Apr 26, 2019

The Boston Diaries 6: Love You, Boston. The New England Aquarium.

It's always the way.  The rougher the start, the harder I fall.


Boston, I think I love you.  Despite all those flight delays to get here, that dismal weather that greeted me when I finally got here and the small issue of the city tour that wasn't.


With just over a day left here, I've finally gotten my bearings in the local area around my hotel.  I've made my peace with the coffee (for the record Dunkin' isn't too bad), gotten my Chipotle order down pat and well .. Sweetgreen .. that's a reason to return again soon, isn't it? 

The people are endlessly polite and up for a chat.  They don't have that sense of the Sydney rush about them or that New York City hustle.

Which I'm not complaining about because one of the great things about this trip has been the balance of the touristy with the chance to do normal things like go the post office, line up with everyone else at Sweetgreen, get my groceries at Trader Joe's, fill up that hotel mini-fridge.....  


The curry chickpea bowl at Sweetgreen.  Another winner.

Not everyone's idea of fun but whatever.



The conference has been fascinating and so much more than I anticipated,  I was even part of the audience as a case in a journal I often read was presented with live discussion and analysis.


I caught the train today.  Just like a local.  The signage was very clear and the lines pretty straightforward.  My only struggle was decoding the spoken announcements the train drivers made at each stop.


I'm a bit behind in Tigger's trip photos for Master SSG so I caught up a bit today.  Here he is looking as excited as I felt that we got to our desired train stop first go.


The North End definitely has a more touristy feel to it than Back Bay.  There's an abundance of history in the North End area, parts of the Freedom Trail are located here.  Unfortunately, all my Googling this afternoon has failed to help me identify any of the buildings in today's photos.  


I may have some answers tomorrow because that when I'm going on a walking (and eating) tour of the area.

Speaking of eating.



You've been bombarded with the tedious details of my room floor picnic meals... here's the one meal I've eaten at a restaurant since hitting Boston.  A lobster roll made the traditional way (with mayo) and sides of coleslaw and fries.  It was $32 USD at Legal Seafood on the harbour and I paired it with a glass of prosecco.  I regret nothing.  It was perfect, my flute was pretty much filled to the brim and the service was so very friendly.


Lunch wasn't the only item on my North End to-do list.  I was actually there primarily to visit the New England Aquarium that was about five seconds walk from the restaurant.  I'm going to say at the outset that the aquarium is one of the highlights of my sightseeing here in Boston and while $32 USD may seem steep for admission, the funds raised through visitors and their spending help further the education and conservation missions that the facility champions. 



There's this wonderful buzz about this aquarium.  It is a tourist attraction but there's also so much education that takes place throughout the day with presentations throughout the day, interactive wall displays and staff on hand with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the aquarium's residents.  Divers were in the aquariums throughout my visit attending to the exhibits and caring for the sea life.  The water was also crystal clear which made the photos I took on my phone perfectly reflect the brilliant colours I was seeing in real time.



Sting and manta rays are the animal in our house at the moment.  Getting this photo of Tigger with a ray as well as some video of the rays in their petting pool was pretty much job done for me.  There was just the busy gift store to contend with later...  


I love everything about this sign....


The central feature of the aquarium is a gradually winding, broad walkway that wraps around the central tank.  This enables visitors to have a continual view of it as they walk.


The penguin enclosure takes up most of the ground floor and there were so many of them.  They looked healthy and were having the time of their lives swimming in formation between the rocks as their keeper chatted to us.



At the top of the ramp was the chance to look directly into the top of the aquarium. 


And catch a glimpse of Boston Myrtle the Turtle (we have one in Sydney too, see my recent school post....).



A seahorse bobbing along languidly through the water.


More penguins.


Aren't these anemone stunning?


 It was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.


Of course there was merchandise. 


And of course, I was the one with overloaded arms waiting at the end of a very slow moving line....


Thankfully there were wide open spaces to explore after I paid for my purchases.


Like the Quincy Market. 


Aside from the food and the chain clothing retailers, there were many unique gift stores where I managed to complete my gift shopping.


It's obviously not just Master SSG who lives for trains, one stall was devoted to Massachusetts Bay Transit Association memorabilia.



Christmas in Boston is my other favourite store in the market area.


Not only do they stock Christmas decorations year round, they go one better and offer a creative range of themed baubles.  There are Boston themed lighthouses, sporting team ones and these occupation themed decorations.  You can even get them personalized on the spot.  Most were in the $15 USD price range.


Trainee Bostonian that I am, I then seamlessly took the train back to Back Bay, dropped my shopping off at the hotel before conquering the pedestrian walkways that connect Copley Place to the Prudential Centre via various spendy hotels.  And then I confidently walked through a convention centre, exited and landed just across the road from Trader Joe's.


I was there for a carton of milk but it's a bit like Target and I have so many people to buy gifts and lunchbox snacks for.  Actually, I take some of that back.  I don't think anything in this photo is lunchbox appropriate.  Might have to go back tomorrow then.



It wouldn't be the second last night somewhere in the US without me doing a CVS run.



Why doesn't Australia have Aquaphor?  We have Apple products.  Aquaphor is just as life-changing if not more so.  It's amazing on cracked, dry skin.  There are no more of those large tubes on the shelf by the way.



K beauty is having a moment in the US.  This Peach Slices hand gel that smells of rose makes some big claims.  I'll report back.


Eataly the Italian food market even has its own wine room which even has mini bottles of pre-mixed Bellinis made with organic peach puree.  I'm going to miss Boston.


I'm pretty pleased with today's purchases for Master SSG.  His sting ray comes with a baby riding shotgun, that putty is guaranteed not to dry out in addition to being able to change colour and those hard copy maps of the commuter rail network will also go down a treat.



Godiva and The Cheesecake Factory.  It's a winning combination with a side of spray can cream.  Sadly, however, I'm off my game at the moment.  I could only eat 2/3 of this slice of dark chocolate perfection.  Thank goodness, again, for my room fridge.  Might have chocolate cheesecake for breakfast tomorrow.

Cheerio and be well.


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