Where I’ve Been #12: East Coast, Winter 2010Posted: August 12, 2016
Welcome to Travel Month on 14 Shades of Grey! While I’m off to Europe, please enjoy these posts about travels I’ve done in the past.
If you’ve been reading my Where I’ve Been series, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t travel much in the US, considering I was living there at the time. The reason is simple: you kinda need a car for any serious travel in the US. I didn’t have a car, and no friends with the same wanderlust tendency. Still, in the winter break of 2010, I did manage to spend Christmas and New Year on the East Coast.
My first stop was Washington DC. One of my friends from high school was going to grad school there at the time, so I stayed with her (hooray for having friends all over the world willing to let you crash on their couches!) I went to all the monuments and museums, of course. I didn’t go inside the White House, but my friend convinced me to check out the Capitol, and even I had to admit it was pretty impressive.
As Christmas approached, we took the bus up to New York. We intended to spend Christmas there, before going up to Boston to visit my friend Debbi (whom you may remember from my travels around Vietnam). New York has its moments, but it’s way too big and there are way too many sketchy bits mixed up with the nice bits that I couldn’t really warm to it. Still, walking around Manhattan on Christmas Day and going up on the Empire State Building on Christmas Eve were awesome. We even tried going into Macy’s, but we barely made it through the front doors when I shrieked with horror at the heaving throngs of shoppers, and fled.
But my NYC adventure didn’t end there. The day after Christmas, I went to the Met (my friend doesn’t like art museums so she went to the Intrepid Museum instead.) The weather had been super nice – clear, bright, and sunny. Then, that morning, as we left our hostel, it began to snow. I was quite excited – I’d never seen snow in person before. I happily lost myself in the Met, but throughout the morning, whenever I glanced outside, the snow just got thicker and thicker. At first I told myself it was no big deal. As the day went on and it showed no sign of stopping though, I began to contemplate the idea of living in the museum and picking pennies out of the fountains for food, like the kids in E.L. Konisburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Of course, I didn’t. As the museum closed at 5:30, I plunged into the swirl of whiteness with the other visitors. Somehow I found the subway. Our hostel is in Brooklyn, and when I came out of the station, I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it. I’m terrible with directions at the best of time, and now, with all landmarks rendered unrecognizable by the snow and the wind driving ice particles into my eyes so hard I couldn’t see straight, I thought, “That’s it. I’m dead.” Luckily, I was saved by the US way of city planning – everything laid out in grids. By counting the intersections, I managed to find my hostel. If this had been Europe, I would’ve probably ended up like Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining.
It turned out to be the first snow storm of the season. Just my luck. We were supposed to leave for Boston the next day, and now everything was cancelled. Still, we were more fortunate than most travelers that we got to stay at the hostel, and after a day and a half of frantic phone calls, eventually we were on our way to Boston.
We had to cut our Boston trip short, but we managed to visit Debbi’s hometown of Rockport, a ramshackle but super cute harbor town east of Boston, home of the iconic Motif Number 1.
We did all the touristy things in Boston too. We walked the Freedom Trail, went to the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston Public Library, and wandered through the shops of Faneuil Hall, before going back to DC for New Years’ Eve, and I went back to LA.
It was a fun trip. It showed me a different side of the US, other than the concrete desert that is Los Angeles, and even though it didn’t make me wish I’d traveled more within the US, at least it made me glad that I had traveled some.
And that’s the end of the Where I’ve Been series. Europe diary coming up next!