Obviously my sister knows me like a shy Jane Austen character would know the back of her tea cup. For my graduation she gave me… an adventure! It happened like this: I won some free tickets to Boston attractions by participating in an online travel contest for teenagers, then she bought tickets to Boston so we could spend five days seeing the city. It was a dream come true.
The best part of Boston was the accent. I am from Charlotte. It is southern. But even here in a land infiltrated by immigrants drawn by the banking industry, a southern accent sticks out. In Boston, the New England accents were thick and lovely. Aaaaaaw. Oh and the folks behind the accents? They were nice too! Yankees weren’t cruel, stingy, or snobbish. Folks would smile as we walked by. If we asked someone for directions two people would join in the conversation to make sure we really knew where we were going. Construction workers would shout good morning and the mail men would smile good day. Maybe it was the rare bout of perfect weather they were experiencing or maybe I have simply been spoon fed southern lies my whole life – Bostonians exceeded my expectations. Traveling can be such revelation.
Don’t you dare travel with me. I’m a terrible partner. I dunno why, I’ve got this thing about being a tourist. When I go to a new city, whether I am there for two weeks or two hours, I like to feel the beat of being a citizen. My goal for this trip was to see Boston and get a feeling for what it would be like to live there. With that in view, I chastised my older sister for pulling out maps in the T station and for taking pictures in the bestest of spots. Good thing she didn’t listen to me, or this fine vacation would have gone completely undocumented.
Sarah proved to be a worthy and patient travel partner. She was up for anything, and by anything I mean wandering around Cambridge for three hours at a stretch and climbing 294 steps up the Bunker Monument when we were already completely pooped. We spent the majority of our time meeting people, wandering around the different districts of Boston, and “feeling the rhythm of the street.” I’d rather get lost on the streets for an hour, meet Bostonians, learn my way around, and see a part of the city I was never planning to visit, then wander around a museum all morning. In fact, that is what we did. We walked, got lost, ate food, explored, and really began to understand the city. We didn’t end up using a single one of our five tickets to the best attractions. Regrets? None. We know Boston like those folks at the New England Aquarium will never know it.
So it has been established that I have a peculiar fear of ever being identified as a tourist. That being said, I love tourists! Aside from seeing the city, the best parts of big places like Boston is that there are tourists everywhere. I could have sat in Quincy market all day long admiring the French, Spanish, and Mandarin zooming in, around, and about me. Maybe I was born to be a diplomat; whenever I sense the presence of foreigners I immediately move into a make-them-think-americans-are-nice mode. Sometimes I smile creepily. British accents give me a special kind of be-on-your-bes-behavior sort of chill. Call me a wacko, mingling with folks from other countries is exhilarating. I may have people watched a whole lot. Don’t you be judging, it is how I learn.
( By the way, on our freedom trail tour a British guy questioned me and my sister on our knowledge of Revolutionary war history. He was genuinely curious about our perspective. We did the American education system proud, never mind that were homeschoolers)
All in all, it was a lovely trip. Like I mentioned, we didn’t end up using any of our tickets ( we left them with the couple we stayed with; like a majority of the locals, they live in Boston but have not had a chance to do any of the tourist-y things). I may divulge more of the highlights of the city in a travel plan format. I am thinking of creating an ideal “5 Days in Boston with No Money” type post. We’ll see.