Day Seven: Destinationless Travel

Finally got off the couch when Journey of Man ended at 2:00 p.m., and got on the bus with no specific destination in mind.

Saw a billboard on the bus that had an exploding Mt. Dew can firing a wrecking ball into a tiny man's back. The message of this ad is clear: Mt. Dew is going to break your spine. I remember the stubby can of it waiting in the fridge back home, waiting like a murder-mad midget. I've been living with a killer for days.

Finally get around to purchasing a seven-day pass, which I could've done at any machine. I probably could've saved fifteen bucks if I'd been smart enough to do it three days ago.

In the subway we pass another animated mural, this time more clear to my eyes. It depicts vodka bottles exploding into tinier bottles. I'm not sure what this tells me, beyond that alcohol might need to be handled with eye protection (like Sicilian cheese).

First order of business will be getting a disposable camera.

I decide to hop the Orange Line and check out Chinatown. Transit's much easier with a pass.

A girl tries to point out a huge rat crawling on the overhead pipes in the subway. Her female friend that noticed it takes it much more in stride than she does.

These subway stations are truly labyrinthine. You could spend hours just exploring them. I can easily imagine some post-apocalyptic Boston or New York where people build their villages within them and merchants use the trains as caravans.

There are rhombus shaped marble chairs at some of the subway stops. They look very uncomfortable

The subway blues performers conscientiously stop for a loudspeaker announcement. I imagine it's probably a requirement of their registration.

I emerge into what I'm told is Chinatown, and am greeted by a Dunkin' Donuts. As I cross the street to a barren plaza with no seating I see another Dunkin' Donuts a couple blocks away. I've hardly seen any Starbucks.

I discover there's not a lot to do in Chinatown if you're a lone, inexperienced tourist who isn't hungry. It's more of a Eastasiatownexceptforthosejapanese, judging by the Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese establishments. There's one little section I wanted to get a photo of, but it's hard to get in a shot without cars blocking the view and old men scrutinizing you.

Out of pure luck (and the need for passport photography in that community) I found a place that sold disposable cameras. I get the only kind they had - a ten dollar Kodak - and find it has 27 photos on it. This is significantly less than the 40-some I can burn through in three hours of wandering. Guess this means no more panorama shots.

Waiting in the train area, wiffle-waffling between taking the train to some unknown destination or going up and waiting for the perfect shot of that area. Have I mentioned I'm hopelessly indecisive on my own?

Three Dunkin' Donuts within three blocks. That might be a record.

I just realized none of the Doctor's recent companions have thought to use a camera, even when they're from the era of cameraphones.

Seeing Boston makes me realize just how whitebread Portland is. Being the only white guy on the bus is a normal occurrence.

Benches in these subway stations are much more expansive, in keeping with the length of the trains. I really like it here in these underground stations. One thing they could use more of are restrooms.

I get off the train at Downtown Crossing and wander four blocks to find myself back in Chinatown. I suppose this is the Great Magnet of Hunter S. Thompson, which drags one in whichever direction it pleases.

I wander around for a bit and snap some photos. I'm in what passes for a park here - a brick area with benches cordoned off by a red fence, with an old wooden playstructure in a pool of a mix of sand, paper, bits of brick, and cigarette butts. A brightly colored abstract mural decorates the brick wall that towers above us, and there's a plain memorial to the victims at Tianamen Square.

David gets back tomorrow evening. Once he's here I'll try and commandeer his iPhone for photography duty, and get in visits to the U.S.S. Constitution, Museum of Fine Art, Museum of Bad Art, and whatever other attractions I can think of.

For now I'm at a loss of what to do. Maybe I'll hit Quincy Market and then North Point. It's beginning to edge onto rush hour, which I'd rather not take the train home in.

Intending to reach Quincy Market (also known as Faneuil Hall), I take the Orange Line down to State street. After five minutes of wandering, I realize I'm back in the area where I first emerged into downtown Boston. Half the businesses in the area are closed at 5:30 p.m. on a Sunday, so I've made my way back to that irregular square I first rested my feet in. Those terrifying pigeons still threaten me bodily harm.

I'm not sure how much more aimless wandering I'm up for. May return home soon.

Still haven't eaten in a Boston restaurant yet.

Walking back to the train station, I notice the same theater that's been in sight at the Chinatown, Park Street, and State Street stops. All the distance I've gone by train I could have traversed by foot (and repeatedly did untintentionally). It's easy in unfamiliar territory to go just a few blocks and believe you're in a whole different sector.

It's back to Ashmont for me. Never did manage to find a bathroom.

I realize that the JFK of the JFK/U.Mass. stop refers to JFK Museum and Library, not the airport. Which is in New York. Which is not Boston. You'd think I could remember that.

Knowing that now, I would up and visit, but it's liable to be closed after 6 like most attractions of its type. There's not a lot after that you can do alone in an unfamiliar city when you're under 21 (much less 18).

I pass a mural with some of the most terrifying faces I've ever seen. Its text tells me their 'community is strong because we communicate'. The faces tell me their community eats any rivals.

As it turns out, there's a very weak WiFi network here where I wait for the 240 home. I can get blinks of connection enough to maybe half-load a webpage, but passing cars interfere too much to post to Blogger from here.

There are two black women beside me who seem to be native Africans. They're speaking in what's definitely not any European or Caribbean language.

The 240 only seems to run once an hour by this time of day.

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