li had been living in boston for more than half a year but still haven't had time to take a proper tour of the city. so today i took him to see boston (just like i took karen and GC). originally we were scheduled to leave at 10am (and he managed to wake up on time last time, unlike last weekend when we went to the MFA), but the rain was a little heavy and i decided to delay our departure in order to wait out the brunt of the storm according to the doppler radar.
we didn't leave until 10:40am. i brought just my panasonic lumix so i didn't have to lug around a heavy dSLR on a rainy day. we walked down to harvard square to take the number 1 bus, one just leaving the moment we arrived. we waited 15 minutes for the next one to show up.
we arrived in boston around 11:40am, then walked 15 minutes down newbury street to the boston public library, where i gave him a tour inside. he didn't seem impressed with the reading room (said the harvard library had one just like it but even bigger), though more impressed with the new wing and the stacks of books.
we then walked down commonwealth avenue into the public garden. even on a rainy day there was a decent amount of people, but nowhere near the level of nice summer weekends. we meandered through the park, then crossed to boston common. he was particularly interested in the wildlife, clicking his tongue to attract the hordes of tame squirrels, and amazed to see pigeons everywhere just casually feeding on the grass.
we finally made it to chinatown by 1pm. he got to witness the battle of flags between ROC (taiwan) and PRC (china) during chinese independence day. there actually seems to be more PRC flags since my visit a few days ago.
we were ready to eat after having built up an appetite. li had some breakfast before we left but i didn't eat anything yet today. since li is from guangdong province, of course i took him for some dim sum (hei la moon), partly because he hasn't had it in a while (not since he's been in the US), but also to gauge the authenticity of the dishes. he was impressed with the selection and quality, said it was similar to guangdong dim sum, and i watched as his eyes lit up whenever he saw a familiar dish. i ordered two plates of tripes since it's one of my favorites.
afterwards we went to jia ho supermarket so he could pick up some asian grocery items, including seaweed and edible chrysanthemum leaves (茼蒿菜 Glebionis coronaria). we went to jia ho because that's the market he goes to whenever he's in china. i bought another package of watermelon seeds and some throat drops.
next stop was CVS, where li was looking for a proper facial cleanser. we had a discussion last week, when he asked me what i used to clean my face. "soap?" i replied. unlike GC, who didn't even use soap (unless he went to the gym), li uses a wide assortment of personal care products, from body wash to different shampoos and conditioners, to special facial scrubs. ironically he doesn't use soap either, and said it with a hint of contempt, preferring more refined skin care goods. he ran out of his chinese-brand facial cleanser, that's why he was asking. i told him he could easily find what he wanted at any pharmacy, and was surprised that he's never visited one before, although he's passed by many. you have to understand that pharmacies in china only sell medicine, which isn't the case here in the US. anyway, we went to CVS, and he found what he wanted, some neutrogena facial cleanser. i didn't tell him about the cheaper store brand facial cleanser because i discovered he received a $2000 monthly stipend from the chinese government, so he has plenty of money to spend.
from there we walked back through boston common, up to the state house, then to the granary burial ground and some historical places like old city hall (with the statue of benjamin franklin) and old state house (seat of british imperial rule), before finally arriving at faneuil hall then quincy market, none of which he's visited before (quincy market is usually the first place tourists visit when they cam to boston).
finally we went to haymarket. by that point the rain had picked up a little bit. not only was it wet, it was also windy and getting dark. still, li seemed to enjoy seeing an outdoor produce market, and bought some rambutans and a bunch of kale. i bought 2 boxes of figs for $5 and some clementine oranges for $2 (8).
we than began the slow task of returning home. from haymarket we caught the orange line to downtown crossing, then we took the red line one stop to park street, where we then had to get off because they're rerouting the train tracks on longfellow bridge, so we took a shuttle bus that brought us to kendall square, where we got back onto the red line and went to porter.
it was unexpected, but li made enough dinner for the both of us. he made a nice bone broth soup with seaweed then steamed some 粉蒸肉 with the edible chrysanthemum leaves which gave it a nice flavor. he's got some good cooking skills, better than GC at least, though he told me he learned most of it online or through past roommates.
after 2 days, the tetras have figured out that the bits of fish crumbs floating down from the surface are actually food. they also no longer school behind the driftwood log but now congregate in front of the wood.