Land of Supersize Me, The statue of Liberty, George Bush and Corn Syrup Paradise.
After talking too much about how I love to travel and see new things, and having not really traveled or seen any new things outside of Ontario since September 2011, I decided it was time to try that might land, connected to the mighty land I live in, that has a very similar culture, but arguably better food, weirder people, and the Cheesecake Factory.
And so I booked flights to Boston.
Lets not go crazy here. I was just going for the weekend, and I wanted to dip my toe into the United States. Boston was the perfect compromise. It was also kind of the halfway point between Toronto and Miami, the destination my travel companion was coming from (no don’t look at the map, just take my word for it. It’s halfway). SO off I went, a little nervous considering my last experience with American immigration (when I had to transfer at Newark airport and saw a vaguely Arab looking guy being escorted to a little room). I left Toronto on Porter Airline, and landed in sunny Boston.
From the air, Boston looks tiny, but I found over the weekend that it is a hugely interesting and vivacious city, packed into a small space.
The lady at immigration wanted to know my life story (in a nice way) telling me in her thick Bawwwwston drawl that she has always wanted to visit Australia. My line stopped moving and the people behind me moved on to other queues until I was the last one. She was laughing and giving me travel tips. WOW! Maybe I love America!
The guy who stopped me when I was wheeling my bag was less friendly, crew-cut, beefy, he looked through every page of my passport asking me questions like:
“Where you staying? How long are you staying for? Who do you know in Boston?”
When I answered truthfully that I don’t know anyone but that I was meeting my friend from Miami, he glared at me suspiciously and said:
“You have an Australian paaayyysport but you don’t have an Australian ayyyyccent”
When I began to explain that I had lived overseas for a number of years, he made a kind of growling sound, thrust my payyysport back into my hand and rounded on the Asian couple struggling with the cheap blue, red and white carrier bags coming of the carousel.
But then it was freedom! Hello USA!
The weekend was insanely fun. We did so much stuff and loved every minute of it. We went shopping on Newbury street, we went to Fenway Park home of the Red Sox, walked the freedom trail with a guide in period dress, supposedly related to the guy he was playing, we went to Quincy market where I ate clam chowder (which tasted a bit sandy to me if I’m being honest), we went to Harvard, the Aquarium and we ate and drank ourselves into a coma at every available opportunity.
Yes the portion sizes in America seemed bigger, and there were definitely some SUPER weirdos on the train (which we conquered thankyouverymuch) but over-all, I found the Bostonians to be an EXTREMELY friendly bunch of people. Americans clearly love Aussies, I didn’t pay for a drink all weekend as they were always being bought for me and wanted to tell me about their cousins/friends/neighbours living in Bondi/Melbourne/the Gold Coast. They are smiley and they think my accent is adorable and hilarious (even though they are the ones you can barely understand…take that stupid airport guy). They are a cultured bunch and they have a beautiful lifestyle with their huge water front, history interposed with modern conveniences, and their love of good food.
For a first time experience to the United States, I would rate it highly and I would love to go back once I’ve seen more of America.
But it was nice too, to land back in Toronto, and feel comfort looking at the familiar CN tower glowing in the darkness, and realize that Toronto feels more and more like home.