7 Aug - Boston Walk

rani's picture

I spent the whole morning packing to move out of the dorm that day. Then we had breakfast at the Harkness Commons. A cup of coffee with a bagel for me, and Noe had apple for breakfast. I then spent the whole morning chatting and exchanging pictures with the Wikipedian (Nicholas and Dror). The participants from india and nepal planned to go to New York by bus together, before going home to their respective countries. While I was chatting, Noe was playing and running around the Harkness Common. He was quite excited with the architecture of the place, with a lot of ramps and staircases. Great design by Walter Gropius. Also, I distributed gifts to the conference committee members as tokens of appreciation.

 

I then checked out of the dorm and spent the rest of the morning in the Harkness Commons. I had to make a phone call to Singapore because there had been a problem with my credit card, and it was a pain in the ass because I had to waste my time debating with the DBS Bank customer service.

In the mean time, Noe enjoyed himself running around, playing piano, and trying to impress women. He played with astudent of occupational therapy. He is really quick in making new friends! After that, we had lunch at the Harknes Commons cafetaria: cheeseburger (freshly grilled), onion rings, and salad. Noe only wanted to eat onion rings.

After lunch we needed to check into our next hostel in Fenway Area. The lady from the coffee stall in the Commons helped me with booking the taxi. Just before the taxi came, I rushed to buy some souvenir from Harvard coop. Then we drove to Fenway hostel.

The hostel in Fenway is basically one of Boston University's dorm which is converted into hostel only during summers. It was just like a hotel: a high rise building with private rooms, with private bathroom in each rooms, and fully air conditioned. It seemed dusty but acceptable. The mattress was a bit high so I needed to pull it down so that it became safe for Noe to sleep. Then I took a nap for a while. When I woke up, I realized that it was almost 3pm. I pondered a bit on whether I should go out again, because I felt a bit tired with all the packing, dragging and pulling the luggage. But then again, I wont be going back to Boston anymore, at least not in the near future. So I dragged myself out of the bed and put Noe into the stroller and hit the road.

Our next stop was Boston Childrens Museum. I was running all the way to the Museum because we needed to arrive there far before 5pm when the Museum closes. And Catherine Wilbur told me that the museum is really big, one day is not enough to explore everything. So we checked in at around 3.20 and I was so mad to myself that we shouldve arrived much much earlier. We went straight to playspace which caters children below 3 years old. Noe was so excited, he played with other kids, played with the train, went into the pretend-car. He felt so much at home and relaxed with many kids of his age around him. I took a lot of pictures here, but I accidentally formatted the CF card, so I lost every photos.

The Playspace closes at 4.30, so we spent the rest of the opening hours exploring other parts of the museum. The next exhibit was Boats Afloats, where kids could explore everything about water. Noe was so excited playing with fountains, putting the Styrofoam pieces to observe the flow. Then we went to Airplay, where Noe could experiment making music out of different kinds of props. He was really really amazed and happy. Toobad, the Museum closes at 5pm. We should really come back to this place when we return to Boston. The museum is exciting not only for kids but also for adults! Too bad it is currently being renovated, so the giant milk bottle was removed from the frontyard temporarily.

 

             

We then continued to go to Boston Common. To safe money, we decided to just walk from Childrens Museum to the Common through Downtown Crossing. The city was pretty walkable, but sometimes too windy. It was so windy that Noes stroller would shift by itself at a speed of 1 meter per minute, so I had to work harder in pushing it. Near Otis Street Noe was crying so I had to stop to breastfeed him in a small park in Otis Street / Summer Street intersection for a while. He was calm after that and we continued walking.

The Downtown Crossing is a pedestrianised street with direct access to the high density highrise buildings (office-mixed use) adjacent to it. Well, not really pedestrianised, but vehicular traffic is discouraged in the area by using rough granite cobblestone paving and allowing activities to spillover to the streets. At the ground floor, there are accesses to shops in the building, roadside stalls selling newspaper, food and fruits, as well as link to the rapid transit station, and the pedestrianised street ends with Boston Common at the Northwest side. With such combination, it is no wonder that this area developed into one of the most vibrant place in Boston. I could see people busking and even people doing anti-war demonstration here.

   

 
 

Walking from the dense Downtown Crossing, we were greeted with a green sight of the Boston Common (which is a public park) at the end of Park Street.

 

     

The park was bustling with activities, different people doing different things from a family doing picnic to lovers kissing each other. By the time we arrived in the Common, Noe fell asleep in the stroller, probably due to the breeze.

 

So I sat on the bench by the swimming pool / water fountain area. Some kids sprayed water towards me but I dont mind, it was refreshing for me to be a bit damp. Then we continued walking towards the frog pond and monument, and passed by an open space which is being prepared for a free concert.

 

   

We continued to walk to the Public Garden, which is, of course also, a public park. This garden is actually a manicured public park, which is different from Boston Common (not a garden, just a simple park). Activities in the garden are more limited, you are not allowed to step into the grass patch in most areas. But I saw two muslim ladies doing afternoon prayer in this garden (Thats the liberal US, everybody is minding their own business, and many Muslims take refuge in it).

 

I saw a lot of ducks and squirrels here. We took photos at the duckling sculpture here. In the mean time. Noe stayed asleep.

 

     

We had to meet Nial Djuliarso in Berklee Performance Center a 7.30 and we were still in the Public Park at 6pm. Iwas pondering whether I should take the T train, but then I decided to just continue walking, since the weather was really nice and breezy. We continued to walk along Boylston street, where I took a lot a photos of the urban elements. I had a cup of coffee to wake me up. In the mean time, Noe stayed asleep. We continued to walk along Boylston, passing by John Hancock, Trinity Church, Copley, Prudential, Hynes Convention Center, and finally Berklee College of Music. When we arrived there, Noe woke up.

   

                                       

We immediately caught up with Nial and continued to have dinner in Wendys hamburger (the only decent option nearby, seemingly).

The concert started at 730, and Noe was really excited and clapping his hands just like an adult audience. It was opened with the summer school choir singing three songs, the first one was a jazz song with doowub doowub, then Say a little pray and closed with 521600 minutes (Seasons of Love) from Rent. The rest of the concert was showing the musical theater summer school student, and I couldnt recall the song title, but those students rocked!

   

After the concert, we went back to Wendys so that Othman could have dinner.

   

Then we went back to Berklee because both Othman and Nial needed to practice. Nial told me that he wanted to practice more classical pieces to improve his sight reading. Heck, I thought I was too stuck onto reading music and unable to improvise jazz, and this guy, and expert in improvisation, wants to read music? Indeed Nial is really humble about his talent and ability.

To return to the hotel, I decided to walk, because I was too dreaded by the fact that I had to carry the stroller hundreds of steps down to the platform of Hynes T Train station. At least, if I walk two miles to the hotel it would be on a level ground and I would be able to just push strollers. We got back to the hotel exhausted, took a shower, and slept.

 

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