first i went to the cafe this morning to get my great uncle's senior card. with said card i could apply for a $5 discount on the $25 large item pickup sticker from the cambridge department of public works. from there i went down columbia street and came out at MIT, crossing the mass ave bridge into boston.
from back bay i navigated my way along the eastern edge of the fens, heading south-southwest in the direction of MFA. the tall glass structure of the new american wing was like a beacon visible from far away.
with the start of the 4th of july long weekend and the city swamped with visitors both local and distant, to say that the museum would be busy would be a tremendous understatement. add to that free admission, it was going to be crazy. there was so many people that they had to form a line outside and wait until all the people inside had cleared through the entrance before letting us in.
the big draw was the chihuly (cthulhu?) exhibit. i'd never heard of him before, but apparently he's a glass artist. the line to see the special exhibit had a wait time of 40 minutes. i decided to come back and check it out on a day when it wasn't supercrowded. so instead i checked the basement level of the american wing, the section i forgot to visit when i came here with my old roommate victor back in march.
the basement level is the ancient mesoamerican floor, with a smattering of native american, 17th century colonial art, and maritime art. favorites include the split design human head jar (half flesh half skull), the smiling crab-shaped ocarina, and the amazingly lifetime olmec mask. none of these things i've ever seen before at the MFA, i don't even think they had anything mesoamerican in their collection.
there was only a small collection of native american artifacts; some of cases were empty, which isn't too surprising given surviving native americans are still battling for possession of their ancestral relics and contesting the legitimacy of various museum collections. they also had some modern native american art.
i left the museum around 1:00, after making a failed attempt in getting into the chihuly exhibit and seeing that the lines were still too long. from MFA i made my way to the southwest corridor. i've only recently realized there was a dedicated bike/pedestrian path running parallel to the orange line (south), from back bay station all the way to forest hill. i've been meaning to check it out and today was a good excuse to do so.
i went down ruggle street and got a little worried when i couldn't see the path, but after i crossed over the train tracks, there it was. it sort of meandered through the southern campus of northeastern university, but i was able to follow it. that is until i got to carter playground, and the trail just disappeared. it actually does a little zigzag route through the playground, but i didn't know that at the time. so instead i ended up on columbus avenue, which wasn't so bad, since there were bike lanes along the side of the road as well. i knew i was heading in the right direction because i could see the john hancock building over the horizon. on my left, looking down intersecting streets, i could see what looked to be a park of some sort with a lot of green shubbery. what i didn't realize was i was looking at the border of the southwest corridor. basically i was biking parallel to the bike path. i could've been enjoy the serenity of this city oasis for bikers instead of dodging cars and navigating intersections.
once i got within the outskirts of chinatown i found my bearing and proceeded northeast along the south edge of boston common, through downtown crossing (riding up busy washington street), until finally arriving at the faneuil hall area.
i bought a ton of produce, knowing i had the carrying capacity to take it all home: 7 oranges ($1), 2 lbs. bing cherries ($6, price increase), 2 lbs. of red seedless grapes ($3), 5 cucumbers ($2), 3 granny smith apples ($1), 1 pineapple ($1), 3 tomatoes ($1.50), and 2 boxes of strawberries ($2). i packed everything into my industrial-sized rear metal carriers and made my way back to cambridge via the charles river route. it was longer but i wouldn't have to deal with car traffic. i went by the hatchshell and saw construction crew setting up the stage and scaffolding for the live 4th of july concert. people were sunbathing along the docks despite the overcast weather (it was a bright overcast and the day was still hot).
i arrived at the cafe close to 3:00 to deliver the produce. i was exhausted, mopping my sweat-drenched face with my t-shirt. my mother gave me a can of soda which i almost drank down in a single gulp. after i caught my breath, i went back home to take a shower.
in the late afternoon i went out again, first to rite aid to look for bug spray (the ones on sale were all sold out), then to star market to stock up on ice cream (4-day-only $2 sale on häagen-dazs, but you needed to buy 4 at a time). while walking the aisles, i passed by a black lady feeding her baby from her ample bosoms with one arm while pushing a shopping cart with the other arm.
i was sweaty again by the time i got back. after another shower, i helped myself to some ice cream (drumstick cone).
my roommate came home in the evening while i was eating my spaghetti sitting on the living room. "it's july 1st," he said, "i owe you rent." that wasn't so hard! he said his schedule has been a little weird lately because he caught a cold. that would explain going to work late and coming home in the afternoon to sleep. hopefully he'll take this long weekend to recover.
while browsing craig's list i came across a posting for a free box of bicycle parts in somerville. the address wasn't very far, just a half mile away, 12 minute walking, or a few minutes by bike. the posting was made close to 4:00 and more than 5 hours had already gone by. i wasn't hopeful there'd be anything left, but i was curious to see what i could find. the thing about somerville that you have to know is it's quite hilly. not san francisco hilly, but hilly nonetheless. what should've been a routine ride became an uphill stress test. given that my legs had no power left after yesterday and today, by the time i made it to the address i was sweating and out of breath. i didn't see anything at first, but when i swung back around i saw the boxes. one had a set of old drop handlebars (tape falling off), another box was just a bunch of bike parts. i grabbed them both like a thief in the night and coasted back home (downhill's a lot easier).
somebody had already picked a pair of handlebars (SR drop bars and a set of wald city bars) and maybe some cables but left the rest. the one remaining cable is a shifter which i can use. i can also use the pair of pedals (although i was thinking about upgrading to some toeclips/straps). the dynamo lights might be of some use if i can get them to work.
finally, amidst the whirlwind of activities happening today, my 2TB internal hard drive arrived today. i didn't have time to check it out, will hopefully get a chance to do that over the weekend. backing up photos isn't very glamorous anyway, and it ties up my computer during the data transfer.