Thursday, November 5, 2009

Freedom, body odour, and canoli.

It's not really a sin if you've earned it.

I took the Megabus down to Boston on Tuesday for $8. It was a reasonably short trip (a little under four hours), the bulk of which was spent trying to restore my computer settings after a mysterious loss of my user profile. Once I arrived at the train station, I wandered around for a while to get my bearings, eventually giving up and pulling out a map, and headed straight to my hostel.

I checked in and went up to my room, to be greeted by a wall of stench that hit me like a brick wall. One of my roommates was already sound asleep in his bed, snoring, and judging by the smell, had exhausted himself by running a marathon. I dumped my stuff on the only free bed in the room, a top bunk, and decided that this would be a good time to go and explore the city.

I soon found a bar about 5 minutes from the hostel; a kind of student bar called "Whiskey's". I only ever intended to stay there for an hour or so, but ended up staying until after closing. I don't know quite what it was that convinced me to stay. Perhaps it was that I kept meeting people. Perhaps it was the constant supply of chicken wings that somehow kept showing up in front of me. Perhaps it was the trivia night that I found myself in the middle of. Or perhaps it was the fact that I wanted to put off going back to my hostel for as long as possible. By the end of the night I had met half the bar staff, and made a few new friends.

Seven hours later, I stumbled back to my hostel and, braving the smell, went to bed. But not to sleep.

You see, it turned out my roommates snore. All of them. I was sharing a room with three middle-aged, overweight men. When one started, another would join in as if on cue. It was almost as if they competed with each other for both volume, timbre, and amount of mucous that could be drawn. To make matters worse, the guy on the bottom bunk decided that this would be a good time of morning to 'make friends' with himself... with the result that I was convinced that I was in a particularly violent (but unusually brief) earthquake. Until I realised that I wasn't.

All in all I ended up with only a couple of hours sleep.

Sleepy, cranky, and possibly still a little drunk, I got up and made the most of the free breakfast in the hostel before heading into the city to explore. I started out with 'The Freedom Trail' - a path that leads you through much of the city area, as well as some of the significant historic locations of the city. The trail started just behind the Boston Commons, and along the way it covered the State House (where the Governor of Massachusetts lives), some very old pubs (including the one where Washington et al plotted the revolution), Paul Revere's house and a few other cool sites. It also took me through Little Italy and past an improv theatre for a local troupe "Improv Asylum". I made a mental note to catch up with them.

The Freedom Trail took me a couple of hours, at a medium clip, though I decided to turn around at one of the cemeteries. I probably missed out on some freedom, but my stomach was telling me that it was time to head back to Little Italy and so I did.

I headed to a place called "Mike's Pastries" - famous for their canoli. Now, I had never had a canoli before, and had no idea what to expect. Turns out it's kind of like a brandy snap - fried pasta stuffed with cream. Lots of cream. Solid, chunky, delicious cream that makes you feel guilty for even looking at it. The kind that makes you feel that you should go to confession afterwards and confess to undertaking a sin of the flesh.

I got the chocolate chip.

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