Sunday, May 31, 2009

Boston In 6 Hours Or Less

So, last weekend I took a trip to Boston. A friend of mine who is originally from Boston endeavored to send me on a trip through the city's most beautiful parts in an effort to convince me that it was "one of the most gorgeous places in the Western hemisphere". Thus, he created a "walking tour" for me, with precise directions and landmarks. Per his instructions, this walking tour was supposed to take around 4-5 hours. I was very excited about this. It seemed like a big adventure. Sort of like following a treasure map or going on a scavenger hunt, but on a grander scale. So, on my last day in Boston, I printed out his e-mail instructions, grabbed my map and guide book, and went on an epic walk through Boston. I started off at about 10:15 in the morning and got back to my hotel around 4:30. I suppose that's closer to 6 hours. But, you know, I'm a slow walker and very easily distracted by anything shiny. Luckily, I got back in enough time to catch my flight (which was delayed anyway). Here I'll give you a massive picture post of some of my favorite things from that walk. I'd give you a map with my route, but...I'm lazy.
Here is me at the beginning of the walk, after leaving the hotel. I would become much, much sweatier as the day went on.

My instructions told me to turn on this walkway here. First leg of this walk took me through the South End, which was a very pretty part of town.

If you zoom in on this picture, right after "watch", there is a picture of a growling tiger or cougar or some large, fanged cat. It wants you to watch for turning vehicles.

These stairs are frickin' gorgeous.

Eventually I found Union Park, which was small, but quiet and pretty.

I found this Syrian restaurant. It made me wish Megan was with me, so that we could get lunch there.

Somewhere around the corner of Dwight and Shawmut Ave (if you want to Google-map it) I found the entrance to this FABULOUS house.

Next I was to catch a bus at about the corner of Berkeley and Washington St. I saw this radioactive bunny sticker on the way.
The bus took me all the way downtown. There was a large gaping hole where I guess some tall buildings has been demolished. I was intrigued that the one building here still has one wall intact. I think the front said "Filene". Anyhoo, just thought it looked cool.

Happened upon the AWESOME Kung Fu Video right above the Discount Jewelry Exchange.

Found some musicians hanging out in front of the Borders across the street from the Old South Meeting House.

Soon after, I found myself around the Quincy Market. Which was uber-touristy, but did have this little boy with the most epic balloon hat ever.

Oh, and this Silver Woman.

Holocaust Memorial.

Somewhere around Beacon Hill, a torrential downpour started. I had to hide in a doorway for awhile.

Here is Pickney St and Louisburg Square. John Kerry apparently lives right about here. I didn't know which house on the block was his though.

On Charles Street, I found this cute little pharmacy that looked like it hadn't changed since the mid-1950s. My favorite part of this photo though (if you can make it large enough to see clearly) is the very unhappy baby that the man in the red shirt is holding. Poor child.

A close-up of of the windows of Gary Drug. Below these cute little bath toys it says "Designed by Experts...Mde by Craftsmen in England".

Soon after that, I crossed this awesome bridge over into the Charles River Esplanade.

I was charmed by this family of geese looking out over the Charles River.

After going over another bridge, I ended up back in the Back Bay. Around Commonwealth Ave, I found these people doing some kind of impromptu tightrope thing. I feel this is an activity we should pick up.

I wound my way a block or two up Newbury Street, where I was strongly encouraged to stop at JP Licks, apparently some of the best ice cream in the country. I had a flavor called "El Diablo", which was chocolate ice cream with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. It was unique and delicious, indeed. And the cow on their sign is so adoreable!
Eventually, I reached the end of my epic journey. What makes it even better is that at the very end, near my hotel, I found Waldo! Score!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Can You Do In Philly In One Afternoon?

A surprising amount, actually.

You can visit the Trenton Avenue Art Festival, which was the hipster mecca of the tri-state area this particular Saturday afternoon. The main event of the fest? The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby!

What is "kinetic sculpture derby", you may ask? It's a valid question. I was as confused as you were when I first heard of it. Luckily, it's relatively simple. Also, Wikipedia can help.

Basically, people get creative and make float-type or other related contraptions and build them onto their bicycles. And race. It's a delightful combination of art and good ole sportsmanship. Please see the following examples:

Apparently casinos are a contentious issue in Philadelphia? Who knew!

You've gotta appreciate this troupe of creepy Wizard of Oz flying monkeys display here.

After you're done with sculpture derby, you can head across town to the Reading Terminal Market and sample the various wares (often Amish made).

Delicious vegetables

Oyster bar

Delicious authentically Amish apple dumpling!

The Amish close up shop around 5, so we did not get to see the delights of the AJ Pickle and Patch Salads. Sigh.

Next up you can visit Society Hill, and see tons of cute little historic things. Such as old rowhomes that like to display their Patriotism by flying outdated American flags.

Or you can visit a bar called the Artful Dodger. Doesn't he look artful and dodgy? I mean, look at that coat, the untied shoelaces and that smirk.
Or you can wipe your boots off at any one of these nifty little things scattered around. Too bad I wasn't wearing boots.

Lastly, if you want to see kinetic sculpture derby in action, I present you with a handy video of some of the action this afternoon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Apple Bottom Jeans and Boots With The FUR

A couple of months ago, Megan and I attended a bunch of events at the Kennedy Center, for their month-long Arabesque program. The gift shop ("souk") had a lot of awesome, Middle Eastern themed goodies in it. One of them was this here purse. It was an expensive purse, more than I have ever paid for a bag (especially since I'm not one of those girls who's really into bags), but it was just so fabulous I couldn't say no. In case you're wondering, that is Umm Kalthoum on the purse, who was the most famous singer to ever come out of Egypt. No, I'm pretty sure she didn't really have green hair. Despite the fact that I needed, NEEDED this purse, I could not think of a single occasion in which I could use this purse, or any outfits I owned that it would go with. Last night, that all changed.

This is Corianne. We've known each other since high school. She's quite awesome. This week, however, she is moving all the way down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where she'll be going to grad school at the University of Alabama. Which is terribly far away.
I told her that since she's moving down to Sweet Home Alabama, we needed to go do something that you could do here in the Northern Virginia/DC area, that you probably wouldn't be able to do in Alabama. What did we do? Go to a gay bar of course. We went to Apex, which is a gay bar in DC that hosts a drag show on Saturday nights. I decided that this would finally be a good occasion for my fabulous Umm Kalthoum purse. What better place than a gay bar, right?
Corianne was happy that one of the performers did her routine to "Halo", by Beyonce. In the picture below is the performer, I forget her name. But all of her songs were Beyonce or Mariah Carey. Also, apparently she had an injured leg that night, so kudos was still fabulously strutting around!

Here is Kristina Kelly, who hosts the event. On witnessing this ensemble, Corianne remarked: "Just because you're morbidly obese doesn't mean you shouldn't wear a leotard!"

Allegedly, Kristina Kelly is trying to get on the show RuPaul's Drag Race. I'd put in my vote for her, fo sho.

It was a fabulous night and I just want to wish Corianne bon voyage and bonne chance on your new life in Alabama!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Things I Love About DC

People say many things about DC. But I love DC. And here I present a few, random things I love about no particular order.

Cherry Blossoms

Awesome drag queens. I don't care where you're from, our drag queens can totally take your drag queens!

Shows at the 9:30 Club

My love/hate affair with Georgetown

Roller Derby

Random, cool graffiti

Going to a concert in a synagogue (this is at 6th and I)

The view from the terrace at the Kennedy Center

Obama lives here now.