Boston Massachusetts

I’m writing this on Thursday. It’s raining outside – so there’s plenty of reading going on. I can’t remember what we did on Monday, other than visit very hot Malls (outside they were hot, inside they were air conditioned). Tuesday we went to see Harry Potter (6 or 7!) and yesterday Sharon and I went to Boston for the day.

It was a little overcast and the entire day in Boston was plagued with low cloud and mild precipitation. Gail dropped us off at the station in Providence and we went to the kiosk to buy tickets (like you do). However, the kiosk men pointed at the café opposite and said “Boston Tickets” with a flurry of pointing and arm gestures that seemed to imply that we should buy our tickets at the café.  As the café looked inordinately busy we were reluctant to do this, but felt obliged to do so by the constant gesturing. At the café itself there appeared to be two queues so we joined the shorted one only to realise that the longer queue did in fact lead to tickets for Boston. This was ascertained by reading the cardboard and marker pen signs above the till that said: ‘MBTA (Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority – I think) Boston tickets – CASH ONLY’.

Being cosmopolitan travellers and used to the ubiquitous acceptance of credit cards for travel (and an alarming sparcity of cash) we didn’t believe this final instruction until we were told face-to-face “cash only!” “But”, I asked “surely there’s a place we can buy tickets with our credit card as we are travelling and only have a small amount of cash”. “Yes”, I was advised, with a fairly puzzled look – “in Boston”. I started to explain the ludicrousness of that but the puzzled look became increasingly scary – so we paid (cash) and left.

But I ask myself, in this day of national databases and when I can go to Huddersfield Station and buy tickets for any rail line in the country – why can’t I buy an MBTA ticket at an Amtrak desk? At least then I would have realised that I could have travelled quicker and more comfortably via one of the Amtrak Acela speed trains than the two-storey commuter chugger we did catch.

Boston was busy. It is one of those towns, like San Francisco that seems to be able to get on with its everyday life and still accommodate thousands of tourists. We did a spot of wandering and a spot of browsing statures and shops etc but the most interesting thing for me was lunch at Durty Nellie’s. We’d not wanted anything elaborate (or expensive) for lunch and thought a good old Boston pub might just do it. And it did. We read the menu and accepted it for what it was: brief and to the point. We entered and asked, because no one else was eating “are you still doing food?” and I was answered – “it’s only a small menu!” Well, we knew that so we ordered and had one of the hottest and probably most under estimated meals of our visit. One burger with egg and one burger with cheese and a ‘side’ of fries (“we don’t have fries – they’re home-fries”) was hot (cooked to order) tasty and appropriate to our needs. All cooked to order.

We were going for a drive around the bay today but the rain put that off. So, we may do that tomorrow. What we’re doing next week, until our return flight on Thursday is still being discussed: it could be Maine or it could be Delaware. It could even be something entirely different.

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