Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I LOVE Bah-stan!!

. .Where, instead of "parking the car". .they pawk the caw!!
What a GREAT place!! There wasn't a great opportunity for me to take pictures. .we were in class early and not out much.  The trolley photos were taken through the old dingy plastic sheeting (since it was SO cold out, they left them down).  Mostly, I will ramble a little about the trip between the photos. .so enjoy the pictures. .and skip the rambling if you like. .though I promised to share the heartwarming tale of my praying 8 year old and the new friend. .and I must tell the tale of the crazy shuttle driver!
I'm not a real traveler. .though I LOVE to travel. .I am totally novice. .and not really in the know about lots of travel etiquette.  This was probably my 5th plane adventure.  I love to fly too! And I've mentioned before my tendency to just jump into things and think about it later?! The feeling that I got while walking to the plane Tuesday was "Oh crap. .what have I gotten myself into now???"
As I got off the plane in Boston, picked up my luggage and walked out of the airport. .I was completely overwhelmed at the number of people. .buses. .shuttles. .taxis. .and my lack of knowledge.  I ended up with a delightful taxi driver that gave me much history as he drove me to the hotel. .in a dialect that prevented me from understanding much of what he said!
Devin was SOOO concerned about who I was going to hang out with while I was there.  He asked me several times before I left if I would make a friend while I was there.  I assured him that I would certainly meet some new people, and it would be fine.  The first question he had for me the night I left was whether I had made a friend or not.  Of course, just having gotten there. .and not being in contact with people, I blew him off reporting to him that I had not yet been to class to meet anyone.  He was satisfied with that answer. 
Wednesday found me immersed in lectures all day. .and brain dead by day's end. (the lecturing was intense and fast) I was feeling overwhelmed and tired. .and frustrated that I hadn't met anyone "in depth" enough to eat supper with.  And this is where the story gets neat.  After talking to Jeremy for a few minutes in the middle of his "end-of-day" work responsibilities. .I decided to wander around in the mall area.  As I left the hotel to enter the mall, I noticed a younger woman heading that way too. We made eye contact and smiled at one another and I wondered if I should ask her whether she had been at the conferences (I didn't notice her there. .but there were a lot of people). I realized how utterly ridiculous that would sound. .so I kept quiet and ended up stopping off in the Barnes and Noble for a while. .I suppose killing time while trying to get the gumption to decide whether I wanted to try lobster for one. .or eat at the food court and go home. 
I put my brave face on and headed for the seafood restaurant.  I was able to seat myself in the bar portion of the restaurant. .and walked past a few open seats to find one further in the back.  As I was sitting down at a table. .I looked up and saw the girl from earlier at the table next to me.  The funny thing was that. .from all those people in the mall. .she recognized me from the hallway too and invited me to join her. .
and the rest was history.  She was the type of person that I felt like I had known my whole life! We both enjoyed incredible lobster dinners and talked for well over an hour.  When I called home later and talked to Devin. .His first question was if I had "been to school." Second question was whether I had found a friend.  When I asked Dev if he had been praying for me to meet a friend. .His reply was an emphatic "Yes!." I could sense his quiet satisfaction with the answer to his prayer!! And I was well pleased too! Samantha works in college health as well as women's health in Pennsylvania.  She has a vibrant personality and was so enjoyable to talk with over leisurely meals that 1 1/2 hours slipped by the second day and we were nearly late back to classes from lunch. 
The meals were sensational!! I did try a plain steamed lobster. .as well as a lobster roll (which is like chicken salad. .except with lobsta). .clam chowda. .swordfish. .polenta. .a couscous side dish with fennel. .as well as food from Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs.  I checked a lot of food off my dietary bucket list of things to eat in my lifetime!!
Aside from the long days in the classroom. .we enjoyed a night visit to the top of the Prudential building. .where the Boston night pictures were shot. .an evening strolling around Newbury Street (a high end shopping area full of quaint little boutiques and interesting restaurants). .as well as a trolley tour of the city.  A law was passed in Boston many years ago. .that you could do anything you like to the inside of the tall condo-like buildings. .but you could NOT change anything to the outside. .including the old wooden signs.  Those buildings have been changed into apartments and shops. .and as you walk down the street. .people sit outside on their steps and visit. .I was reminded of Sesame Street several times!! What a fun place to see!
The trolley tour was a narrated historical tour. .and the driver was a great story teller.  I made a vow that I would return to Boston someday to see some of the history at more leisure.  They dropped us off at Quincy Market. .a large indoor/outdoor shopping market with tons of souvenirs and dining. .where we enjoyed dinner and some shopping. 
Saturday found me ready to get home!  Which is how I ended up in my shuttle driver mess.  I had a reservation for a shuttle service to pick me up and return me to the airport.  As I walked out of the hotel a couple minutes early, there was a shuttle already there.  It wasn't until she had my luggage loaded that she said she would take me (even though she wasn't the one scheduled to pick me up) and would call the company in a few minutes to tell them she had me.  She had a very scattered and disorganized demeanor (which I figured out about the time she turned onto the street from the hotel).  She had a GPS monitor hooked up which kept advising her to turn left. .which she never did. .at that point I was getting a little nervous.  About that time my cell rang. .and the shuttle company was on the other end wondering where I was.  Still oblivious to the fact that this was going to be a real problem. .I reported to the dispatcher that one of their shuttles had already picked me up. .Silence. .UH, which shuttle was that???? The driver told me the number of her shuttle and I relayed the info to him. Unhappy tone. .nice reply. .hung up.  Great.  By this time, we were at a different hotel to drop off a couple that had been in the van when I got on.  As the driver closed her door, they started laughing and wished us (another NP was on the van headed to the airport too) luck. .and let us know that we were in for the trip of our lives.  Instant stomach ache on my part! As the driver got back in and pulled from the curb, her phone rang.  Now whether she had it on speaker phone. .or that dispatcher was yelling so loudly that she didn't need speaker phone. .I don't know. .I do know that she was probably relieved from her position later that day.  He chewed her out quite royally and we were all mortified!! The other girl tried to smooth things over and the woman started talking. .all the while her GPS was still saying Turn left. .turn left here. Being polite, I asked her if she had grown up around Boston. .Heck NO. .she was a bus driver from New Hampshire who had just been coming to Boston on the weekends for the last couple months to drive the shuttle for extra cash.  Now I could feel the vomit at the back of my throat!! (I should also probably mention that she had already asked me twice what time my flight was. .and once asked me if I was going to make it there on time. . .W-H-A-T???) I was sure that I would totally miss my flight and be stuck for another day (since it was the last flight back to Wichita Saturday) The last straw was when we passed some famous landmark and she says "Oh good. .I know just how to get to the airport from here. .it will be 5 minutes." I passed out and didn't wake up until she kicked me out on the curb!
Truly. .the whole experience was blessed!! I learned a lot. .and found out that I know a lot (which is always a good thing). The food was to die for. .and I have accumulated a new friend and colleague for life!! Hope you enjoyed the rambling stories. .If you haven't been to Boston. .and the opportunity arises. .jump on it!! You won't be disappointed!! I promise!


  1. You are so brave! But, I secretly would love to embark on a city someday! Sounds like you had a great time. I can't wait to hear more about what you learned!

  2. Traveling in metro areas can really be a big challenge! I remember taking a taxi tour in Washington DC..at a high rate of speed with a driver that was fresh off the boat from Africa. He spoke very little broken English & knew NONE of the local landmarks. He passed traffic right down the double yellow line towards a traffic cop in the middle of the intersection...did miss her, but I was ready to hit the floor! Never been so terrified!
    Glad you got home intact so you could sing Sunday night! So enjoyed that night of beautiful voices praising God!

  3. I would have probably never have left the airport and would have been found in the corning, quietly rocking while muttering TOO MANY PEOPLE. ;)
    Glad you had fun. Looks beautiful there! And, I am SO very happy you found a friend.

  4. What an adventure! Sounds like you found a great lady to be your friend in Boston. I'm amazed you made your flight after that shuttle ride. Yikes. Did you ever consider asking to be left off and get a cab? You got some cool photos. Love the ones of the city at night. All those lights.

  5. I LOVE taking city adventures...but I am always ready to come home to my quiet, relaxing neighborhood as well. You have some great pictures and stories!

  6. Loved your story. I about choked on my cracker when I got to the part about you passing out and not waking up until she kicked you out. Maybe one day I will be able to go with you on one of your adventures.


  7. Wow, you had quite an adventure! I'm so amazed at you - I love to travel, but I think I'd be too insecure to do it alone like that. What a great, great story of your new friend. God is good! Wishing I could have tried all that food with you, I'm hungry just thinking about lobster. Glad you will have such good memories of Boston!

  8. That sounds like quite a trip! I'm glad your son's prayer was answered, and you made a friend. I'm glad you made it to the airport, too. What a deal! I know a couple who had a couple cab drivers fighting over taking them to the airport when they were on a vacation. The wrong one had their luggage, and the other one was telling them to get into his cab. I don't remember how it turned out.

  9. Sounds like a really interesting time! Your shuttle story had me on the edge of my seat.

  10. I think D is incredibly sweet to pray for you like that! DJ