The Freedom Trail, Various Wildlife Refuges, and Three Pieces of Performance Art

Andrew Stephens, Tuesday the 15th of July, 2014

This entry is just a collection of random stuff I have experienced recently This post was automatically imported from my old sandfly.net.nz blog. It may look a little weird since it was not originally written for this format.. In no particular order:

The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a self-guided walk that winds through central Boston, passing various sites of historical interest on the way. Boston is very proud of its history, being the site of the American Revolution (boo hiss) and the abolitionist movement (better late than never) and its role in the American civil war (hooray).

About 40% of the sites on the trail are connected to Paul Revere, I was pretty sick of hearing about him by the end.

At the end of The Freedom Trail is the Bunker Hill Monument. Technically (and confusingly) not on Bunker Hill, the monument commemorates The Battle of Bunker Hill (which was also not actually on Bunker Hill). In any case, you can climb to the top of the monument (294 steps!) for a cramped, hot, and majestic view of the city. This picture is looking vaguely west along the Charles River in the background.

Boston from the top of the Bunker Hill Monument

4th of July

The fourth of July is one of the important holidays, and one Boston celebrates with gusto. The public celebration was brought forward one day because of the bad weather forecast for the 4th, so I went down to the Charles River Esplanade to see how things were done. It was basically like Symphony Under the Stars in Auckland but with more security (and armed police wandering around). We were treated to various patriotic songs by the Boston Pops Orchestra and some hits from a Beach Boy. The crowd had a very lucky escape when Joey McIntyre couldn't make the rescheduled event.

I learnt that nobody really knows the words to the America national anthem, and fewer people actually have the range to sing it. I also learnt that Americans get annoyed if you sing the correct lyrics My Country, Tis of Thee, which more properly begin "God save our gracious Queen."

The concert was cut short due to the encroaching rain, and we were treated to the best fireworks display I have seen. It must have been visible from most of the city. The best part were the shells that exploded into reasonable attempts at a giant smily faces.

5 minutes after the fireworks ended, the thunder storm took over the skies. Boston gets proper summer storms, the lightning lasted for over an hour and for a while you could almost read by it, so frequent were the flashes.

Sharknado

I don't really have much to say about this. Sharknado is a (terrible) made-for-TV film that became a minor hit a while ago. This was a special presentation by the guys behind Mystery Science Theatre 3000 which consisted of them playing the film in its entirety, but making jokes over the top. Despite being fairly inept, Sharknado is quite entertaining, and with added jokes makes for a good evening's entertainment.

My only other observation is that in America, a small coke at the theatre is approximately 1 litres worth.

The Phantom of the Opera

The tragic story of a hideous man who sits backstage playing the keyboard all-the-while lusting over a beautiful actress he will never haveWhere does Andrew Lloyd Webber get his ideas from?.

This was a lavish production, with pyrotechnics and all sorts of stage trickery. It turns out I had completely misinterpreted the story so the ending was a complete surprise to me. The Boston Opera house is pretty amazing just by itself. It is a little like the Civic is Auckland but about twice the size. This photo doesn't really do it justice.

Inside the Boston Opera House. Click for a larger version.

Ipswich River and Great Meadows Lake Wildlife Sanctuaries

Finally some photos from two wildlife sanctuaries I have visited in the last few weeks.

Ipswich River Beaver Dam Beaver Dam at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

This is a beaver dam (the pile of sticks, not the bridge - beavers are neat but not that good at building). I have seen several of these constructions in various parks, but no beavers as yet.

Ipswich River The Rockery Pond at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

This pond was absolutely filled with turtles of various sizes. American ponds seem a lot more alive than back in New Zealand, with frogs, insects and small mammals all vying for space. The lilypads are nice as well.