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20 June 2008

The Boston Marathon, Vacation Style

Well, at least we felt like we'd run the marathon by the time we got home Tuesday morning.

Yes, that's the Tuesday morning following the Monday night we were supposed to return. That night we boarded our plane only to be promptly informed that due to east coast storms we were to be delayed at least an hour. After that hour passed, we heard some relatively optimistic mumblings from the captain, and began rolling down the runway. Eventually we were in the on-deck circle, when we were informed that a storm was right over Boston, and that if we couldn't take off within the next 20 minutes we would have to return to the gate because the first officer's mandatory quittin' time (FAA rules) was upon us. So, we returned to the airport, while Wyfe and I tried to console our sobbing six year-old, and after another hour or so we were informed that more storms had popped up, and the flight was canceled. After about 6 hours of sleep in the hotel they put us up at, we were back on board early the following morning, and I'm happy to say made it back fine. But patience, individual and collective, was sorely tried.

The time in Boston itself was much fun - we just missed out on the basketball celebration, which was probably fortuitous, though I sort of wanted to see the pandemonium from the safety of our hotel room. Speaking of the hotel, we were right on the harbor, across the street from Quincy Market, and adjacent to North End, with it's 90 Italian restaurants. In other words, a great location, which explains the cost (we were only paying one night's worth out of our pockets, since this was a work-related trip for Wyfe). The aforementioned six year-old adjusted quite nicely, and was content to do a lot of walking and exploring, though we threw a horse ride, an aquarium visit, and a children's museum foray into the mix.

Back to the North End for a minute. I'm an absolute nut for Italian food (any region, frankly), so we ate there for dinner both nights. Wyfe and I were there for a brief visit nine years ago, and just picked a restaurant from a hat and tried it - it was great, but we couldn't remember the name of it all these years later. Well, after walking around Saturday we passed what looked like the same place, and determined it had to be. So, on Sunday we ate there (the Piccola Venezia), and left the place so stuffed we could barely breathe. I checked with the waiter, and sure enough they were there and in business back then, and he could very well have been our waiter, since he worked there too. It was great fun, and the food was both tremendous in taste and quantity. The heaping helping of eggplant rollatini with linguini and sauce would explain the smile below:

It was my third time in Boston, and there are still whole sections of the city I've never seen. The only other major, major cities I've been to are London, Philly, Atlanta, and D.C. (which is borderline on the major scale). I love Boston, but will admit I find Philly a little more hometownish for some reason, though I grasp Boston's geography more easily.

In all cases, though, I'm afraid the stereotypical country boy comes out in me after a while. Them cities is nice places to visit and all, but I shore wouldn't want to live there, as they say (and you know who they are)! It's great fun to be able to walk a short ways to get anything you need, but a couple of days pass, and I begin to tire of buildings and bridges and large bodies of water always looming before, above, or around me. Some of the very facets of the city that seem most attractive at first - the hum of cars and crowds, the constant events, the buzz of busy-ness and things always in the process of becoming - are also what eventually repulse me or leave me feeling just a tad lonely, even in the midst of so many people. There, my friends, you have the inherent tension of many an American novel. But I'll leave that to the professionals!

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