today i took my roommate (henceforth known as "susan" since that's what her chinese name sounds like transliterated to an english approximate) on a tour of boston, one of many perks of staying at my place. we left around 11:30 to grab the no. 1 bus out of harvard square. i've found from past experience that this is a great way to start the tour, because it allows us to see both harvard and central square as well as MIT. we got off at the head of newbury street.

after walking down the length of newbury street (admiring both the name brand boutiques and the empty for-lease store fronts) to copley square, we checked out the boston public library. susan was impressed by the architecture, but was floored by the stacks of books, especially the large collection of chinese literature. she noticed a few titles banned in china and took some photos to show friends back home. she also couldn't believe people could borrow movies and music from the AV department. we used their public bathroom, looked through the exhibit of vintage travel posters, then finally left the library.

back outside, we checked out the trinity church and the hancock tower. susan wasn't too impressed by our glass mirror skyscraper until i told her back at home that it was designed by i.m pei, world-renowned chinese-american architect.

continuing down newbury street, we arrived in boston common. susan saw some tame park squirrels and spotted her first robin (and then another, and another - they seemed ubiquitous).

from boston common we climbed into beacon hill, checking out the boot scrapers, some historical eye candy of a bygone time when horses were the main mode of transportation. we saw the state house, then checked out the granary graveyard, final resting place of some distinguished americans like benjamin franklin's parents and john hancock.

at downtown crossing i realized we were slightly off-course. though close to haymarket (our final destination), we backtracked so we could check out chinatown. we got some stuff from the lincoln street c-mart before walking back in the direction of government center.

it was 4:30 by the time we finally arrived at haymarket. with the market about to close at 5:00, vendors were slashing prices and customers were clamoring for bargains. i bought a whole box of red plums for $1 (about 3 dozen) and 4 lbs. of cherries ($8).

passing through city hall to catch the subway back home, we ran into the cuervo games happening in the plaza, a kind of adult obstacle course sponsored by a booze company. there was a live band performing (didn't catch the name of the performers though). we stayed for a few minutes, then took the T back to cambridge.