Yesterday morning I got up early, packed my stuff, handed in my key and got my $10 depositum back. From the hostel there was some 10-12 blocks uptown to get to Port Authority Bus Terminal. I made a stop about halfway there to see a really large post office which seemed to have been around since the Greeks ruled, columns and people with white beards and all.
I was trying to find out how much postage I would need for making sure my postcards would make it back home. This was not an easy task. It seemed the rates had changed recently, so noone knew for sure what I would need. So, I bought a lot of Marilyn Monroe stamps, because they seemed nice. They were probably way to expencive, but they worked and were a joy to lick. After having done that I wanted to actually mail the postcards. Normally one would think this would be an easy task, given that I was situated in a post office. Then again, this was in the US of A. So, people in the post office refused to take my cards, telling me I should put the cards in the proper box.. Sure. Which was situated 200 meters away from the post office. Great. I was not in the mood for being thrown out of the post office, so I walked to the proper box.
At the bus terminal I found that my gate, 163, was four floors beneath street-level. This was no problem, as of course the whole building more or less consisted of escalators. When I came down, it might as well have been in the middle of the night, because it was dark, police was patrolling among the nasty-looking people living down there, and all the places selling soft drinks and fast food were closed. Oh well.
I made it into the bus, initiating 30 days of Greyhound travelling. The bus was in good shape. I anxiously left my backpack outside the bus after having been yelled at by some Greyhound person. Inside I found a seat, and soon we were on our way. In the seat next to me a young acupuncturist also going to Boston sat down, and I learnt a lot about what New Yorkers are willing to pay for keeping their health in this helluva city. Good for them. At least for her. This made her able to live in a three-room apartment in Brooklyn, paying a mere $1000 per month. Which appeared to be a real bargain. *shrug* Beats me.
The bus driver informed us that we would be a bit late, as there had been an accident on the George Washington bridge. My sidewoman could tell me that this was a pure lie, as this bus always is "a bit late", as there always is rush hour out of Manhattan, resulting in everyone being a bit late. An accident wouldn't really slow down the traffic, as it was close to non-moving anyway.
Therefore, when I arrived in Boston at 16.25, one hour late, I didn't really expect my very good Net-friend Amy to be around and was prepared for a lengthy telephone-session to explain I finally was here. Walking towards the inside of the terminal I was very politely tapped on the shoulder, "Might you be Beeeeooorn?". Close enough, I decided to be " Beeeooorn", and with that I met Amy in person.
Even though I had built up some kinda routine for meeting people from the Net live, I was somewhat nervous about this meeting. Amy didn't leave me time to stay in that condition for long, as she guided me towards and into some tall building. I was to meet her father. Judging from the building, her father probably is the king of Boston. I could see myself reflected in gold in the elevators on our way to this man upstairs. When we finally got there, it was like entering a typical American sitcom. The lines flew by so very, very quickly, every single one of them being a piece of concentrated entertainment. I enjoyed it, nodding at hopefully the right moments and generally just letting them catch up with each others lives. Suddenly Amy had dragged me out of the office, our audience was over. We were late for dinner, it seemed, so we started hunting for a road leading out of, not just around inside, Boston.
Eventually we succeeded, and I could lean back and experience the American highway. I especially enjoyed the largest American flag I have ever seen. Yes, it was at a used cars dealership. In general I never got the chance to forget what country I was visiting, the American flags were everywhere. People really are proud of their country in the US.
We arrived in Beverly, Massachusettes just before 6 pm. I consider myself rather fit and able to move quickly when I have to, but I could not prevent myself from getting totally soaked while moving from the car to the house. It was a really nice, heavy, summery warm rain, so I chose to enjoy it. Inside Amy introduced me to her sister Molly and her mother Sally. I felt a little bit strange, my name not being Harry, Larry or Terry. Still, meeting them were great.
Molly entertained the rest of us by telling stories about the people going whale watching at her work, while we waited for the dinner to be ready. Generally, stories about people going whale watching seemed to end with uhm... people emptying their stomaches. Perhaps not the best warm-up for dinner, but the dinner made up for it in quality. Spaghetti and zucchini-cake. Among the many nationalities of the Benson's genes there was a fair share of Italian ones. Goodie.
The rain kept pouring down outside, so we spent the evening sitting inside, talking. I really enjoyed that. Eventually it was time for sleeping, and I got my very own bed, just slightly smaller than Massachussetts itself. In that one I spent a very good night, I will now go search for a shower. Even though it is not as hot here as in New York City, it IS warm enough to keep my perspiration going.
I just came back from Rockport. The day started with a trip to the optician. All the whose-names-ends-with-a-Y went there to take measure for new glasses. The American system with insurance instead of public health services seems to work very well for the part of the population that can afford. It does NOT work for the poor young woman lying on the stairs of the New York Stock Exchange, dying of AIDS.
While the others had their eyes checked, I spent some time in the sun outside. It was a delicious day, perhaps a bit on the hot side, but still enjoyable.
After this, we drove from Beverly towards Maine along route 127. Molly Maniac did the driving, I think perhaps she might have mistaken the route number for a speed limit. First we went to a state park which had these perfect quarries for a quick, cooling swim. Sadly the state has prohibited swimming in quarries like this, as in case someone drowned or hurt their knee or something in one of them, the state would have been sued and fined for about 2 zillion dollars for not providing lifeguards at the quarries.
The view from this park toward the ocean was great. Having Norway exactly one Atlantic Ocean away felt even greater. We could also spot Rockport just a short way to the north.
Along the road I could see a nature not too different from what I am used to from Norway. There was something different to it, though. It seemed... perfect, in a way. Totally clear blue sky, totally clear green vegetation and totally just-like-you-see-it-in-the-movies everything. I may have been a bit overwhelmed by the knowledge that I finally was in the American countryside. Mighty mansions, houses and yes, the American flags everywhere. Very stereotypically New England in deed. Jolly good show.
Rockport itself is a very, very touristy place. My guess would be that at least half the citizens here have jobs related to tourism in the warm part of the year. Not the place you want to go, if you prefer staying away from the most crowded places. THE place to go if you want to visit a very typical, small, New England, coastal village. Their main street is nice, with small shops selling strange things that Americans like alot. This very often means edible things. Try some, but be sure not to overdo it. There will be more than enough reasons for that walking around you in these shops.
Back from Gloucester and Rockport I got my first taste of filled crust pizza. Mmmm. Veeeeery good. One movie and a lot of talking later we once again called it a day. I AM enjoying this stay.
Sheesh, tired. Amy and me walked more or less the whole day. We spent it in Boston. First we took the train to downtown Boston, and from there the subway to MIT, Massachusettes Institute of Technology, aka Nerd Heaven. The architecure there is weird enough. Lots of hi-tech buildings, both in- and outside. I kept my receipt from buying a Coke at MIT. *sigh*, memories. It has been somewhat clouded, so the walking was not too hard.
After having walked around among personified IQ (Well... I actually saw people pushing at doors saying pull, so I am not so sure about MIT being so superior anymore) for a while, we took the subway to the Boston Museum of Science. Whoa! Kinda big it is. You can easily spend a whole day walking around here without being bored. Decent-sized live cockroaches, an in-depth well-illustrated explanation about how coffee, marihuana and alcohol fiddles with your brain and body, a few dinosaurs, some air- and spacecrafts, chicken-hatching and lots more. I really liked this museum. And there were BUTTONS to push everywhere. Goodie! I even got to touch a poisonous snake.
We're grilling chicken on the porch now. It is fun to sit out here, Sally has a few pet squirrels running around. These guys are not gonna starve for a long time. What they can't eat at once of what she gives them, they take away for storing somewhere. I like them.
Full. Tonight I had quite a lot of corn. And then a lot of dental floss. I like the taste of corn, but it can't possibly be good for your teeth. Anyway, I can't wait for my next taste of it. #:D) Amy's friend Meghan came over tonight after having been in France for a while. They had a lot of catching up to do, I kinda got lost in the conversation between the three girls, and called it a day when they started comparing underwear.
The car intended for taking us into Maine was not feeling up to it, really, so the day have been spent in and around Beverly. This morning I wandered in "downtown" Beverly, while Sally was at the hairstylist, or whatever they call people that use scissors to decrease hairlength around here. In an hour I found approximately 200 churches and one library. Almost like being in Norway again. I like this place very much, though. It seems like they are facing the same "problem" as we do in Norway; Having a lot of churches, and few people willing to fill them. The library was very good, all three levels of it.
Oh well, I finished my ambling in Beverly and returned to the car at the appointed time. Now we were going to the beach. And a very civilized beach it was, with its own parking lot and everything. People pay more than $60 per year to be able to go here. Nice sand and warmer ocean-water than I've ever been in before, so I enjoy it.
I am a bit unsure about what tomorrow will bring, as I haven't heard anything from Mariana from San Antonio, who I am supposed to meet up with in Washington D.C. tomorrow yet. *sigh*. Anyway, my last night in Massachusettes I exchange items with the natives. One book about Norway against one Beverly-Happy Homecoming t-shirt. Good deal!
I was dropped off here by Amy and Molly some seven hours ago. After a while I found a nice person willing to take care of my backpack for a couple of dollars, so I could go out and explore Boston. I bought a map for $3, showing me where to acquire free maps. There's an information cabin in the middle of the park just north of the Greyhound/train-station, giving very good maps away for free.
So I walked. And walked. Along the liberty trail, knowing zilch about American history it wasn't that much of a thrill, really, but it does offer some nice things to see. Just north of the park you can find the Massachusettes Congress with its golden dome. Kinda strange to think of that they were painted black during the war, to make them more difficult to see for the uhm... possible German bombing planes coming over the Atlantic on suicide missions. Oh well. The park also contains a lot of uhm... historical statues and ponds. It was very warm today, so it was hard to see the ponds, because of all the humans lying around in them.
I also got as far as to play a game of chess with a crowd of black people, but after having painfully realized losing a game meant saying bye-bye to a $10-bill, I decided to quit. From there I wandered along the freedom trail, which led me to a small graveyard between some tall buildings. Seems like some rather poor historical heroes were buried here. The parents of Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere and some others. Not very well-kept, but in their original shape, I believe. Interesting it was.
Crossing the bridge over the river which even 200 years after some famous happening still has the colour, if not the taste, of tea, I stumbled upon "The Computer Museum". At half price, since it was a Sunday, and half of that again, since I am a student, it was a very good value visit. I saw (and, secretly, touched) the first "real" computer ever, Univac, the first supercomputer, Cray I, R2D2 from the Star Wars movies, the first Commodore computer, Pet I, a real Apple II, a TRS-80 AND I did get to send emails home from a PC running Netscape. A memorable visit. *Sigh* Nerd heaven = Boston.
On my way back to the station over yet another bridge, I passed Beaver. Beaver is a boat which supposedly can do wonders if you fill it with tea and sink it. At least it used to do.
So here I am, my bus leaving in two hours, taking me back to New York City, so I can get onto the Washington D.C. bus in the middle of the night there and be in Washington at 08:45 monday morning.
Goodbye New England, I like you.
(C) 1995 BC Tørrissen