New England Journal of Travel, Vol. 3

New England Journal of Travel, Vol. 3 - Friday

I love Boston. It has an old-world feel about it, some say a European one. Can't comment on that since I have not been to Europe. It sure is quite different from any other place in America. It also feels very close to my home-town Pune in some respects. It shares the narrow streets in the city-centre and has totally crazy drivers and nasty traffic jams. Traffic jams as opposed to traffic snarls elsewhere. Perhaps one of the few cities that can truly claim be 'historic'. In America, any town that is pre-World War is classified as 'historic'. Boston like Pune is a University Town. Also, like Mumbai and Pune separated by a few hours, Boston has its evil neighbour- New York. The 'Culture' of the smaller, older city versus the 'Financial Might' of the bigger, brasher city. The uppity Boston Brahmins though not in the league of our Sadashiv Peth Konkanasthas, do maintain a feeling of cultural superiority to the rest of America. The attitude has not been better put than this little ditty.

I come from good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod,
Where Cabots speak only to Lowells,
And the Lowells speak only to God.
- Samuel Clarke Bushnell

As we drove into the city through the now almost completed white elephant of all road projects the Big Dig, I asked my cousin, Vivek about the famous Cape Cod area.
'It's quite a boring place and nothing remarkable. It's the type of people that hang out there that have made it famous AND thus expensive.'
Cape Cod - An expensive-but not-so-scenic-as-you-would-expect vacation spot. Hah!

It has been a big year for Boston. The Boston Red Sox beat the Yankees and also ended the most famous curse of sport. If you want a display of sport fundamentalism then you need to come to Boston in October. It's Red everywhere and more people watched the games than the Democratic National Convention which was also held in Boston. 2004 will remembered more for that than the failed Kerry-Edwards campaign.
At the JFK Memorial library on the waterfront I had a feeling of deja vu. It took some time to realise that, the architect, I.M. Pei seems to have reprised the idea for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The same imposing glass atrium on the waterfront supported by tall white pillars. Losing not the view and the light.
Light is everything, when it comes to taking good photographs and this time the elements cooperated and I managed to get some great shots of the Christian Science Centre, coincidentally another Pei structure but very different. A nasty wind kicked up later and threated to frost bite my fingers. Right before the Holocaust Memorial, my batteries decided to conk out which actually saved them. The Holocaust Memorial is simple but very powerful conceptually. A sequence of pillars made of glass panels with only numbers etched in white. Numbers that were once tatooed onto arms and smoke steaming up from the grate below. Powerful imagery.

Despite the cold weather, I was quite ironically buying a Red Sox baseball cap when I should have bought some ear-muffs. The whole city was out in the city's park - The Boston Commons (like most things in Boston much much smaller than you would expect), grandparents, parents and toddlers in tow. We survived a homicial taxi-driver overtaking which would give the best 6-seater rickshawalla in Pune a run for his money. An incident which strangely made me feel more at home.

View of the Big Dig bridge and the Christian Science Centre

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