Music, Money and Misery in Massachusetts (Part 1)
Turns out, couldn't be farther from the truth, except, of course, for the Red Sox part; they are the other major religion in Boston besides Catholicism and the Catholics are quickly losing ground because Jesus can't hit a home run like David Ortiz.
Anyway... oh, before I go on and on about the city, first, the Greyhound Bus experience. In a word: Don't. To elaborate, Greyhound Buses are designed for maximum discomfort and are traveled almost exclusively by the sorts of people you find in Wal-Mart at one o'clock in the morning. Compounding our misery, the bus driver (large, surly and indifferent to sorrow) put a DVD on the bus's TV system first thing and proceeded to let the menu page of Roll Bounce play on a loop, with it's ultra-peppy funk music, for about 45 minutes until he finally decided it wasn't working, pulled over and stopped the agony. Seriously, try to imagine watching the menu screen of a DVD, any DVD, for almost an hour at 7am. It's a very specific kind of torture and it nearly caused an in-bus riot. Once that had passed, the driver downgraded the abuse to merely playing rap music on the radio and occasionally taking lengthy personal calls on his cell phone. I'm sure he was also watching the road... I think.
So. Boston. Once we were released from our rolling prison (despite all the unpleasantness, it was a fairly brisk three and a half hour drive) we begin walking around the city, as we had a good six hours to kill before we left for the concert.
As I said, Boston is incredibly beautiful; surprisingly so. The first area we hit was the storied Boston Common which is a lush, green park area steeped in historical context and dotted with attractive fountains, ponds, floral landscapes and a few homeless people begging for change to remind you that you're actually in a city and not in Xanadu. We wandered around the Common for quite awhile, taking in the sights which included, but were not limited to: a man in full Revolutionary war garb (including snazzy tri-cornered hat) charmingly doling out some choice historical info, a 19th century-era cemetery that was incredibly creepy despite the fact that it was in the middle of a park on a sunny day, and a friendly squirrel who ate bread right from my girlfriend's hand, which thrilled her to no end though I was afraid it was going to attack us in a rabid frenzy and the day would pretty much devolve into blood-soaked hospital visits and regret. But that's me.
We moved on from there to the wharf area (one of Boston's many). As it was a nice day, the water was filled with boats; from massive, ostentatious ones that were clearly the result of many, many successful coke deals all the way down to humble, all-wood skiffs that were probably used to catch a few fish for a poor man's fancy dinner. There was a lot of character there and it was greatly marred by the fancy condos and hotels that seem to be recent additions to the area. They did not, however, spoil the view of the harbor and the ocean beyond. I'm a sucker for the seascapes and Boston did not disappoint. While there, we ate at the original Dick's Crab Shack, which, while a bit of a silly place (they can, at any time, force you to wear elaborate paper hats) has delicious seafood and amusingly curt waiters who throw straws and napkins at you; their schtick, I guess.
In short, with the Commons and the wharf, we were having a great time. Good company, good food, pleasant day and exciting, interesting surroundings. Things were going great.
Of course, that can only mean that things were about to go completely to hell...
Part 2, Coming Soon