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Middle-of-The-Week-Weekender: Boston Edition Day 2

11 Aug

Wed. July 27, 2016:
Boston, MA flying to Toronto

I had set my alarm for 8:45am, except I snoozed it until 8:50am at which point I changed it to 9:00am. The Boston MFA did not open until 10:00am and the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum did not open until 11:00am, both of which were a half hour walk from the hotel. I was so paranoid about forgetting which room we were in, I had to know it when I said I was checking out. I’m usually the one packing the car while Brent checks out.

My day did not start in earnest until I was reunited with the love of my life: Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. The guy looked at me questioningly when I ordered. I am not sure if it was because I ordered a hot coffee (it was literally 30C outside, without the humidex) or because I wanted blueberry flavour shot in it. I was tempted by the donuts but the damn caloric information on the label is so discouraging. It was nice to be a part of the morning rush and I could totally imagine this being a daily occurrence for me if I lived somewhere with a Dunkin’ Donuts. While I was there I grabbed some ground coffee, even though there were no wacky flavours and I had to settle for hazelnut (it beats not having any coffee). I did not want to risk not being able to find any the rest of the day. I did stop in at CVS and I was right: there was no Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to be found. Not even any wacky Oreos or Skittles.

It was a short walk over to the museum but it was already getting unbearably hot outside and it was just after 10:00am. Before going in I double checked my notebook to verify what I had seen last time. Turns out we had seen more than I remembered; I recognized a few rooms from before. Three of the four special exhibit rooms were closed. I took the extra time to revisit the Impressionists, so beautiful and I could just stare at them all day long.  They evoke a certain calm and peacefulness. It was nice to see a piece by Sam Taylor-Wood that I had studied a long time ago as an art student. On my way out I noticed a sign for a special exhibit on the third floor. I was ready to skip it, we had done the whole third floor. I back-tracked and was really glad I had. The exhibit was about modern art and exceeded my expectations. One room pitted Picasso against Pollock, who overlapped as contemporaries for a short time. They even had two TV screens showing both artists at work, each painting on a pane of glass as if on the camera lens. Never in a million years would I have thought to look at both artists side by side, and yet here it was an entire room dedicated to it. Mind blown.

Through the revolving door into the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum I found myself in a lobby full of people with little semblance of a line. I went in a bit further, to keep from blocking the door and I inadvertently cut the line. No one said anything, no one pointed me to the end of the line. It was only when more people came and in were confused that the situation came to light. It was too late for me now. I had committed to it. Needless to say I felt awkward the whole time I stood in line. The feeling soon passed as I was engrossed with the museum. It was incredible!!!

The museum had been established in the early 20th century and featured grand architecture, a gorgeous courtyard and so many lush and wonderful plants. Alas, the second floor was closed for renovation and only a few items had been displayed in the new space above the visitor entrance. The top highlights were definitely the books. One still had a chain attached and two had heavy wooden covers with latches and pedestals for resting the book open (they elevated the cover so that it would be easy to close and it prevented fingers from getting smashed if the cover fell open). I must admit, I really wanted to touch the books and flip the parchment pages.

I finished both museums in far less time than I had budgeted for the day. What was I to do now? At the Boston MFA there was wi-fi and I had looked up how far the Primark was from our hotel (where we were meeting after Brent’s meeting finished). It was an hour long walk from the museums though. On the way I stopped at Au Bon Pain for a late breakfast and some more coffee. Sitting on the patio in the shade, I had a chance to catch up writing in my notebook. The breakfast bagel I had ordered was a total fail. It had egg instead of egg whites, and little to no discernible cheese. The outside of the bagel was somehow greasy. It was a disaster.

The heat was becoming unbearable, people were playing in the fountains outside the Christian science place we had walked by last time. As I approached the Prudential Centre mall I saw Marble Slab and it was like an oasis off in the distance- except it sparked a memory instead of providing a cool treat. There was a Ben & Jerry’s around the other corner from our hotel (see? Our hotel was awesome). I went into the mall both to cool down and to do some shopping. I was tempted by the banana-themed wares at Kate Spade but I could not justify replacing my hedgehog wallet (I get too many compliments on it) and $68USD for a t-shirt seemed ludicrous. The Aritizia sale proved to be just as disappointing. I came away empty handed. At least I had used the wi-fi and found an H&M just down the street from the Primark. There was still hope for the shirt I had been hunting back when we were in England.

It may have taken me on a one-block detour but it was so worth it to have ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. There is nothing better on a +30C degree day than a scoop of Phish Food ice cream- even if it had started melting before I even left the shop. I was tempted to change it up and get a different flavour, I sampled the Bourbon Brown Butter but it just was not as good. Phish Food is a staple.

As I walked I saw an H&M, stupid Google Maps had totally missed this one. Alas, there was no sign of my shirt. I did find the black maxi skirt with flowers that I wanted but it wasn’t in my size. I left mildly heartbroken and drowned my sorrows next door in PINK. Finally my shopping trip was starting to turn around. I found a nice coral bandeau, the last one and in my size too!

I was following screen shots of maps and written directions in trying to get from our hotel to Primark. I knew it was just south of Boston Commons. I got confused when I saw a cemetery where I expected to see the park. I could see the park on the next street over, but my directions appeared to be sending me in that direction so I continued. Somehow I wound up in Chinatown. Thankfully I remembered seeing it on the map as being directly south of where I was trying to go. As I headed up a street I saw a familiar landmark, the theatre I had been staring at last time while waiting for Brent on the corner. I managed to get to my destination in the end! Success!

I stopped in at Macy’s and found a few dresses. I also learned that American Rag clothes are not designed for normal body types. Nothing fit me, it was just awful. By the jewellery counter I was tempted by Kate Spade jewellery but once again I could not justify it. I was tempted to get Levi’s jeans because they were on sale. But the idea of trying to squeeze into jeans put me off.

I was filled with hope as I approached Primark. But just like in England, everything was either polyester or it fit horribly. I did end up finding one shirt and a cute bucket purse. What I have learned is that Primark is really only good for cheap purses. Even the cashier commented on how cute the purse is. She said she could not use a purse that small and that she carries too much stuff. I laughed and pointed at my travel bag and my pink Kate Spade purse. I looked like a camel loaded down with my baggage. Once again H&M did not have either the shirt or the dress. This time I have truly given up.

Walking back was exhausting. I was going at a snail’s pace. My bags were getting heavy and I was walking facing the sun and it was unbearably hot. I was so dehydrated and my legs were dead. I wanted to walk through the park but there was a lady sitting on a bench yelling at people so I stuck to the street. She was calling everyone zombies. A block away from the hotel I stopped at a bar to see the menu, but there were no interesting ciders on tap. I went into 7Eleven to check out the candy selection. And then when I got to the hotel I regretted not having gotten a Slurpee. I lasted maybe 5 minutes waitng outside the hotel. I looked at my clock and realized we were meeting between 5:00pm and 5:15pm. I went to Dunkin’ Donuts to get their version of a Slurpee. Their version of TimBits looked so sad and pathetic. Standing by the hotel, sipping my bright blue drink I was exhausted. I had walked 19.36km. Halfway through the drink I regretted having gotten it. It was so sweet and so big, I no longer cared that they did not have the sour apple flavour and that I had to settle for blue raspberry. I half-regretted not having gotten the Heath bar iced coffee. What would that even entail?

It suddenly occurred to me that I was standing outside the hotel, still within range of the wi-fi. Boredom solved. As soon as I got Pokemon Go to work Brent showed up. Our hotel was a pokestop but it had been geo-tagged on the other corner, diagonally away from where I was standing, as in too far away to register. We walked back to where Brent had his meeting because there were cabs queued up there. When we got there we could not find a cab, so we walked to a nearby hotel and finally I got to sit down in the cab. My legs were throbbing at this point.  For a while we were stuck in traffic but I was too tired to care.

We got to the airport and there was no line-up at the ticket agent and only a short line at security. We did not have a lot of time before boarding, only about 30 minutes. We went to the only food option, a sit-down restaurant for dinner. We got a large table, assuming that Brent’s business people would see us and join us. They did not see us and sat elsewhere. I had the Boston Tea Party Cocktail with iced tea. It was so refreshing after a long day in the heat. I also finally got my clam chowder fix. The service was slow. When Brent asked for the cheque I went ahead to the bathroom and we would meet by the gate. I got to the gate and they started general boarding. Pretty soon the lounge was empty. I started to wonder if Brent had boarded without me? Then the rest of his co-workers showed up- and also waited. I was about ready to get on the plane and he got there just in time, as they were about to do a final boarding call. On the flight they said it was raining in Toronto. How was I supposed to hunt Pokemon?! When we landed there was a giant puddle, almost a small lake, on the tarmac. Apparently it had rained really hard before we landed. We had to wait almost 30 minutes on the plane as a previous flight had been delayed and only arrived when we did.

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