Libraries and Lobster
28 December 2017
From our hotel room we see across to a fairly new apartment block, advertising for tenants. Of the few who currently occupy it, one has an enormous TV that never seems to be off. I fell asleep around midnight. It was on. When I woke before 6am, it was on. We have seen a woman and a large black dog leave the apartment and a little kid in the kitchen but given the shows on the TV are mainly news and sports, I don’t think it’s the kid who’s watching. Perhaps he’s a sports journalist who needs to constantly keep on top of happenings in the world.
It was about a ten minute walk to the Mary Baker Eddy Library in -15℃. We arrived two minutes before opening hours but they took pity on us and let us into the warmth. As interesting as Christian Science (founded by Mary Baker Eddy) might be, we were there to see the Mapparium. The Mapparium is a large glass representation of Earth which you see from the inside, except the countries have been laid out as they are seen from the outside instead of what would be the reverse perspective. I suppose the designer didn’t think humans were intelligent enough to view the world without its familiar shapes and layout. It’s also stuck in the time of 1935. There was an intention to keep updating it but then WWII had such a drastic impact on the world’s boundaries that they decided to wait until countries were more settled. In 1965 they decided that time had come but all the artisans who had created such exquisite pieces of stained glass had passed away or were too old to work and nobody else was deemed skilled enough. We weren’t allowed to take photos while in it but they created a selfie wall replicant for the tourist photos we all desire.
Still just as cold outside, we walked around to the Boston Public Library, another ten minutes walk. This library is split over two buildings, the old McKim Building and the new Johnson Building, with only a doorway or two between them on the the first and second floors which took some finding, but worth it. By the way, there is no ‘ground floor’ in the USA. The street level is Level 1 and they go up from there. In our current hotel they call it L for Lobby but the next floor up is the second floor.
At the Boston Public Library I was reading away when a girl bounced into the room chatting on her phone. She had headphones over her beanie and was talking about meeting up for dinner and somebody’s blisters and so on. Simultaneously, she pulled out a chair at a desk to sit opposite a man deeply absorbed in his reading, plugged in her laptop, flapped off her jacket and pulled off her beanie to reveal a young woman, not the teenaged girl I had pictured from her tone and mannerisms. She kept looking around over the top of people’s heads, oblivious to the glares I and others must have been giving her. She then bounced away again and I left before she returned to the desk.
Boston is well known for its clam chowder and lobster rolls. On our way back to the hotel we passed Luke’s Lobster so had to go in. So worth it! John had the chowder and I had the lobster roll, each tasting the other’s. Griffin had a packet of chips and later went to the local market to supplement this choice. We left Emma at the library to digest books.
When we returned to our hotel room after lunch, a dog in the adjoining room was yapping for the second day in a row. When we first arrived we thought there was a boisterous family next door with kids mucking up and parents yelling at each other and were quite relieved when they left early the next morning. But they left behind the yapping dog which up to that point hadn’t been heard. We have learnt not to be too noisy ourselves because it sets the yapping off at length. Even noisier was someone else on this floor complaining loudly in the hallway. As I write this all is quiet on the western wall, for now. Dogs are allowed in this hotel. I checked.
We finished our last night in Boston with more lobster. We leave for the airport at 5am with a predicted -16℃.
A couple of signs and the previously mentioned TV.