Jul 24, 2011

Boston Weekend Part 2

Boston is a compact little city where you can navigate easily on foot. For time-constrained travelers you definitely don't want to miss the freedom trail, where you can trace America's revolutionary birth and cover most of Boston's key Colonial sites.

The trail starts at Boston Common, America's oldest public park. Directly across it is State House with its golden dome, designed by Charles Bulfinch. The State House sits directly on John Hancock's previous residence.

And this is the old man's grave at Granary Burying Ground. Famed for his huge signature, looks like he likes his tombstone large too.

Next we proceed to King's Chapel, the first Church of England in Boston.

On Washington Street your historical landmarks are surrounded by skyscrapers of the mega-banks from the surrounding Financial District and government offices from Government Center.

Old South Meeting House is the cradle of the American Revolution. Here the revolutionists debated on the English parliament's decision of taxing the American colonies even though they are not represented in London; the Boston Tea Party, debates about the Boston Massacre and after independence, the issues surrounding the American Civil War were debated within the reverent halls.

Margaret Sanger, a public health nurse, was the foremother of birth control and contraception, two issues unthinkable lest a taboo back in the 18th century. As a protest against the oppression against women, she covered her mouth with a piece of fabric.

Interesting enough, a stone's throw down the road, Old State House is where the Brits ruled with orders from King George III. It housed Boston's earliest senate and Governor Hutchinson's office. During the turbulent years before the revolution, the addition of a visitor's pew to witness every senate meeting propelled Bostonians and eventually America to their fight for independence.

Faneuil Hall is a public market since Colonial times. Today it serves as a meal-stop for people walking the freedom trail. Cheap pizzas and seafood.

Lonely Planet especially recommended Durgin-Park for its Colonial fare. So much for Yankee pot roast, the pizza is still occupying the belly space. I had an Indian baked pudding and it tasted...colonial.

After lunch it's all parks and public spaces. This is a simple memorial dedicated to military officers who lost their lives in the war at Afghanistan and Iran.

I found out much later that the freedom trail is marked by red indicating direction. This is cross a bridge to USS Constitution. As you can see the sky was completely naked and we were basking under solar bursts. I later regretted my choice to cross the Charles River because I'm not a ship person and the ship was nothing very interesting either. 

USS Constitution, nicknamed Old Ironsides because British cannonballs bounced off harmlessly off its sides during a battle at sea. Needless to say the Majesty's ship sank in no time (that's why they are so proud of it).

We later took a 4pm bus back to New York. The trip to Boston a weekend memory by the time we reached home at Flushing at 10. However, we really missed the slower pace and cleaner subways of Boston. The public spaces, red-brick buildings and historical artifacts that taught us an important (albeit expensive) chapter on American history. As much as I doubt my history getting A1 in SPM, I don't think Malaysian students learn enough, especially on the anglosphere and Middle Kingdom. Hey Ministry of Education, the world doesn't revolve around Prophet Muhammad and his dozen of wives...