as is tradition when i have a roommate, i take them on a tour of boston on their very first weekend. like karen, GC had been to boston before, 2 years ago for 2 days, despite having studied at umass amherst for 2 years working on his PhD. still, i like to think that any boston touring he did with his chinese astrophysicist friends can't compare to my tours, being that i am a life-long boston resident.
being this was his first saturday, i figured GC would sleep late, but he was up around his usual 9am wake up time. we had some passing rainstorms this morning and i suggested we wait until 10:30am, when the weather clears up a bit, before heading out to boston.
we walked to harvard square, where i took him to newbury comics, to see a genuine american comic book store. i'd forgotten that despite the name, comics are just a small portion of their merchandise, which also includes toys, music, books, and t-shirts. i don't think GC was too disappointed, browsing newbury comics is like taking a crash course on currently trending pop culture. there was a lot of local sports, pokemon, star wars, game of thrones, and marvel action heroes.
we grabbed a no.1 bus heading into the city. earlier we were at harvard station putting some money on GC's MBTA charlie card. a vendor promoting some granola bars handed us some free samples. "nice shirt!" he shouted, referring to GC's manchester's united t-shirt. we rode the bus into boston and got off at newbury street.
we walked down newbury street to copley square, then i took him inside the boston public library. chinese roommates are more impressed with the architecture here than european roommates, where this sort of beaux-arts style is quite common with their eurohistory that spans centuries. i noticed GC wasn't a big snapshot guy, but he did take a few photos. as for me, i brought my panasonic lumix but ended up just shooting with my iphone instead, which was more convenient and less conspicuous. from copley we walked through the boston public garden and boston common, on our way to chinatown for a late lunch. i was pretty hungry by that point, only because i didn't have breakfast; GC at least ate some bread and drank a glass of milk before leaving the house.
originally i thought about getting some dim sum, but being that it was a hot and humid day, i didn't want to eat an oily lunch, so i decided vietnamese instead. GC told me he prefers chinese food, but the one other ethnic food he has the most experience with is vietnamese. back in his amherst days, he went out for pho a few times. instead of noodles however, i recommended the bun. i figured he'd choose between chicken or beef, but didn't realize they also had shrimp as well (wasn't surprised he picked that). bun ended up being a better choice, as i was sweating eating my hot pho noodle soup. GC ended up treating, i told him i'd treat next time.
GC got a kick seeing all the taiwan flags hanging in chinatown (there was no mainland china flag to be seen anywhere). when he was last in boston, his friends took him to a hot pot buffet place which he still recognized. i never been and asked him if it was good; he said it was, but they were also starving that day after a day of sightseeing.
we visited c-mart on lincoln street where GC got some shank beef, which we didn't find at market basket. we cut through the empty (on a weekend) financial district towards the direction of quincy market. we saw the place where benjamin franklin was born (hidden on milk street) as well as the old state house.
at haymarket we bought grapes and cherries. GC got some oranges (8 for a $1), i bought some figs (2 for $3) and some rainier cherries ($3 a bag). we grabbed the orange train from haymarket station and then the red line from downtown crossing to take us back to porter square. we finally got back home by 4pm.
i was covered in a film of sweat from walking around all day in the sticky heat. i wanted to take a shower but i just grabbed a change of clothes and took the motorcycle to belmont instead. i never did take that shower, since by the time i arrived i was already dry.
i brought home a bag of cherries, black grapes, and a package of black mission figs. the figs were fresh and unblemished, but weren't as sweet as fresh figs i've had in the past. earlier i gave GC one to try, as he'd never had them before. he said the flavor reminded him of pomegranates (minus the tartness).
when i returned home after dinner, i was blasted yet again with smells: this time a combination of beef and shrimp. i have to give GC some credit: other than the food odor, not a single evidence remains of his dinner. not plates in the drying rack, not utensils next to the sink, he's meticulous with his cleanup. if it wasn't for the stink, i would've sworn he didn't eat yet. later in the evening i threw out the trash for the second this week, filled with the nauseating smell of rotting shrimp shells.
i introduced GC to old-school wonder woman (linda carter). later we watched the very first episode of dexter after we saw a special news reporter on serial killers.