Our friend Wendy has flown up to join us in New England. She’s from small town south Alabama. The largest place she’s ever lived has less than 250,000 people. She drives hours out of her way to avoid Atlanta. She’s never been to a northern city.
That, in fact, was the first time she’d ever seen a subway.
She got in today and we showed her around town. This is my third time in Boston, so I’m practically a member of the Chamber of Commerce. We took her over to Faneuil Hall. She saw the street dancers, who promised to leap over these four volunteers:
They were great. We had burgers for lunch at a place where the premise was that the staff insults you. This must be the place to which career waiters aspire. I don’t get the appeal, but the sandwich was good and our server wasn’t that bad. They made fun of Wendy, though.
We walked around, through some of the ancient churches of Boston I’ve written about here before. We took the DUKW tour. Tried to do this a few years back, but the airline hosed us and the Duck people were unaccommodating. I’m bitter, but The Yankee wanted to take the tour and offered to pay. I can hold a grudge over principle and lack of customer service, but she made me relent.
That’s our ride. Says the site:
Teresa is named after the Liberty Tree, which was the famous elm tree that stood near the Boston Common. The Liberty Tree was one of the places the “Sons of Liberty”, would gather to protest British rule. On Occasion they would hang lanterns on its branches to symbolize unity. The Liberty Tree was so despised by the British loyalists that they cut it down in 1775. That only enraged the colonists even more. To show their support for the revolution, people started hanging flags with a picture of the tree.
It is a reproduction DUKW, though the company does apparently still have a few original World War II amphibious trucks still in their fleet. One of those is below.
Our guide was good. Loves his town, great with the kids and big on trivia. I would have preferred more history — Boston has tons and tons, of course — but it was a beautiful day and a fine time was had by all.
This is in the Charles River Basin:
In the distance you can see the Harvard Bridge. Our guide told us the story of how the MIT kids didn’t like the bridge leading to their campus being named after their cross-town rivals. At one point in the mid-20th century one fraternity made their pledges measure the bridge using their smallest member as the unit of measurement. The bridge, then, is precisely 364.4 Smoots and one ear long.
Our guide told us that a few years back Smoot came back to MIT for a reunion and took a Duck Tour. They asked him why he was laid down head-to-toe spanning the length of the bridge instead of measuring him and using a rope or something like that.
“MIT students, wicked smaht right? Engineers. He said ‘It just didn’t occur to us,’” our guide said.
He also told the story of when the mayor of Boston bailed out the Rolling Stones.
This is supposedly one of the remaining authentic DUKW’s. Soldiers piled into this thing and stormed beaches. She has a significantly more comfortable life these days.
We had dinner in Little Italy at a place called Giacomo’s. The reviews on Urban Spoon aren’t great. Seems people find the service lacking. The lady that waited on our table was entirely forgettable, but the food came quickly and tasted fine. I chalked it up to the difference in Italian and American dining culture.
So we finished dinner, found a gelato, caught the T back to the hotel and started working on tomorrow’s presentations. Tomorrow, also, Wendy will begin her assault on Beantown.