Continued from here.

I’d been home for about 10 minutes before my phone started ringing.

Now, I really should mention that the weather outside was really pleasant, especially considering we had a snowstorm a week earlier. This would be a good thing if I was dressed appropriately, but of course, I wasn’t. I was wearing a t-shirt and a pretty heavy fleece jacket. Due to the fact that I was carrying a ton of crap, I couldn’t really take the jacket off, so I was stuck with it until I got home. Add to that the fact that all the places I’d walked through (the Apple Store, the Prudential Center) were kept quite warm, I was basically drenched by the time I got home.

All this means that, when the phone started ringing, I hadn’t really started doing anything yet. I was just sitting in the living room trying to cool off a bit before starting to play with my laptop.

On the phone was Ha, of Team HaMa. They were planning on going out to the park and spending at least some of the day outside. As it really would have been a shame to waste the day, I agreed to meet them in about an hour.

And then I started playing with my laptop. Which of course meant I got distracted and lost track of time. Not a huge deal really, I was only about minutes late ;)

So we met up at the Boston Common. The Common is a really big park quite close to my office. There’s quite a bit of history there, from what I gather. Specifically, it’s the oldest city park in the United States. More relevant to us, it’s a beautiful place. Trees (which are in full Autumn mode right now, reds and oranges everywhere), lakes, ducks, squirrels. Oh god, the squirrels.

See, squirrels have a tendency to infest many towns around the world. Every time I’d ever seen them, the little bastards were scrawny, mean, and terrified of human beings. I’ve seen squirrels throw nuts at people from trees, I’ve heard stories of the damned things biting people and running away (which means the victim then has to spend a fun few weeks getting rabies shots), I’ve heard tales of them chewing holes through peoples houses, and so on.

These were not the same squirrels. These rodents are fat, playful and almost friendly. HaMa had brought a bag of peanuts (still in the shell), and we spent a while sitting on the grass and practically hand-feeding the bushy-tailed bastards.



From there, we went on the Public Gardens, sort of a smaller ‘part 2′ of the Common. Same deal, but with more trees, a bigger lake (with many ducks) and a series of sculptures based on a children’s story (Make Way for Ducklings, in case anyone has heard of it).

After the park, we decided to take a walk. We had a vague plan of going to see a stand-up comedy show, but that was as far as our idea of planning went. We left the park and started drifting towards the North End, as we were slowly starting to get hungry, and we’d heard that there was good food to be had up there.

The North End of Boston is the traditional Italian part of town. As you can imagine, that means the food is excellent. It was a bit of a walk though, so we started off.

At the border between the Financial District and the North End, we found a farmer’s market.

A little background.

Ha loves avocados, apparently. He’s been very upset to find out that avocados here cost roughly $1.50 each in the shops. I’m not sure if they’re out of season, or whatever, but that’s the way it is. As we walked by the market, I realized that I could really use some more apples, so we pulled in. Just as we started, Ha spotted some avocados that were something like 25 cents each (I forget the exact price because I don’t like avocados). As he was working out how many he could carry, I was looking at the other fruits and vegetables. I ended up buying a bunch of 8 bananas, a bag of 8 apples, and a large box of strawberries.. and I paid $3.50.

So now I know where to buy fruits and vegetables! Apparently, they have farmer’s markets all over Boston at different days of the week. And sure enough, there are websites that will tell you exactly where and when, so I’m all set.

Continuing on, we finally reached Hanover Street, which is the main thoroughfare in the North End. There was a comedy club right at the beginning, but all the tickets for that night were sold out, so instead we figured we’d have a bite to eat and then head back to HaMa’s place for a drink. Plan in hand, we started trying to find a restaurant.

And completely gave up after about an hour of walking. Every place on that street, the main dishes started at about $20. This isn’t too bad for high end places, but these weren’t all that inviting. I think they cost that much mainly because it’s a relatively touristic part of town. Ah well.

We decided to head back to HaMa’s place and order pizza.

They live all the way up in Cambridge, about a ten minute walk from Harvard Square. We walked back down to the Financial Center border, and caught the train. At Harvard Square, we stopped off at a liquor store run by a Lebanese dude (who jacks up his prices like crazy!) and bought a few six-packs of beer and headed off.

HaMa’s was fun. We drank a bunch and talked a bunch. Eventually, we put a stand-up comedy show (Louis C.K. The man is funny) on Netflix, so at least we got that fix.

Around midnight, I stumbled off back towards the bus stop that would take me directly home.

All in all, it was a really nice weekend day!

Oct 302011

Just a disclaimer.. I’m quite drunk while typing this.. so please forgive any ‘creative’ thoughts that pop up. Spelling/grammar mistakes, you can put down to the fact that it’s 2 in the morning.

So earlier today, I got a text from Gibs asking me if I’d like to go to concert tonight. Apparently, he had a ticket for me already, which was quite nice of him. The artist in question was Zucchero, who I’d never actually heard of. A few minutes on Google, and I had an idea who this guy was. You’ve all most likely heard at least one of his songs.. this one here . I always wondered why Paul Young was singing in a different language when I was younger..

Anyway.. my day was pretty boring actually. I spent 2 hours today trying to get my Playstation hooked up the TV in this apartment. The settings saved on it from Dubai weren’t compatible with the TV here, but eventually I managed to get it to work by plugging it into the TV in the bedroom (this apartment kicks ass on SO many levels) and changing the settings there, then moving it to the living room. So now I have a PS3 running on a 53″ plasma TV. I think I know what I’m going to be doing tomorrow…

Around 7:40, I left to go meet Gibs, Dee, and HaMa at the Berklee Performance Hall where the concert was. It’s a 15 or so minute walk from my house. On the way, the Nor’easter* that we’d been warned about started. Snow was starting to fall, but it was competing with the rain, and up till that point, rain was winning.

The concert itself was actually pretty good. Not exactly my kind of music, but he’s a good performer, and I have to say, the acoustics in the Berklee hall are phenomenal.

From there, we decided to go and have a drink nearby. When we got outside, we were stunned by the weather. Sleet, rain, snow.. it was incredible. There were visible patches of slush already starting to form where the sidewalk slanted downwards. The forecast called for snow all the way till 10am tomorrow morning. 12 more hours of this?!

We got to the bar and then, as happens on Saturday nights, we overdid it a bit. Here’s a pic of me taking a shot of a “buttery nipple”. That was awkward to order.

Buttery Nipple!

Around 1am, we parted. Gibs and Dee had already gone home, so it was just me and HaMa. They decided to take a taxi, as the walk home would be ridiculous given the weather. I, being the brave little trooper I am, opted for the walk.

Oh my.

At this point, the walk took about 25 minutes. The temperature in Boston is around 2 degrees right now. And it’s snowing like crazy.

When I eventually got home (do remember that I’m quite drunk), I decided that the best course of action would be to grab my camera and go out again and take a bunch of pictures of the snow.

At the very least, this should go some way towards making up for the fact that I haven’t been taking pictures so far. My frostbitten hands plead for mercy.

I present to you the first snowfall of the year. Welcome to New England!

Snowed in Mini

Right outside my apartment


A planter right next to my apartment



More Snow!

Even More Snow!

Winter Wonderland

The park a few meters from my apartment

It's fucking October!

More of the park

Bush ala snow

Yet more park


I can't wait to see what this looks like in the morning


Not that I'll be awake in the morning...

Columbus Street

Columbus St. near my house. Deserted and frosty.

Frozen car

Artsy car shot on Columbus St.

Giant Lego!

A shop nearby on Columbus St.

I can’t wait to see what my neighborhood is going to look like in the morning. Hopefully I’ll be awake before the snow melts and will be able to get some pictures. Not that it matters, seeing as I’m in New England, and I can expect several months of this, come January.

*I know most of you won’t click the link, so here’s a quick update for you. Basically, we had a massive storm forecast for this evening. We’re expecting between 1 and 5 inches of snow here in Boston. Some areas are getting up to 18 inches. It isn’t even Halloween yet for fuck’s sake.

Oct 282011

As this post is going to fill you guys in past my first weekend, it’ll probably going to be my last ‘big’ update. From this point on, I imagine my posts will be smaller, with specific events and so on.


So, jet lagged as I was, I was up really early on Saturday.  The day before, I’d found out that this weekend was the Head of the Charles, a big annual boat race that happens on the Charles River. As often happens with North American events, it ends up being a giant excuse to set up drinking tents and have a wild weekend.

Naturally, I wanted to be there. So I made plans to meet up with my boss*, head down to Cambridge for lunch, then head down to the festivities.

Around 11 o’clock, we got in touch, and decided I would take the #1 bus across the river to Harvard Square, and meet up with Gibs, Dee and HaMa for lunch.

The bus ride was pretty cool, just due to the fact that it went over a river, and then drive right past MIT. On the way, Gibs texted me to let me know that Noam Chomsky was going to be speaking that night, so my day got full real fast.

I ended up having to wait about half an hour at Harvard Square, as Gibs and Dee were running a bit late, but I found a place to sit down, and I had my Kindle with me, so all was well. When they finally showed up, we walked up closer to the actual Square, and stood in line for about an hour at a pizza place.

Another explanatory note here. I don’t know if this is a common thing all over the world, but it’s a bit strange to me in Dubai. I’ve been noticing that places that get popular here get really popular. Generally, the lines are outside the door, people are happy to wait for up to an hour, and so on. I’ve already seen this at a couple of bars, an ice cream place, and the aforementioned pizza place.

They actually ended up giving us free pizza because they screwed up our first order. It should be said that the pizza was amazing. Unfortunately I don’t have the name of the place. I’m sure I’ll find it again.

Once we got our pies (HaMa had shown up at this point), we went into Harvard and sat down at some tables in the Yard to eat. That, right there, made my day.

From there, Dee and Ma wanted coffee and dessert, so off we went. Of course, this was a bit tricky, as it was 3pm already, and most restaurants in the area stop serving anything between 3 and 5.

We eventually found a pseudo Arabic place and after struggling to find a place to sit, we got our caffeine/sugar hit.

At this point, we realized it was too late to make it to the Charles event, so we separated and HaMa and I headed towards the Noam Chomsky thing. It turned out that he was speaking at the Occupy Boston protest.

The tent city that the protesters had set up was seriously something to behold. A huge public park was set aside and turned into a mini-city.. complete with food tents, first aid tents, etc. Different groups of protesters were handing out leaflets, others were playing with hula hoops.. it was pretty incredible. We couldn’t actually hear Chomsky speaking, due to a lack of microphones, but he was up there, and the speech ended up online. I haven’t actually seen the speech yet, but you can find it here.

After about an hour, the General Assembly was starting to gather, and I heard people saying something about a march, so I suggested we get out of there ASAP. Being on a work visa, I’d rather not get involved in any sort of movement that could get me arrested :)

From there, we drifted up to Newbury Street.. a pretty good spot to get some food and see the nightlife. We ended up at a fancy restaurant that was very generous with their scotch, and had a pretty good salad for dinner. From there, it was off to bed.

Sunday was a lot more quiet. The Comcast Saga (future post, honest) continued, then I had lunch with Rocky and Jen, and broached the subject of actually renting her apartment once the lease with the company is done (1st Jan). I doubt I’ll be able to afford it, but we’ll see when she gets a realtor in to value the place.

In the evening, I met up with Gibs at the Apple Store (biggest in North America!) and wept silent tears at all the shiny that I can’t afford.

Soon. Soon.

*So I should clear up the characters in my life at the moment. I’d rather not identify anyone by name, so I’ll have to end up giving them nicknames (thank you, N).

So far, the cast includes (with the most boring nicknames ever, forgive me, it’s early):

Gibs :- The guy I often refer to as ‘my boss’. He’s actually my boss’s boss. He’s the guy I flew in with.

Dee :- Gibs’ wife

Ha :- A friend of mine who also works at my company

Ma :- Ha’s wife

- I’ll often refer to the two above as HaMa

Rocky :- My direct boss

Jen :- Rocky’s girlfriend, and the owner of the apartment I’m in at the moment