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Beyond the Pale - A 'pale' is a fencepost. The English Pale was a boundary in Ireland marking out the part of Ireland under direct English rule circa 1450 (which included Dublin and environs). Those that lived 'beyond the pale', outside of English rule, were considered out of control and uncivilised. You decide...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Boston - Stay Strong


A park bench, Boston style


HOW ABOUT THEM RED SOX

Where were you when Boston won the World Series last year? Me, I was was about 5 minutes from Fenway Park hanging out my hotel window watching the revellers, well, revel!

We were in Boston for a work trip. I had been to Ireland’s 33rd county many times before but it was Dom’s first visit to Beantown. I love Boston, it has a very lived in feel about it. It manages to be as equally famous for being posh as it is working class. The Grand Dame of New England, the sophisticates, the founding families, old money, it’s all there, however it has it’s delicate hand in it’s calloused palm as it’s also famously home to the immigrant Irish, the South Boston gangs, and a mean pint of Guinness.




One thing every Bostonian seems to have in common is a fanatical love of ‘the saawx’. On our plane ride from San Francisco there was a Red Sox baseball game on the TV (yes, planes in the US broadcast regular TV, heaven forbid we should read a book). It was an important game and people were going banana’s screaming and roaring with exasperation? Joy? I couldn’t tell but it was eye opening and highly amusing. The whole plane seemed to be inhaling and exhaling with fear and thrills for the entire flight. Every now and then people would stand up and start hollering and high fiving. I was tempted to join in with some yelps and screams of my own but as I was pregnant at the time I figured it might be misconstrued for some sort of early arrival!

Where do the special hookers go?
We stayed in the Back Bay right by a subway station (‘the T’). It’s very easy to get around and goes to all the places you’d want to see. Boston is also a great city for walking. We were a decent walk from downtown but rocking up to Boston Common was worth it. Rumour has it the park is based on St Stephens Green in my hometown of Dublin, it is certainly as pretty and relaxing as ‘the green’. It happens to be right beside my favourite (I must live there one day) part of the city, Beacon Hill, the streets are cobblestoned, quaint and narrow with gas lights and students trundling past on bicycles. To live in a historic quarter would be a little dream come true for me.

Maybe it’s cos of the number of Irish pubs and accents but Boston always reminds me of Dublin. Similar to Dublin it’s a city that natives are very proud of. You can take the girl out of Dublin but you can’t take Dublin out of the girl. Boston strikes me as a place that also brands your heart as you grow up there. Let’s put it this way, you’re probably never gonna be a Yankees fan!

Boston Stronger than ever

‘Boston Strong’ was the call of the city after the marathon bomb attack in 2013. The feeling of unity over adversity was palpable in the city with the ‘Boston Strong’ message appearing everywhere from official notices to graffiti. It’s a proud town. 


Where do I get the illegal sea food?
I had remembered Newberry Street as a major shopping mecca but I hadn’t realized how many appetising restaurants filled the street corners. We were overwhelmed with choice. After a bite to eat, I marched Dom to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, it would remind you a little bit of Covent Garden, people mouching about, street performers shivering in the October air, markets selling knitted products, grand buildings with aroma’s of history that drag you in by the nose, and Irish pubs they drag you out of by the ear (not me!). 
 
The next impassioned speaker??
Impressively, Faneuil Hall has seen it’s share of impassioned speakers from Bill Clinton to Louisa May Alcott (she wrote Little Women, one of the first books I remember carrying around with me as a child and rereading, a classic).

October in Boston is bracing, especially if you’ve come from the foggy but consistently mild San Francisco. I miss the cold though (I know, I’m weird) but I like wearing boots, winter coats, wooly hats, thick scarves, your face starting to go numb from the cold juuuust as you burst into your warm home. You unravel as you walk, like a heat seeking missile you press yourself against a radiator or almost hug the fire, your cheeks start to glow, hot food is cooked, tea is drunk, the TV buzzes on, the feet are raised as you sink into the comfy counch… bliss.

To explain my ‘cold is good’ theory to Dom I dragged him across the Charles River. Rowers were gliding by, people scurried past on their way home from work in blurs of grey, we stopped in our tracks to take in the most beautiful sunset. But it was time to explore the school I never nearly went to, Harvard.

Pahk the cah at Hahvad Yahd
Harvard is in Cambridge, which is directly north of the city, it’s also home to MIT (Masssachusetts Institute of Technology). We ambled around Harvard’s campus, the fallen leaves camouflaged the cobblestones, students called to eachother across the quadrants, laptops in hand people sauntered into ivy clad buildings. Being exceedingly nosey I crept into a few buildings of my own to see what America’s next leaders were up to, I found a notice about a reggae night and an invitation to join the cast of The Mikado! From the sublime to the ridiculous, take your pick. I love history and anything steeped in history so of course I loved Harvard.

We had spent the working week in Boston grabbing sight seeing chances during lunch and in the evening. It had been worth it but exhausting. It was time to get our “Kennedy” on and drive to Cape Cod for a relaxing weekend in Nantucket. I had spent a Summer working on the island when I was 19, it was time to see if it was still one of my favourite locations on earth.


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