Posts Tagged ‘Boston’


International Sights in Your Backyard

November 20, 2008

boston_cityhallI was reading the Sydney Morning Herald online today, as I sometimes do, and on their homepage an image caught my eye.

It was this small, thumbnail picture of a building that looked a lot like Boston’s City Hall. So I clicked on it and went to an article about the ugliest buildings and monuments in the world. Number one on the list: Boston’s City Hall. Impressive, wouldn’t you say? Having the number one anything right here where we can enjoy it?

The list includes buildings from France, Spain, Russia and even Liechtenstein, but there’s no arguing that Boston has one of the ugliest.

The lesson here is that while you may be traveling to see beautiful sights, you might come across a few ugly ones that are just as spectacular, in their head-scratching, “what were they thinking?” kind of way, and you should enjoy those just as much.

What’s your vote for ugliest landmark?


Veteran Traveler Makes Rookie Mistakes

October 21, 2008
Inspiration in the Harvard Sq. T station.

Inspiration in the Harvard Sq. T station.

I have no idea how many tens of thousands of miles I have covered by plane, train, bus, car, boat and horse. Well, very few by horse, but those miles still count.

Still, when it comes to all the new travel regulations, I get thrown off. My usual routines and travel habits become muddled, and before you know it I’m sitting at SFO late at night, no stores open, my contact lens case packed away in my check-through bag, and my contact lenses feeling dryer and more glued to my eyes with every passing minute.

My old routine was simple: Throw the case in the front of my backpack with my glasses and bottle of solution, next to my toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick, hand lotion, and maybe some aspirin. It’s the easiest place to access while on a plane, and then you have all your most pressing physical needs taken care of in one place.

But now I have some liquids in my Ziploc baggie for security, some toiletries checked in because they’re bigger than the few ounces allowed to go through security, and some things in my camera bag, for no real reason other than packing laziness, and a full Ziploc baggie.

With few options, I improvised, dropping my lenses directly into the travel-sized contact lens solution bottle, then carrying it very carefully from SF to Boston so that they would stay wet and not get stuck to the side of the bottle and dry out. I was thrilled to get to Boston, dump them out, and find that they were still in good shape, and figuring out which eye was which was no problem at all.

The lesson here: No matter how much you think you’ve planned ahead, plan some more. Also, be flexible. Also, always keep an extra pair of contacts on you, just in case you lose a pair.

Oh, the rest of the trip was fabulous. Thank goodness I was able to see it all.


Free Fun in Boston at the Head of the Charles

October 9, 2008
Love that dirty water.

The Charles River: Love that dirty water.

The Head of the Charles Regatta is being held October 18 & 19 this year (that’s 2008 if you’ve time traveled to this page from the distant future and don’t know where you’ve landed).

It’s called the Head of the Charles because it’s held on the Charles River, and you don’t need to be embarassed if you didn’t know that. It’s called a Regatta because that’s what these big boat races are called.

Wikipedia says: [The HOTC] is the largest 2-day regatta in the world, with more than 8,000 athletes rowing in around 1750 boats in 56 events. It attracts about 300,000 spectators throughout Regatta weekend. The Head of the Charles Regatta is run by an office of 3 and approximately 1,500 volunteers.

Is anyone else impressed by that last number? Only three official employees and then 1,500 volunteers? Wow.

So, if you’re anywhere near Boston next week, and as a matter of fact I myself will be in Boston to visit friends, I recommend heading to the river to watch these teams in action. With any luck it will be a beautiful weekend and you’ll be able to enjoy picturesque views of either the MIT/Cambridge skyline, or the Boston University campus, depending on whether you hang out on the Boston or Cambridge side of things.

Learn more at and find more fun, cheap things to using’s “25 Things to do this Fall Under $25“.