Sometimes when I travel, I try to hide the fact that I’m a tourist. I want to experience the genuine culture of a place instead flocking to all the perfect photo-ops and buying chintzy souvenirs. But this was my first time in Boston. My first time in New England at all. I tend to travel west and south, not north and east. And Boston is such an iconic, historic city. Bring on the obnoxious tourist.
When I arrived Thursday afternoon, Meredith had enough time to make us soup before she headed off to class. She left me her iPhone in case I wanted to wander around town. It has a directions App that would prevent me from getting hopelessly lost in the unfamiliar city. But I was running short on sleep, so I opted for a nap instead. I’m known to get lost even with directions.
Our first goal was ice cream. We love ice cream (who doesn’t?) and Mere had a coupon to a place called JP Licks. I got a flavor called Kowlua Brownie. Delicious. We used to always get Sparkys ice cream and wander around Columbia while we ate it. With our JP Licks in hand, we were ready to explore. Mere’s apartment is in Fenway. Too bad she doesn’t care about baseball. She showed me the park with its cute footbridge and amusing ducks. We crossed the bridge across the Charles River to Cambridge. The city lights shimmered on the dark water. We ate dinner at a little Italian place called Trattoria Tuscana.
Friday we went to the New England Aquarium. This was the main tourist thing I wanted to do. I’ve been to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, but I was a kid and the memories are vague at best. I got my first close-up look at the Atlantic outside the aquarium. We walked the boardwalk while finishing our Starbucks. It was chilly and threatening rain when we bought our aquarium tickets. My Mizzou ID got me a student discount. Wonder how long I can milk that?
The penguins and the sea turtles were the stars of the aquarium. I also particularly liked the jellyfish, the sea horses, and what Mere and I dubbed “hurry-fish.” We don’t know what those actually were, just big gray fish in the giant main tank. The hurry-fish swam in constant circles around the outside of the tank. They weren’t particularly swift, but looked like they were rushing toward some urgent task. They were awkward. Every time they swam by we chanted “hurryhurryhurry…” What a pointless life. I’m glad I’m not a hurry-fish.
After the aquarium, we hit Legal Seafood for dinner. Legal is a big chain out East and is supposedly among the best. We weren’t that impressed. We both started with clam chowder (a necessity when one is in New England). It was ok, but not the best I’ve ever had. I ordered a chef’s selection of three fish along with shrimp, scallops, sugar-snap peas and squash. The sides and shrimp were the best part. I don’t even know what the fish were except that one was swordfish, which is supposed to be really good. All three fish were bland. Oh well. Meredith got almond-encrusted salmon with mushroom ravioli. She probably would have liked it more if she weren’t creeped out by the pinkness of the salmon. I ordered a cocktail that was pretty good and she had a glass of wine. Legal Seafood overall evaluation: nice atmosphere, but overpriced and overrated.
After Legal, we ran home to change and then headed to the Jimmy Eat World concert. Pre-concert I had a screwdriver and Mere got a beer. Post-concert, we headed to a bar called Church. Feature drinks on their menu included the seven deadly sins and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Questionable? Maybe, but we decided to give them a try. I ordered the drink dubbed gluttony, and Meredith chose lust. Hers was prettier, mine was better. Gluttony included coconut milk, chocolate mint liqueur, and a dusting of cocoa powder. Lust was a gin-based drink infused with some sort of purple flowers and ginger. The drink was completely clear and garnished with a pretty pink orchid. I don’t know how she drank it. It was both overwhelmingly sweet and overwhelming strong. Lesson for real life? I’m not going to get into that. We discussed whether the seven deadly sins were specifically listed in the Bible or if it was just a Catholic thing. Either way, none of the other drinks sounded good and we had had enough. We went back to Meredith’s apartment to color (nothing wrong with that) and get some sleep.