Getting through customs and finding my way to the taxi stand was a breeze, there is something to be said for being able to speak the same language and read signage in English when you land in a different country.
On stepping outside of the terminal building I was struck by two things; the warmth, Boston was 80 degrees and bright and sunny (yippee), on with the sunglasses and the cleanliness and order of the place. Other travellers like myself formed an orderly queue where a uniformed attendant organised the taxi size we needed depending on the number in your party and the number of cases we had. My driver was a lovely Hispanic chap called Jose. He had been in America for many years and was clearly proud of being a Bostonian. He filled me in on various historical facts and most importantly, where to go to buy groceries. He said I was lucky to be in Boston in the fall as it’s beautiful. He also told me something that filled me with dread, ‘you don’t want to be here when it snows’ he said, ‘we sometimes get 4 feet of snow!’, with any luck I’ll be back in London before that happens.
Imagine my delight when he turned into a beautiful cobbled Street, with antique and independent shops lining both sides of the road. He stopped outside a beautiful old brownstone building, ‘ Here you are, Charles Street, heart of Beacon Hill’ I paid him, and wondered whether I’d given him enough of a tip. I know that in America tipping is the order of the day. I came to the conclusion that I clearly hadn’t tipped him enough as he unceremoniously left me and my cases on the pavement (sidewalk) outside the building!
I had the instructions as to how to enter the accommodation and after heaving my cases up to the first floor of the building I let myself into a lovely little apartment, small but perfectly formed, Kirsty Allsop would have called it Bijou and Catherine Gee would have said it was ‘compact’. Kicking off my shoes, I relaxed and immediately unpacked my stash of Earl Grey tea, I was desperate for a cup. On opening the fridge I found there was no milk. I’d have to go to the shop before getting that cup of tea.
I always unpack my cases immediately and this time was no exception, I needed to get out of my jeans and into more appropriate clothes. With my handbag across my shoulder I headed out, my first foray into Beacon Hill.
I grew up in Clifton Bristol and those of you that know Clifton will know that it is incredibly hilly but also very nice. That is exactly what Beacon Hill is like. Charles Street is stuffed to bursting with little antique and independent shops, the people look polished, clean and very prosperous, many walking beautiful and pampered pooches. People stop to pet other people’s dogs that had been left outside various shops by their owners. I have to admit to feeling a bit conspicuous, I wasn’t polished or sophisticated like these people in my Primark shorts and flipflops,( note to self, you are no longer in Barbados) These Bostonians were mostly young and vibrant, what was also noticeable was the fact that no one was obese. Having been to Atlanta earlier in the year, this was amazing as we always imagine America to be a country of really big people, not in Boston, everyone I passed on the street was toned, bronzed and very healthy looking. I pulled myself up to my full height and sucked in my stomach.
I found a grocery store called the Wholefood shop, at the back of my mind somewhere there was a note of warning about this store, I remember my cousin Gina pointing this shop out to me whilst I was in Atlanta and saying, ‘only rich people go there, good stuff but pricey’ I totally agreed with her when I walked shell shocked out of the store with two small carrier bags of goods which cost me over £45!! Never again, another note to self – find a reasonably priced grocery shop.
Back to Charles Street and sorting out my connectivity to the internet. Time to call home and time to rest, tomorrow the adventure really begins.