Hello there. It’s been a while.
Since last I posted I abandoned New York, arriving briefly in Boston before journeying to (and departing from) DC. I find myself now on a cross country Amtrak to Chicago, two hours down with a further fifteen to go. That sort of train journey. The scenery is spectacular though, in a “corn fields and mist” sort of way.
New York was fan-fucking-amazing. I don’t think I’ve fallen for a place quite as quickly as I fell for New York. From the moment my sweaty noggin emerged from the subway, to the last time I glimpsed the skyline from a rapidly departing bus I felt right at home. The touristy stuff was nice but the best times were had with the simplest things; lounging in Central Park for a day, walking Brooklyn Bridge, meandering through the upper east side at nightfall. Even the most mundane tasks seemed infinitely satisfying when done in The Big Apple. It was a fantastic start to the trip.
My time in Boston was far too brief. The first evening was a night out with some French Canadian chaps that ended in us sitting by the harbour drinking the local brew, wondering about the nature of travelling. My one full day was spent on the Freedom Trail, eight hours of walking and getting sunburnt with some interesting historical sites along the way. By the end, taking grainy photos from the top of the Bunker Hill monument, I was completely knackered but considerably more knowledgable about American history. My flagging spirit was rejuvenated immensely by the vocal representations of the British at the final museum, however. Think Jason Isaacs in The Patriot, with a dash of Voldemortian vitriol and a slice of pantomime villainy. Scary.
Then there was DC, which I thankfully had longer to explore. If Boston was the Freedom Trail, DC was the Freedom Capitol. The concept was everywhere: Freedom Plaza, Freedom Centre, Freedom Laundry. Liberty too; Liberty Museum, Liberty Drive, Liberty Laundry. A less enthusiast visitor might argue a proliferation of such terminology serves only to dilute their true meanings and turn them into meaningless buzzwords. Similarly, with all the democratic pride about the place you’d think the US was the only country in the world not under the thumb of a ravenous dictator. The cinematic introduction to the Capitol Building was a particularly hilarious offender, somehow claiming it was the Yanks themselves, rather than the Greeks or British, who invented democracy. I peshawed my way through the whole thing, interjecting at appropriate points to correct the narrative. They didn’t like that.
The museums were everywhere and cost not a sausage. I bounced to and fro like some mad museum bee, collecting the nectar of knowledge and returning it to the hive that was my hostel for processing and dissemination. For example I now know that Homo Erectus (titter) is still the longest surviving species of all human genuses, including Homo Sapiens. I know the Apollo 11 astronauts were like wee little peas in a big space pod. I know all commercial air routes originate from Charles Lindbergh’s 1933 round-the-world flight. I was certainly a happy little bee by the end. A bee with a shitload of photos.
Which brings us neatly up to date, on a train to Chicago freezing my toes off because I forgot to change before I checked my bags, wondering where cramp will strike first and deciding which fellow passenger to begin a lifelong friendship with. I’m currently eying the old man with the solitary tooth, but the noisy lady railing against “the system” is slowly earning my favour. Expect the results in my next entry.