Posts Tagged ‘Winter 2013’

Boston – Warren (Day 28): Via New York

10 July 2014 Leave a comment

We had a leisurely breakfast and check-out the next morning. Both of us were headed to the bus station, my friend bound for New York to meet friends of his (mutual friends, actually), and myself bound for my relatives’ home eventually, though I was also travelling through the city.

The bus ride back ended up being somewhat longer than the bus ride north, due to traffic. It was properly dinner time when I finally arrived in the city.


Between leaving the bus and catching the train to New Jersey, I caught dinner at Five Guys somewhere near Penn Station.


The burger and the peanut oil fries were both richly memorable.

In New Jersey, my aunt picked me up from the train station.


This will be my last day-numbered post in this series on Winter 2013. I did stay a couple of weeks more with my relatives, over Christmas and New Year’s Day, and perhaps more from those days will make it up here, but, by and large, what follows is quality time with family and friends, with the time in between taken at a really leisurely pace under all-too-agreeable (can one feel too warm and well-fed over Christmas?) living conditions – all in all, I felt, the best way I might’ve spent the holidays.

I left for the start of winter term at school a couple of days into 2014.


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Boston (Day 27): Talking Shop

10 July 2014 Leave a comment

After a solid sleep, we spent the late morning walking around the western edge of Boston Common, near our hotel.


We were due to meet Y, yet another friend of ours from USP who’d been in J’s year. In addition to this relation, Y had also been at Carleton before me, and we were also going to meet A, a friend of Y’s who’d also been at Carleton. We managed to meet somewhere around the Common, and headed west for lunch and coffee. I remember getting started almost immediately on a conversation about philosophy (and our old professors) with Y on the walk there.

Lunch was at the Cheesecake Factory, and therefore huge.

After lunch we took a walk to Pavement for coffee, which turned out to be very good.


The coffee conversation continued to be quite involved and at some point we were discussing that snark and smarm article which I’ve probably mentioned a couple of times here by now.

It was nearly evening when we left the coffee shop. After saying our goodbyes, T and I continued our walk around Boston, this time heading north-east towards the harbour.

It was soon dark (the days not being very long in winter), so we ended up stopping for dinner at what turned out to be a bar-restaurant done up in facsimile of Chinese-ness. There was a sports game on at the bar area, which was reasonably busy; but aside from the staff, Tim and I were probably the only Chinese people there. That the sketchy simulation of Chinese-ness seemed to be at least somewhat successful (judging from at least the size of the place and the ample staffing on a not-very-busy foggy winter night) was a bit mysterious to us. More immediately inexplicable was the business at the bar, since nothing on the drinks list bore ordering (at least to me).

Following dinner, therefore, we were obliged to look for another local watering-hole. We ended up at another sports bar somewhere across town with a much better selection for a few more hours of catching up.

While we’d not planned more for the night beyond dinner, on the walk back from the pub neither of us felt much like bed. We saw quite a bit more of the city on the way back, but I remember stopping to watch this light show going on near Faneuil Hall.


On the way back we passed by a movie theatre, so we ended up watching a late-night screening of American Hustle (incidentally my second Christian Bale movie this winter break). I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I think some of that at least had to do with our feeling as though we’d been talking about the whole world (in truth, the narrowly delimited but thoroughly entangled social world we’d recently been in the thick of) over the past couple of days; for me, at least, there was the feeling of working something over that I’d not quite gotten out of my system, and it was good to see a different complicated world on-screen in dramatic, melodramatic, and meta-dramatic color.

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Boston (Day 26): Catching the T

10 July 2014 Leave a comment

I took an early bus out of New York, picking up breakfast from a little cart for a coupla bucks on the way to the stop.


It was a few hours’ ride north, but I managed to sleep most of the way. I arrived in Boston shortly after noon, and made my way from South Station to the hotel where I was to meet T, who’d arrived just shortly before I did. We checked in and headed out for lunch in downtown Boston.


In the previous year, T and I had served in the student government together. After lunch, we visited our friend J at his campus. Between the snow and the evening light, the place was quite beautiful.


J was also a friend from school. He’d served in the student organization in the years before T and I did. After our walk around campus, we stopped by J’s home for a bit, before dinner at IHOP.

Although we hadn’t run around much, between the three of us we’d done a whole lot of catching up about plans, projects, people, and everything else we’d once been neck-deep in, and I suppose this was tiring after its own fashion. After we took our leave from our friend, T and I caught the T (Greater Boston’s subway system) back for an early night.

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New York (Days 24 – 25): Crossings

30 June 2014 Leave a comment

I took the train from Warren to Manhattan. In New York, I stayed with yet another J, also a good friend, and, furthermore, my erstwhile partner in trombone-playing.

One way in which my visit to New York stood out from my previous excursions was in the number of Singaporeans I met, including both friends from (and through) ACS and USP. Part of the reason for the number of coincidental meetings was that it was the end of the exam period for the students at NYU, and other institutions not running on the quarter system (fall term, winter term, spring term, and summer break) like Carleton. Though travelling alone certainly has its unique charms, after the preceding few weeks of it, I was quite energized to see everyone. Also, from the time of my arriving in Minnesota, it’d been a few months since I’d met so many Singaporeans together.


In addition to meeting people around town or in J’s apartment (quite the center of activity, it was), mostly I remember experiencing the buzz of the city. I mainly stayed between the Village and Times Square (where we tried and failed at the ticket lottery for Wicked) over the two days I was in town. J had been working at the campus news outfit over the past year (and quite evidently having a great time at it), and so I got to see some of that as well.


I was also introduced to Shake Shack burgers, Washington Square, and Strand Books, a.k.a. as the best bookstore in the world (or, at least, in my experience).




And finally a picture of a New York City street-junction, for that city-feeling I remember from the time spent navigating the street grid between stops, but which I can’t otherwise describe.


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Warren (Days 21-23): Rest at Hearth

29 June 2014 Leave a comment

Since the start of this series, I’d been through Chicago and Ann Arbor, and then San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. Now I was due to fly to New Jersey to stay with relatives for the remainder of the break – though I had also planned a short trip through New York and Boston while I was in the east.

J dropped me off at the airport, and I when I was arrived, my uncle (technically, my mother’s cousin) and cousin (his daughter) were there to meet me. It was about an hour’s drive to the house in Warren, NJ, where I met the rest of the family, and settled in for the rest of the night – though, really, the next couple of days. In truth, by this point, I think I had accumulated some fatigue from previous travels, and so I was ready for a pause. Thanks to my aunt and uncle’s family, it was a very warm, comfortable, and generously victualled pause. In moving from the west to the east coast as well, I’d moved into winter proper, and so the warmth was richly appreciated as well.

This initial pause would be a short one, however. I arrived in New Jersey on the 16th, and I left for New York on the morning of the 19th.

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San Francisco (Day 20): Land’s End

26 June 2014 Leave a comment

Our adventures began somewhat later this day, following the previous late night. We started with lunch at a Dim Sum place which J knew of.


Like the prawns, lunch turned out to be delicious and huge.

Following lunch, we headed out to Land’s End park in the northwest part of San Francisco for a bit of a hike, and some spectacular views.





And then it was a quick stop by the Golden Gate Bridge for a photo (it feels gratuitous to post that, on top of everything).


On the way to dinner, we stopped by Haight Street for a bit, where I picked up a bottle of a limited release of Speakeasy Brewing’s barrel-aged ale (actually, their first series; it’s a rather new outfit). Dinner was at a low-profile (and thus relatively inexpensive) xiao long bao place, which I enjoyed.

We headed back for a night-cap, and I prepared to leave for the east coast on the following day.

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Santa Barbara – San Francisco (Day 19): Retour

25 June 2014 1 comment

I was due to take the AMTRAK back to Jack London Square in Oakland in the late morning. From the trip south, I knew that the views of the coastline were close to my departure point in Santa Barbara. We’d passed them in the night-time on the way down, however, and as I passed it again the light of day I realized I’d missed how very close we were to the water.


The rest of the ride past quite uneventfully. I tried to sleep as much as I can, the train was stopped at points (as usual), and I ended up arriving in Oakland about two hours later than scheduled. Despite the fact, my friend J was still up to meet me.

J had been at school in the area at UC Berkeley, and so, at about 1 a.m. that night, he drove us out there to look around the campus. I didn’t mind, since I’d mostly tried to sleep on the train. Furthermore, I was hungry, and I was promised food. The promised food included the best fried rice I’d had in America.


After some time looking around the campus, catching up, and picking up more food (bubble tea, popcorn chicken), J drove us back across the bridge to San Francisco for the night.



Actually, along the way, we did stop for a view of the city from a peak.


And, once we were back, we opened up a bottle of something I’d picked up from Telegraph in Santa Barbara.


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