GC was up before me, slaving away in the kitchen over a monthly report he has to write to his alabama advisor. the lights were on even though it was already bright enough to work. another reason why he woke up early was he didn't know when the puerto rican parade was going to start, the one i told him about a few days ago and he expressed interest in going.
he asked me when it was, i told him noontime, and we'd leave around 11am, giving me about an hour to get ready. i used the bathroom, showered, then made a tuna fish sandwich along with a mug of fruit juice served in the new corelle mug i found yesterday. afterwards i went outside and brought out 2 bikes. i was going to ride the trek utility, but the rear brake was sticking, so i opted for the fuji instead. i oiled the rusty chain on the trek mountain bike.
we didn't leave until 11:17am, taking us 24 minutes of riding to get to copley square. it was a nice day, not too cold, not too warm, although it felt hotter after a bit of riding. i wore pants but it was definitely shorts weather. i've never taken GC into boston before via bike, and i haven't biked into boston myself in a while. the farthest we've gone in the direct of boston was just to central square. we found a post to lock the bikes to along boylston street and waited at the southeastern corner of dartmouth and bolyston, my usual spot. actually not exactly usual, as it was a sunny day and GC suggested we waited underneath a tree. for for shade, but bad for photography, as i typically like to shoot some crowd pics before the parade begins. we stepped up to the curb once the parade started, but a puerto rican family to my left kept crowding into the street, blocking my view.
GC has never seen a parade before. parades simply don't exist in china. in order to have a parade you need the proper license, but nobody ever gets a license, it's a joke that it even exists. the only time i saw people marching in china was the occasional walking billboards of senior musicians dressed in uniforms, and those are always to sell something, not protest or celebrate something. GC also asked some questions that i myself have always wondered but never knew the answers. why do puerto ricans get a parade, and not some other ethnic group?
the parade started promptly at 12pm but the procession didn't get to us until 10 minutes later. the mayor flanked by supporters, behind him a troupe of dancing horses.
the parade wasn't very long, ended by 12:40pm, which caught me by surprise, because i was expecting to see more. i was surprised to learn that this was actually my 3rd consecutive year attending the puerto rican parade. last year 2016 it was rainy but i came anyway. and the year before that 2015 was actually my first puerto rican parade. that was a good parade, with a procession of latin american hunks and beauties (from a beauty school?). i actually saw that parade from 3 different points. in terms of photo opps, there weren't that many today, partly because the processions were sort of meh at best, but partly because of our location. i actually like going to parades by myself because i can walk around and take photos, instead of chaperoning my guest.
as it was still early, i suggested to GC we could go visit no-name seafood for some lunch. so we biked from copley square, following alongside the parade route, as if we were a part of the parade. i'm sure if we had a PR flag people would've snapped photos of us. we cut across chinatown then to south station, crossing the bridge to the children museum then following the harbor walkway to the seaport district. there were a few tall ships, perhaps leftover from the tall ship festival a weeks back (one that i didn't bother going).
it's been a while since i've gone to the seaport district, although i passed alongside a few times. i didn't realize just how extensively developed it's become, like a forest of modern glass architecture. i still harbor bad feelings about the place from my days working at the boston design center. the seaport district will forever be a desolate dump in my mind, no matter how much they build (they even have a wagamama and a shake shack). everything is all new there and the thing about boston i like is that it's old.
it took a few peeks of google maps to finally find no-name seafood. did they move? probably, because i remember they used to be someplace else. i remember they used to be self service dining, but now it was more a typical sit-down restaurant. when i saw the menu i knew right away this was a tourist trap. one of the reasons i came here was expecting to find some cheap quality seafood, but the price was comparable to other local seafood joints, meaning it was expensive. as for the selection, there wasn't very much, not compared to belle isle seafood. the place gets rave reviews, but i must be missing something, because i'd never recommend the place. a sleepy waitress sat by the door and said we could sit anywhere.
we tried going in the back to find a seat by the window so we could at least look out at the harbor, but we were intercepted by an old waiter who persuaded us to sit further inside where it was dark and without views. nicholas was his name, his lineage a combination of italian and greek. he was friendly, and sized us up as students. i played along, the just-as-friendly tourist, like we were old friends, as he put his arm around my shoulder and mine around his waist as he talked to us.
we decided on two cups of seafood chowder ($5/each) and a shared plate of fried clams ($22). nicholas brought out some more garlic bread and gave us an additional plate of complimentary french fries. the chowder was kind of watery, not one of those thick chowders, with bits and pieces of mystery meat from the sea. i even saw some bits of shrimp in my chowder, though it all tasted the same in the end. the clams were good, with medium-sized bellies rich with mollusky flavors, though not as big as the clams my father and i had at the clam box in quincy. the homemade tartar sauce was less tartar and more just mayonnaise and relish. with the chowder, with the bread, with the french fries, and then the fried clams, it was a very filling meal. good thing we were riding back home so we could work off the calories, the only risk being if we even had the energy after eating so much.
returning home, we made our way out of the seaport district first, before going through the financial district, then chinatown, then backbay to cross the fielder footbridge by the hatchshell. i decided to come back along the charles river as it was more scenic and no need to worry about cars. unfortunately there were plenty of other things to worry about, like joggers, strollers, and other cyclists. sunbathers crowded the floating wooden docks and turtles sunned themselves on containment booms. we cut through harvard square to get home. in total, our roundtrip was 14 miles.
i left around 3pm to have dinner in belmont. the smart thing would've been to take the motorcycle, but i went there via bicycle, because i heard my mother wanted to go riding on the minuteman trail again, this time with my father. however when i arrived, she said she already went hiking with my sister, so had her fill of exercise for the day.
without the help of the blog i wouldn't have known that history would be repeating itself tonight. last year when i went to the puerto rican parade, i had persian kubideh for dinner. likewise, this year, after going to the puerto rican parade, we were having kubideh. we made the order around 5pm and left soon afterwards, as they told me the food would be ready in 10-15 minutes. along the way we spotted many homes with solar panels, particularly one on sandrick road (belmont), a ranch house with a southeastern facing roof with 32 solid black sunpower panels, it was a thing of solar beauty.
i had a big lunch and now was eating another big meal for dinner. i ate about 80%, leaving a quarter of a sausage and some sumac-laced rice as leftovers. i rode back to cambridge devoid of energy, my body inching towards a food coma. i was happy to be back at home, where i took a hot shower and digested the rest of the night.