphernalia/propaganda (see hale looking Mao). A bit kitschy perhaps, but the choice of beers on tap were very good.
Though I had stopped at Taco Bell on the ride up, by 11 p.m. we were both famished. We headed to B-Sides, a place that I don’t remember much about except for the startlingly excellent food. We ordered three apps to split: a shrimp “po boy” sandwich, a cucumber and tomato salad with some sort of vinaigrette, and the best mussels I’ve ever had. More than satisfied grunting and the occasional mutual looks of approval, there wasn’t much communication during the meal, which is a great indication of the quality of the meal.
The next morning, the paper thin blinds let a piercing shaft of light laser me in the face, waking me up at 8 a.m. with a mild sun burn. It was time for a Boston tradition anyway — brunch. We met some friends at local place that served huge bloody Marys.
Anyway, I’m running out of steam, so here’s a run down of the rest of the trip:
* Attended a roller derby match
* Went to a party on the 26th floor of one of Boston’s few high-rises. As a neighborhood-y city full of three and four story buildings, these relatively new high-rises are changing the landscape. The views were something
* Ate Doritos on the roof
* Brunch Sunday morning at The Neighborhood where I consumed a Portuguese Breakfast: fried meat pie, crab cake, fried shrimp pie, linguica (a sausage), hash browns, three eggs, toast, fruit, orange juice, mimosa
* Met up with high school prom date (now living in Boston) for ice cream and nostalgic reminiscences
* A stop at Boston’s famous Harvard bookstore, perusing the remaindered and used sections
* Meandered through the street fair that was going on during that weekend