Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Boston

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21st December
The first city that I visited after leaving Atlanta was Boston. It was the saddest thing flying from ATL, looking out of the window to see Downtown and Midtown for the last time. If I was to ever visit the US again, Atlanta would not be near the top of my list unless it was purely to visit with a fellow exchange person. Per usual, it was blue skies and great weather leaving the South and flying up North, it just became drearier and more grey. The contrast was startingly. I landed in Boston and there was torrential rain and super crazy winds so that there was horizontal rain which was not cool considering I had all my luggage with me and not enough hands (or energy) to hold my umbrella. Although to be fair, it would not have protected me from the elements.

I ended up huddled at a Starbucks, drinking some sort of fall/winter drink that honestly tasted as though it was 99% sugar (seriously, I do not understand people's obsession with Starbucks' hot drinks) and crying on my phone. Good times.

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Luckily the skies cleared up and I finally was able to explore a little bit of Boston. First was Boston Commons. It was alright, a park so couldn't expect too much. Boston Commons is basically right across the street from the wealthy suburb of Beacon Hill with the incredibly cute terrace-like homes.

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I eventually wandered around and did get a little lost in the financial district of Boston. Probably not the smartest thing since it was dark but it felt really safe (unlike Downtown Atlanta which was incredibly sketchy). Accidentally stumbled upon the Christmas tree and the lightshow. The tree was so large, it was just crazy.

22nd December 2012
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The second day, I decided to walk the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a trail marked by red bricks that starts at Boston Common and ends up in Charlestown, with numerous historic sites along the way. I expected it to take up more time than it did, although I am a fast walker.

Boston was the first time that I truly experienced the cold weather. It was quite chilly when I visited NYC over fall break (although that was only 12 degrees C) and of course, in the South it was always averaging at around 18 degrees. However when I visited Boston, if memory serves me correctly, I am inclined to say that it was around 5-8 degrees which was so incredibly cold (ha! The irony). After finishing my walk at Charleston (side note: now when I watch Rizzoli and Isles, which is set in Boston, I know where it is!) I decided to visit Harvard as well. I wasn't particularly interested but I only went because I had time. I walked back to Boston Commons and caught the T (red: the train) to Cambridge. It was pretty, granted although it didn't look too different (in a sense) from Emory University's Oxford College and it was overall quite underwhelming. With time to kill, I decided to wander around, typical. Originally I had planned on walking to the next train station however what eventually happened was that I ended up walking back to my hostel.

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A casual 8km stroll. In addition to the 8km I walked that morning.

On the way back to my hostel, I actually stumbled upon MIT and ended up using their bathroom. No seriously, that was the only reason that I entered the university building.

23rd December 2012
The third day (and my last day) I decided to just wander around downtown again and I visited somewhere. Honestly, I can't remember where the building was but I somehow stumbled upon a website on Google that said that I could go onto the 15th floor (which isn't that high in the grand scheme of things) for free and look at the city and out to the ocean. It was somewhat random; just a commercial building and I had to get buzzed in to reception who then allowed me up to the balcony. Weird. Truth be told, I am not entirely sure what I did that day but judging from the photos that I took, I ended up back at Boston Commons and watched people skate around although I ended up returning back to my hostel since I was freezing and it was starting to snow.

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My Overall Thoughts
Boston University was actually my second preference and I am glad that I didn't get nominated purely because of the weather. I am not entirely sure I would have been able to cope with the cold and the dreariness. It is hard for me to judge the city, it just felt like a ... well city. Quite pretty although nothing that really stuck out for me. Although to be fair, my heart wasn't really into travelling as I was missing Sunbear and Atlanta terribly. It was also just the realisation that my exchange experience was over, the thing that I had been living for for years. And it was all over. Similar to NYC, the thing that 'struck' me was the - and I truly despise the word, but- diversity. I guess it is also because there are three really good universities in the area but demographic wise, it was considerably different to Atlanta.

And the word diversity and my distain for it. I follow a lot of 'study abroad' blogs from people to Australia who are from America (I feel that 95% of such blogs are by Americans) and usually one of the top observations is that Australia lacks diversity (I got told this also by the Chicago greeter). What they really mean is that they see, put crudely, is that they see Whites and Asians, where Asians are all one and the same (or namely Asian = Chinese). There is a lack of diversity because there is a considerable less proportion of the community who are from a Hispanic, Latino and African American ethnicity. Well that is the impression that I garner. But it honestly drives me up the wall. I digress from Boston.

Would I re-visit?
Not particularly. In the 2.5 days that I was there, I felt as though I had done everything touristy possible and didn't have much of an interest in visiting the suburbs or anything of that manner. 

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