Weeks of preparation and planning (in which I did almost absolutely nothing besides research for good food) had come and gone, and it was finally time for our much anticipated Spring Break trip to the Land of the Lobster Roll. Recognizing that our mutual fondness for sleeping might cause us to miss our early morning flight, we gathered in K-Dawg’s Crib to party the night away with food and games till it was time for us to catch our 3am cab to the airport. Loading up the ole playstation 1 emulator on my laptop, we took turns engaging in rousing battles of Marvel vs Capcom with one another. Facing off with the Jobohobo, I took a deep breath, evaluated the mutual strengths and weaknesses of our selected characters, planned out an efficient victory strategy, and proceeded to dance my fingers across the game pad in a ballet of death as Jobohobo’s character beat the ever loving shit out of mine. As the Hulk boot-stomped my poor Gambit halfway across the screen in accompaniment with the blood curdling war cries emanating beside me, it became obvious that all the preparation, skill and planning in the world become pointless when you’re facing an angry Jobo randomly pounding her game pad.
After an hour or so of the peaceful bonding activity that is blasting someone’s avatar in the face with a giant proton cannon, people started falling asleep one by one. Mr Kuan donned what I can only described as a face-bra and snuggled up in his sleeping bag, while Jobo engaged in a demonstration of her ability sleep anywhere.
Pretty soon though it was 3am, and we woke up the various Sleeping Childs, gave everyone and emergency Expresso shot and tromped downstairs to meet Joy before boarding a taxi to the airport. From then on it was merely a series of plane rides, one mad dash to the terminal, one missed flight, several sleeping Jobos and an aching spine* before we were finally in Boston.
After the long and arduous journey back to the hotel, we lounged around for a bit before grabbing some Japanese food for lunch, although not before doing our customary duty as tourists by getting lost and walking in the wrong direction for a quarter of an hour. Following that, we made our way to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to while away the afternoon looking at great art.
Strolling into the whole I walked up to the first painting I saw, glanced at its placard, and started giving what I felt was a rather scholarly lecture on the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens. I was so excited. After all those weeks of painful memorization for my Art A Level examinations I was finally going to be able to put all my art history knowledge to good use. Alas after waxing lyrical for what must have seemed to the rest like an hour or so, Joy quietly interrupted me and pointed out that the Ruben’s painting was in fact on the left of the painting I had just spent 5 mins warbling about. In my defense it was a really small placard, and I was pretty tired from the flight and oh forget it I am the world’s shittiest placard reader.
Following our cultural excursion, we retired to our hotel room where we discovered that the hotel had no wifi.
It didn’t take long after that for the room full of CMU students to descend into chaos and madness. Mr Kuan was the first to break, huddling himself in a corner and cackling as he muttered “Reddit. I haven’t read it. Gettit? Reddit. HeeheeeHAHAHAHA” over and over again, while the rest of us savagely fought for control over the two iPhones with 3G access. But that is a story for another day.
Eventually though, the promise of Dim Sum woke WL from his stupor and we trooped off to Chinatown to get our dim sum fix. Just as we were leaving the hotel, a heavy rainstorm broke out with intensely strong winds. One does not simply come in between Singaporeans and a dim sum fix though, and so with a loud battle cry of “For Siewmai!!!!!” we led the group on a charge through the elements as umbrellas were inverted, clothes were drenched and particularly pointy hairstyles became somewhat less pointy.
I can’t remember much about the Dim Sum meal except that it was Really Good and that me and Mr Kuan probably cried manly tears of joy upon our first mouthful of siewmai. We ended our culinary expedition with some drinks at a juice bar, before making our way back to the hotel where we spent the rest of the night amusing ourselves taking photos and engaging in various other bits of tomfoolery.
It was finally here. The day when I would finally get to try Neptune’s Oyster’s legendary LOBSTER ROLL. If lightning didn’t crash and thunder didn’t peal as you were reading that sentence then it never will. The task of navigating to the place from the train station fell to me so naturally in my eagerness I got everyone walking in the wrong direction. Thankfully mama joy and google maps were there to point out my errors so we still got there relatively early. And then it was time for the (really really expensive) feast to begin!
Look at it. Just look at it.
After satiating our hearts and stomachs with most of Ariel’s friends, we embarked upon Boston’s Freedom Trail, a brick lined
2.5 mile 4 kilometer walk along 16 of Boston’s historic sights. I’m ashamed to admit that despite what amounts to 4-5 hours of walking I remember almost none of it, with the exception of the Bunker Hill Monument, a physical fitness test disguised as a granite tower with a 294 step staircase to the top.
I know all you incredible hulks and wonder woman wannabes out there are going ppffffttt, just 294 steps? But trust me when you’re a CMU ECE student whose daily exercise intake consists mostly of walking down two flights of stairs and down a hall to grab a hamburger for dinner then this:
is roughly equivalent to this:
Thinking that it’d be better to get it over quickly, we attempted to make a mad dash to the top which proved to be a mistake somewhere around the 152nd step. Eventually though, after a long, arduous climb and more perspiration than a Gatorade commercial, we made it to the top and collapsed to the ground in blissful agony. After taking a moment to recover, we gathered together to take the requisite group-photo-that-shows-absolutely-no-context-of-where-we-are.
Taking the chance to take a few photos of the scenery from the tower, I popped the lens cap off my camera only to drop it and watch in bemused horror as it fell in between the floor grating and spent several seconds merrily smashing itself against the walls of the tower as it completed its 70 meter drop. Thankfully I managed to recover it a lot more easily than the last time I tried to recover a dropped lens cap – a sorry tale of hope, ingenuity, loss and enough shouted out profanities to make a hundred mother’s weep. But that too, is a tale for another time.
The rest of the Freedom Trail Adventure mostly involved spurts of shambling on intermixed with extended bouts of resting and random photo-taking:
*In case it isn’t obvious and you’re thinking of getting WL help for a razzy fresh addiction, both photos are photoshopped.
An hour or so later we ended up in Quincy market where we spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and eating overpriced snacks, before heading for dinner at another overpriced and not that good Italian restaurant. And then we went home.
Also, epic quote of the day:
Me: “I think WL needs an english name. How about Willow?”
Jobo: “He can’t be called Willow! He ain’t got no hair to whip back and forth!”
University Day! We spent pretty much the entire day visiting Harvard and MIT, the twin bastions of academic superiority.
Our first visit was to Harvard, where they were having some cheery school orientation event thing. I know this because there were hot dudes in bright red boxers waving huge red flags through the air and if that’s not the definition of a university orientation event I don’t know what is. There were people walking around wearing bunny ears and various other animal-themed head gear, students in giant animal costumes jumping around and petting zoos. Naturally being the animal loving people we were we gravitated towards the petting zoo and a bunch of wascally wabbits.
After leaving the festivities we wandered around campus and admired the architecture of the buildings. I’m ashamed to say though that despite wandering past buildings steeped in hundreds of years of academia and culture, the only thing I can really remember is that you should not under any circumstance touch John Harvard’s foot.
This is John Harvard and that shiny golden thing attached to his left leg is his foot.
If you walk past the statue on a normal day you will probably see a crowd of tourists touching it’s foot and smiling for good luck. Do not be one of those tourists. There is a very good reason why.
If you look closely at the statue you will see dark stains trailing down from the lucky golden foot. This is not a trail left by Felix Felicis (5 points to whoever gets the reference) seeping from his foot. If you want to know just what that trail is google it, but suffice it to say that if drunk college students were dogs than that statue would be the canine equivalent of a giant fire hydrant.
After leaving Harvard we boarded a bus to MIT, where we basically spent almost the entire time having lunch at a cafeteria and exploring it’s book stores. It got late pretty fast so we made our way to one last building, a multi-colored monstrosity of random jutting angles and irregular points that I absolutely loved. We sneaked into one of the lecture halls and pretended to be MIT students while WL stood in front of the hall and lectured us on his seminal research paper regarding The Efficacy of The Use of A Bacterial Fermentation of Mammary Gland Fluid at Sub Zero Temperatures in Generating Positive Emotions.
Following that we engaged in an epic game of foosball, before chilling at the MIT library while WL and Jobo met up with their respective friends. By the time all this was done it was near 9pm, and we rushed down to Avana sushi where I discovered the new meaning of heaven.
If you’re ever visiting Boston and are hungry for some cheap, excellent tasting sushi than I highly recommend that place. I’m pretty sure WL has a photo somewhere of my face after seeing the huge platter of sushi they brought out. That photo should never see the light of day, but trust me when I assure you that the kinds of facial expressions I was making were probably more common to a kinky late night adult film than a tiny sushi restaurant.
One sushigasm later, we trooped off back to the juice bar we visited the day before for an after meal dessert before heading back to catch some shuteye, or in Joy’s case to read Tower of God.
Last day of the trip (kind of). We all head off to Rhode Island where Joy and Jobo can meet their friends, while the Kuan, Zeng and Oh clans head to the shopping mall to do some quality shopping. On the train ride there, Joy starts to tell us the story of the Purple Socks. If you’ve never heard the story of the Purple Socks before then I’m not going to spoil it for you, but suffice it to say that even if you had read all 3 volumes of Lord of The Rings only to find that the final scene of the book depicts Bilbo and Sauron dancing hand in hand as they sing the chorus to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”, you still wouldn’t understand the unique pain of listening to an entire rendition of Purple Socks.
An entire lifetime and one Purple Socks telling later, we arrive at Rhode Island and part ways with Joy and Jobo while the three of us head to the shopping mall to erase the horror of the story with some heavy duty retail therapy. One can only shop for so long though, and eventually we all end up in Dave and Buster’s (a giant arcade) where I discover that my ultimate nemesis in life is a electronic skipping rope game.
To elaborate, there is a little ball of light that runs around the rim of the machine, and the objective of this game is to jump over the light every time it passes below you, with the light moving faster and faster each time. Karen tried it and easily made it 30-50 rounds or so. Mr. Kuan tried it and made it to around 20-30 rounds on his second attempt. I couldn’t make it past one round.
Not. One. Round.
Every single time I would jump up just as I thought the light was passing beneath me, only to land in musical accompaniment to the game’s buzzer of failure. I tried everything. I jumped higher, I jumped earlier, I jumped only when the other two told me to do so, and each time for some god forsaken reason I would fail on the very fast round. I must have spent a good 20 dollars just repeatedly attempting this game, and each time I would announce loudly “I got it! I think I finally got it!” only to find out that no, I had not gotten it. I felt like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner, except instead of a very fast moving bird I had a really slow moving beam of light. And it wasn’t as if I couldn’t jump rope. Like with most things, I dabbled for a bit in doing jump rope tricks in my youth. But there was just something about that #@#!@ machine that crossed my mental circuitry
Eventually though, many many tries later, something clicked in my brain, the clouds parted and an angelic chorus rang out as I successfully jumped over my first loop.
“YES I DID IT!! TAKE THAT YOU B*****D!”
And then I failed on the second loop.
It was somewhere around my 20th attempt or so that I decided to give up and accept my complete inability in jumping over a slowly moving beam of yellow light. So curse you Dave and Busters, and curse your infernal Jumping Jackpot machine. I will have my revenge some day.
After my fail of epic proportions, Karen and WL went on to rack up a sizeable number of game tickets playing some Whack-A-Mole game while I went off to sit down in a corner, hugged myself, and rocked back and forth while singing soft kitty. It didn’t take me long to decide that earning game tickets whacking moles was infinitely more enjoyable than being a soft kitty, so I got up to join them in their spree of animal cruelty. Evenly spreading out the mole targets between the three of us, we proceeded to thoroughly trounce the current high score on the machine. Wanting to vent some steam though, I asked to go one round Mano-A-Mano with the moles myself, and proceeded to exterminate them with the cruel efficiency and rage of a man who really really sucks at jumping and has just discovered that fact. Lo and behold! I beat our combined high score.
So while I may not have the Jumping Jackpot abilities of an inebriated earthworm, my ability to slap plastic moles with my hands still remains intact. (Some of you might think that valuing trait like that probably points to some self esteem issues but screw that man The Mole* Master doesn’t have to listen to you.)
*The animal. Not the skin growth.
Pretty soon it hit night fall and it was time for us to exchange our hard-earned game tickets for some swag. With only a single day of playing though, the stuff we could exchange them for were limited to various small knickknacks. Faced with the sensible option of choosing one of an assortment of potentially useful items like stationary, pencil boxes and the like, we naturally went for the two fake mustaches instead.
One mad sprint back to the train station later, we’re soon on our way back to Boston and our beloved Juice Bar which we visit for the 3rd time in 4 days. Following that is a long and filling dinner at the Gourmet Dumpling House before we all head back and cry about our holiday being almost over.
All too soon we hit the last day of our trip. With little more than a couple of hours before it’s time to start heading back to the airport, we decide to explore the Boston Public Library and do more shopping at Prudential Tower. Little much of note happened here, although I discovered that I am way more comfortable comparing nail polish colors with Jobo and Joy than any guy should be. One outstanding lunch at Legal Seafood’s later and its time to board the long train ride back to the airport.
Upon reaching the airport, me and WL are a little worried to find out that we haven’t been assigned any seats. This worries compound when we hear a verbal broadcast asking us to come to the main counter. Oh dear, we thought, they’ve decided that we’re too extraordinarily handsome with our fake mustaches and are going to confiscate them. Instead, we would learn that we had been bumped up to First Class due to a lack of seats. This was almost as good a windfall as the fake mustaches had been.
Cackling evilly as we made our way back to the seats, we basked in the radiant glow of their jealousy, first class tickets clutched tightly in hand. Sadly though, we were just taking a short domestic flight without any of the trappings of a long term flight on a larger aircraft. But still, this was First Class seating. In my mind, these were the kind of seats that only millionaires, celebrities and general VIPs sat on and now I was going to have indirect ass contact with them. It was a happy day.
Honestly speaking though, the extra benefits didn’t amount to much beyond getting earlier boarding times, more legroom and a free drink at the start. Still, I did my very best to emanate waves of pure satisfaction and grin my most annoying grin at each of the girls as they boarded the plane.
One like-a-boss plane ride and one super-crowded bus ride later, we were all back in Karen’s place munching on takeout from Rose Tea Cafe while we looked at each other’s photos and reminisced about the vacation. We talked about Jobo being WL’s sugar momma for half the trip (another story for another time), Karen’s endless spouting of YOLO, WL’s Stupid Faces club and all the other random, ridiculous and wonderful things that happened that Spring Break.
It was a good trip.