After traveling for a few hours on the “Lake Shore Limited”, I arrived at the train station in Boston. As usual, the first thing I did was set off in search of a place to stay.
I found a place right next to Berklee School of Music, the HI hostel in Boston. The hostel is situated very well; right across the bridge from Cambridge.
After checking in, I met a guy who had found a temporary job destroying buildings in Canada. He says it’s impossible to head home from that job angry.
The next day at breakfast I met a student from Singapore who was researching linear optimization at MIT using Mathematica. You tend to meet some interesting people at breakfast in hostels.
Later, as I was walking out the door, I ran into the same guy again. We both set off for Cambridge, philosophizing as we went. After touring the MIT campus and the MIT museum, he headed for the library of architecture, and I walked down Mass. Avenue.
Cambridge is a radical assortment of vintage clothing stores, nerdy bars, a Communist bookstore, and an educated populace. They also have a few universities.
I ordered some Lapsang Souchong at a tea shop on Mass. Ave., sat down and read an old translation of the Tao Te Ching. That’s a really interesting document by the way, if you get a chance to read it you should.
I continued down Mass. Ave., walking past some familiar places. In total, I walked around 50 blocks up and down Mass. Avenue.
Eventually it was time for The Feelies to play at the Middle East, which was the main reason I had gone to Boston. They played in a dimly-lit underground room to a crowd who were either 20 or 50, nothing in between.
In short, it was the best concert I’ve ever seen. Even though they didn’t interact with the crowd much, it was a really energetic performance, with four encores! Their detached style was infinitely preferable to The Strokes’ endless meandering at Jazz Fest. The way I see it, if you don’t have anything sensible to say, you probably shouldn’t say anything.
Overall I’m glad I made the side-trip to Boston. The Feelies concert on its own would have made it worth the time; coupled with the excellent day in Cambridge it was awesome.
The next day I set off for the Grand Canyon.