my roommate and i left the house before 11:00. he had some toast and tea for breakfast while i just ate a vitamin pill and my HBP medication. the sky was clear and the temperature started in the 20's but settled into the 30's. it was okay to go without a hat (despite the occasional blustery winds) but gloves were needed to keep those hands warm. the no.1 dudley bus was already at the stop outside of harvard courtyard when we arrived. the bus ride into boston was a better choice than just taking the subway because my roommate could see some of the places he visited before (like parts of central square) and finally connect the pieces of how cambridge and boston is laid out. we got off at the hynes convention center stop at the intersection of mass ave and newbury street.
we took a quick peek at the best buy on the street corner (formerly virgin records which was formerly tower records). my roommate checked out the itouch and some camera bags but didn't buy anything. instead of going down newbury street (didn't think he was a boutique sort of guy) we walked down boylston street instead. we passed the lir irish pub and noticed the seasonably costumed crowd inside. my roommate deduced that those were probably the people doing the santa speedo run later (this is why he's an astrophysicist and i'm not). after browsing 3 floors of the apple store (my first time!) we went into the prudential center shopping plaza to look around a bit. we continued down boylston until we arrived at copley square. with about 40 more minutes before the speedo santa run started (at 1:00), i took my roommate on an extended tour of the boston public library.
we still had some minutes to kill so we hung out outside of the trinity church, finding a sunny spot on a park bench. i was surprised he last this long, but my roommate finally lit up his first cigarette since we left the house. we watched kids skateboard in the empty water fountain. my roommate took some practice shots with his telephoto lens.
this is my 3rd santa speedo run (as an observer; 2007 & 2008). i began to fear it was somehow cancelled because there was still no activity when 1:00 rolled around. finally a few police officers arrived on the scene to direct traffic. the flow on dartmouth street was stopped, much to the consternation of angry boston drivers putting on a car horn symphony. a few just couldn't take it anymore and pulled illegal right turns despite the shouts of stop by the traffic police (too bad guns weren't drawn).
every year there seems to be more people running. there's a quota but there's probably also a lot of bandit runners caught up in the thrill of running in their holiday skivvies in the middle of december. i pretty much watched the whole event through my camera viewfinder, rapidfiring the shutter until the internal camera memory maxxed out on storage space.
the santa speedo run is a tough event to photograph because everything happens so quickly. i started out with my 70-300mm telephoto to get some distant shots of the runners lining up, but then switched to my tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 to get the wider shots for more of the action. on the run back, i switched lens once more, to my 10-22mm superwide angle. in hindsight, that was probably too much. the run revealed some weakness in my gear. i could really use an intermediate zoom, something that goes from 17mm to maybe 100mm or more (ideally, maybe as much as 200mm). with the lenses i have now, i'm either too wide or too close. with the lower zooms i keep on pushing them to their maximum (22mm and 50mm) while on the telephoto i rarely venture above the minimum 70mm. i do have a 60mm but it's a fixed lens. i'd also love to have a camera that can shoot faster than the 350D's 3 frames per second (it'd be the only reason to consider a 40D/50D).
"let's eat!" i told my roommate, both of us still glowing from the excitement of seeing the throng of scantily-clad runners. he'd brought up the subject of lunch earlier, and was adamant about treating. i led us to the nearby wendy's and interpreted for him when the cashier couldn't understand his accented english. my roommate paid for our lunch with a $100 bill, which the cashier naughtily drew on with a counterfeit detection pen, scribbling a mustache on benjamin franklin. i'd noticed something was a little off with the menu when my usual no.6 spicy chicken sandwich combo was labeled as the no.6 crispy chicken sandwich. i figured maybe they were just trying out a new name until i sat down and unwrapped the foil and realized we'd stumbled into a burger king instead. i found out later that wendy's was right next door. i wonder if BK numbered their chicken sandwich no.6 just to trick unsuspecting loyal wendy's customers. having said that, the crispy chicken sandwich wasn't bad, and if i didn't figure it out, i would've thought we were still eating at wendy's.
we went back to trinity church and tried to see if we could get in. the sign outside made it sound like admittance was free but the woman at the front door said we still had to pay $6 each for a self-guided tour (that's just a fancy way of saying there's an entrance fee).
starting from copley square, we walked down boylston street until we got to public garden. we teased some fearless squirrels by pretending to feed them with leaves (i was afraid one might bite me out of retribution). we saw a few common new england birds but uncommon in china, including canada geese, starlings, robins, and mourning doves. from there we cut across the boston common to frog pond (where a long line of people were awaiting their turn to stake), then up to beacon hill to see examples of bootscrapers.
from the state house we went down park street to the granary burying ground (graves of paul revere, john hancock, and benjamin franklin's parents).
from tremont we saw king's chapel, omni parker house, the old city hall, borders bookstore (where i used the bathroom while my roommate smoked outside), the old state house (from there saw the custom house tower), city hall, faneuil hall, quincy market...
haymarket, hanover street (north end), paul revere mall, old north church, copp's hill burial ground, and the north end skating rink (where we caught a peewee hockey game).
the view of interstate 93 below causeway street gave us a great opportunity to try some time lapse photography. the view of the city from north station and the boston garden wasn't too shabby either.
we made a dunkin' donuts hot coffee pitstop where my roommate treated once more, before heading down staniford to cambridge street. from charles/mgh station we decided to walk across the longfellow bridge just to check out the view, before finally taking the subway from kendall/MIT back to harvard square and back. for the most part, our walk through boston was basically the tour i gave my last roommate in september, but in reverse order, with a santa speedo run to kick things off and ending with a sunset walk across the longfellow bridge.
we left the house at 11:00 and didn't get back until 6:00. my legs including my feet were killing me. i basically hobbled for the rest of the night. my sorry state is a bit of surprise considering all the biking i've been doing recently. different muscle groups at work probably. my roommate suffered no ill effects from our day of perpetual walking (although he did lose his charlie card with about $10 worth of money). while he heated up some more of his pork and potato stew with noodles, i had a can of corn chowder for dinner. we did a photo exchange so we can compare snapshots.
waiting for me on the front steps when we got back was the rest of my bicycle equipment order: chain whip with 15mm pedal wrench (HCW-16 $13.13), lockring remover (FRG-5GC $5.06), square crank puller (CCP-22C $9.31), shimano M191 170mm 28/38/48 silver crankset ($28.50), kryptonite kryptoflex cable 7'x10mm ($9.95), and a sigma spoke magnet ($2.99).