August 7th, 2011 is a day that will live in my memory forever. I finally got to meet my long distance friend, Lindsay, in Boston--the woman who is so like myself that I call her "Other Me". And while that wasn't all that made the day so stunning, it was the best part.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
First, Boston served up the wrong weather, dishing out some rain the likes of which I haven't seen in years, even on the West Coast. Lindsay called the continual liquid pounding a phenomenon, and I'll take her word for it. It was torrential, and with the strong gusts of wind that howled down the streets of South Boston like a horde of avenging harpies, it was very nearly horizontal. Our departure from The Other Side Cafe to go sightseeing left us completely drenched on one side within a block. My capris went from pink on the back half to dark red on the front half right at the seams. Yeah, great, because I needed to look like a harlequin juggler today. Not.
Once inside the car, we decided to head indoors and wait for the rain to let up. Our chosen destination: the BPL, Boston Public Library. We even scored a parking space half a block away! Thrilled, we leapt over 4" deep puddles at the curbs to huddle under the library's overhang...and learn that it was closed on Sundays.
Now what? Well, luckily (okay, I confess it wasn't luck at all, but more like obsession) I had loaded a nearby geocache into my GPS unit. It was across the street at Trinity Church. So, despite the absolute downpour, we returned to the car for the GPS unit, then sloshed back across the street to the church. Seeing as we were so wet by this point anyway, we decided to just jump around in the puddles instead of clinging to the sopping shreds of our dignity. It was far more fun that way, and we both had sandals on anyway.
After wading through numerous puddles, lakes and inland seas, we finally arrived at the church's portico and wrung our clothes out. Yes, that's how wet we were; a little shampoo and I could have lathered and rinsed right there on the sidewalk. Apparently enjoying the view from directly above me, Lindsay's umbrella kept dropping huge glops of water down the front of my shirt. Not cool, little bendy umbrella. Not cool.
We found the info for the puzzle cache after exploring the sanctuary of the church for a few minutes (it was back outside on the thankfully covered portico), and located the micro container. I had to take it inside to sign the log with a pen because I'd left mine in the car and wasn't nearly about to swim after it. After replacing the container, we all decided that we might enjoy a car tour more than a walking tour, at least until the rain let up.
"Here Lies Peregrine Took"
Into the car we went; we zoomed around Beacon Hill for awhile and saw the Massachusetts State House and a bunch of multi-million dollar townhouses that you couldn't pay me to live in. We crossed the river and puttered around MIT and Harvard campuses, admiring the buildings and nice streets and large old houses.
Then I recalled a virtual geocache I wanted to take a look at, in Mt. Auburn cemetery. We drove there in yet more pouring rain, to discover that a hidden treasure awaited us.
The cemetery was split into dozens of small areas tucked within curling, looping roads. Thousands of individually identified trees lined the roads. Headstones rose above the grass in dozens of amazing forms, from Egyptian obelisks and draped urns to full body statues, vine-draped crosses and column-and-lintel shrines. Family plots were everywhere. Not to mention the wealth of unique mausoleums that dotted the rolling hills. Most of them were set back into low hillsides, where the facade was visible in front, but on top, the hill rose to obscure all but the little roof. They were like hobbit mausoleums.
But the best surprise of all lay at the top of the highest hill, where the virtual cache awaited. We finally found the road to the top, and were excited to see a stone tower rising high above the trees. Someone in our party mused about who might be buried at such a location. I said it must be Rapunzel.
When we parked and climbed the steps to its base, we realized we could actually go inside! We climbed the tower and stood on the balcony halfway up. The rain was still blowing everywhere, but by happy chance, the wind was slamming itself against the exact far side of the tower just then. On our side, we were completely free from raindrops, though the wind whirled around the tower's rounded walls and made Lindsay do the Marilyn pose in her flirty black skirt. Best picture of the day!
Turn Left, Bitch!
The top of the tower had better views, but a higher moisture content as well, so back to the car we went, and decided to tour around the cemetery some more because the stonework was so amazing. At one point, we found a roundabout with a single mausoleum in the center, and a pair of massive, ancient trees flanking it. On one side grew a huge weeping willow, and on the other, a fern-leaf beech. But due to the raindrops on the window and the distance from the second tree's label, I thought it read, "Turn Left, Bitch". Funny the first time, it turned into an inside joke when we wandered back to the same roundabout about twenty minutes later and had already turned to the right to explore, leaving the tree's directive as our only option.
No One Thinks That's Funny
Eventually the rain stopped, and we returned to Cambridge for some eats. Chipotle Mexican Grill filled our tummies--and we had to eat outside both to enjoy the warm air and sunshine and to escape the polar habitat of the air-conditioned restaurant. We'd once again managed a fabulous parking spot (read: in sight of our destination), too. We explored the Harvard campus (Yeah, I went to Harvard. Haha.) and got our pix taken with not-John Harvard and his polished statue-shoes. Lindsay drooled over the amount of grass the campus possessed, and we wondered whether the small pedestrian gates to the sides of the large wrought-iron gates on the northern side of campus were considered a walk of shame for non-honor roll students.
We returned to the main pedestrian area for some frozen heaven at Pinkberry. I had some mango yogurt with blueberries and kiwi, while my husband managed some form of chocolate combo and Lindsay put a solar sail in cookie form into her quadruple-toppinged frozen ambrosia. I totally would have had chocolate, mind you, but I was still pretty full from Chipotle; the fruit was a selection calculated to be 100% consumed, and I was indeed successful. Best frozen yogurt I've ever had!
We meandered through downtown Boston some more, then dropped Lindsay off for her evening activity, which, I imagine, included arm-wrestling the ghost of Paul Revere while having a spelling bee with all the BU undergraduates and constructing a rudimentary lathe from available materials.
Whatever else we do, nothing will compare to this day for sheer anticipation and fulfillment for a very long time. Thanks so much, Lindsay, for being yourself, and for being in Boston so I could meet you. You're the best. And so am I. :D