NEW ENGLAND INTERLUDE
This is Boston,
home of the carp and the cod,
where the Lowells talk to the Perkins,
and the Perkins talk only to God
(Old New England ditty, from The Color of Truth)
I am in Boston for a structure-based design conference, and already I am charmed, as is almost everybody else who has been to Boston who I talked to. I am staying in one of the historic parts of the city named Faneuil market, and there's much here that reminds one of classic old-world charm. For example, you are trotting along a cobbled road, when you suddenly see a depression in the ground way below sea level. What at first looks like the home of a giant mouse, turns out to be one of those tiny charming places that sells whimsical trinkets and mementoes. You come across such places in the Fort area of Mumbai, in Delhi, and in Philadelphia, all places whose historical roots run deep. Just outside this Faneuil Heritage Shop is Faneuil Hall, where everyone from Paul Revere to Susan B. Anthony to JFK seem to have given speeches, connected to tea partys, stamp acts, and presidential campaigns. The site of the Boston Massacre is also very close by.
The cobbled stone and red brick roads in the quaint old North Market and Quincy Market also have a classic historic look, with just the right amount of wear and tear. Shops littered around these roads sell all kinds of curiosities- exotic sounding seafood dishes, dresses and skirts that seem designed to make one point or another, and homemade earings and jewelry that seem patched together with string and sealing wax.
A couple dressed up in eighteenth century outfits looked as if they actually live in Paul Revere's house.
One of the nicest and most interesting things about this place, is that it seems to divide the city into two very different parts which are nonetheless very close to each other. On one side is the busy Boston downtown (or at least it looks like downtown). But cross only two streets and you get to the other side, a lovely and expansive view of the sea, the Long Wharf, with whale watches and ferries that seem to be as varied as the people around them.
Close to the pier, I saw jellyfish gently and lazily letting the waves carry them to miscellaneous places. This striking contrast between the two parts which are still very close apart enables one to partcipate in the hundrum of busy downtown life during the day and then relax on the pier with a splendid view and poignant thoughts in the head.