Sunday, August 10, 2008

Walking, a wedding remembered and telling no one

Jay lived in Vancouver for 7 years while he was going to school. There is no question that Vancouver is a "walking" city. When we have gone there to stay for a few weeks we stay just off of Robson near the West End and rarely take the car out.

I'm not sure if it is his Vancouver training or just the fact that he lives in Boston but Jay is a walker. And we have been walking right along with him for the past few days.

As you can imagine my job keeps me pretty sedentary and I make little effort (although I do try to get to the gym) to change that. So the walking has been both challenging and energizing. It feels good to get out onto the street and move. It also feels good to stop and sit and watch the world go by for a while. And it is great to sleep as soundly as I have for the past few nights. Given what is going on with my back and neck walking seems to be a good cure. I am spending a bit of time on the computer - a few minutes making sure I am responding to the few emails sent by my graduate students - and a few minutes to write this blog. But for the most part I am on my feet and walking.

This part of Boston, Coolidge Corner, which is really Brookline (a trolley suburb) is old, full of 'character' and interesting. The mix of cultures is everywhere - Jewish, Catholic, Russian, African and more. The melting pot seems to have allowed pockets of ethnicity and Brookline is one of those pockets.

The other day we learned that the Kennedys moved out here to be near a Catholic Church yet this neighbourhood has at least 4 synagogues within a 10 block radius.

The area seems to have more medical facilities than all of Saskatchewan! But then again this is Boston.

So yesterday we walked. We started the day with coffee at Panero's and sat and watched the birds on their patio. Panero's is a bakery/restaurant that has a deck/patio in front. This area is really part of the building, not intruding on the sidewalk, and so is covered providing shade. Orders are taken inside and delivered to your table. The patio is also populated by birds - sparrows mostly. Unattended food, dropped food and even food sitting on a plate are all fair game for the birds - and there are a fair number that hang around waiting for their chance.

I have a picture of three or four birds sitting on the back of a chair opposite a man that was eating his breakfast. He was reading as he ate and the birds were anticipating their own breakfast.

More walking and a short T ride brought us to Chinatown. The crowded streets, the noise and the big city smells (at one point garbage, at another restaurant smells, at another flowers and fresh fruit) made this an exciting and interesting walk.

Dim Sum for lunch and then a walk down Charles Street dropping into the antique shops and then over to the Boston Common and the Public Gardens.

It was Saturday and the parks were filled with people. The Common has war memorials, a bandshell and typical park things. But then we went across to the Public Gardens.

When my kids were young one of their favourite books was Make Way for Ducklings. This is the story of mother duck and her ducklings getting a little lost. With the help of a kind policeman they make their way across the busy street from the Commons to the Public Gardens and ultimately to the pond where the Swan boats float.

In a tribute to this beautiful book statues of mother duck and all of her ducklings stand near the entrance to the Public Gardens. If you have little children or grandchildren make sure they know about Mack, Nack and all the other ducklings walking in a row behind their Mom.

With the afternoon gone we met Dori at the Kimpton Hotel. This was where Jay and Dori were married last year. We had drinks and dinner in the restaurant and talked a lot about the time around the wedding. It was an exciting and happy time - then and now.

We walked over to the Museum of Science (just across the street) and investigated their offerings. They have a planetarium that sets their shows to Rock and Roll. The three of interest are the Queen show, the Led Zeppelin show and the Pink Floyd show. One night this week we'll attend one of these.

It was end of a long day so a taxi was hailed and we rode home - we had done enough walking for the day.

Just across from the hotel on Harvard street is an old style movie theatre. We went there to see a movie called Tell No One. It is a French language movie based on an English novel. Despite the subtitles it was an intriguing suspenseful movie. I recommend it.

The theatre itself was beautiful with ornate, gold decorations, a heavy velvet curtain and a large stadium type room with a balcony. It took me back to my young days in Winnipeg going to the Capital or Metropolitan or Gaiety theatres

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