the adventures of An & Linh continues
Posted July 12, 2010on:
Four years have since passed.
In this instalment, we bring you “THE AMAZING RACE, BOS”
First, let’s examine exhibition #1
This is known as my pet luggage, I mainly use this to hold all my craps when I travel not-so-light. It’s nice. I like it. It has wheels and a retractable handle, but can also be scrunched up and modified in form as needed, unlike the standard boxy luggage that is pretty much unmalleable. (by the by, what the hell is wrong with wordpress spell check? It doesn’t acknowledge eruditious words like “unmalleable” causing me to consult the wisdom of Google to affirm my own English proficiency!) The only complain I have about exh. 1 is, see how the top closes? It’s pretty tough to zip that sucker up if you have a full bag, since the top has smaller “circumference” than the sides. You really have to sit on that sucker and pull pull pull while dragging the zipper. It can be a pain at times.
Second, let’s study this handy map of Boston & Cambridge
The apt where we stayed for the last 2 weeks is in central Boston on the corner of Hancock and Derne. MIT, where An has been doing her work, is to the west of the River, about 30 minutes door-to-door by foot or by train, just because sometimes you have to wait quite a few minutes for the train to arrive. BOS (Boston Logan Airport) is to the east of the city, about 45 minutes door-to-door taking into account train waiting time, transfer time, and general traffic one runs into once it reaches the first terminal of BOS.
Third, here’s a list of all the things we have acquired while in Boston and needed to be returned at the end of our stay. I will type out their role/significance to help explain why we did the things we did in the narration that is about to unfold
1. Big window fan – An bought this fan and carried it up and down Boston on one of the hottest day of the heat wave specifically for May and I, since the rental apt had no fans, no AC, and windows had no screens. An tried opening the windows for ventilation and that resulted in so many mosquitoes that continued to bite us every night up until the day we left town. The apt would immediately become uninhabitable as soon as the fan stops running, so it’s pretty much our lifeline (well, technically, we could resort to leaving the fridge’s door open like I had suggested…). An promised to loan this fan to one of her MIT colleague but she said it would be delivered at the very end of our stay, precisely due to the reason stated above.
2. Long ethernet cable borrowed from another MIT colleague initially to temporarily solve part of our internet connection problem.
3. Portable window screens, “borrowed” from local hardware store and returned after 8 days of very light use.
4. PC wireless router, “borrowed” from local electronic store and returned after 7 days of very light use.
5. small personal heater, borrowed from An’s friend for its fan function. I didn’t believe that it actually works as a fan, but it does. An needed that tiny fan.
6. Sheets and a pillow, borrowed from the same friend. An used them to sleep on the couch in the living room of the apt.
7. Bike locks, borrowed from An’s biking companion for her trip to Cape Cod.
8. Office key for the Green Building at MIT – this is the key to An’s temporary office while she was working at MIT during the past 2 weeks. While it does open the actual office door, it does not provide access into the Green Building. So unless someone let her into the building, this key opens nothing.
10:50am, Saturday, -7 hr 25 minutes from departure
I woke up (nearly 1.5 hr later than the agreed on time with An the previous night) and saw An all packed, dressed, and was heading out. I was supposed to have gotten ready too, with May in tow, to help An drop off all the borrowed stuffs at various locations in Cambridge. However, by the look of it, An was about to do everything by herself, giving us an extra 3 hours to sleep in and pack up, however we decide to spend them. Instead of returning everything at once (shops in Cambridge, friend’s house, and then MIT office), An had decided to just take care of all the items that needed to be returned at shops in Cambridge and friend’s house first, and would come back for MIT items later, because as soon as she takes the window fans, it would be the end of our stay in that apt – the heat was intolerable. So off An went. May soon woke up, I packed a bit, and then took May and headed for the mall to return some stuffs.
2pm, Saturday, -4 hrs 15min from departure
I came back in town having successfully returned 1 tiny bikini bottom piece, but bought a beach ball for May and a pair of nice butter yellow pants for An (clearance, 6 bucks, made ass look divine). It had started to rain hard, so May and I waited it out inside Whole Foods, eating lunch. An was in the T station near by. As soon as the rain abated, we met up and walked back to the apt together. Ah geez. What we thought was “serious rain” was actually just an overture. As soon as we got into the apt, it REALLY poured. And poured. And poured. And poured. We finished packing. We ate left over food. We ate some more. We cleaned up the place. I tried to take a dump. Oh the things we did while it rained.
4pm, Saturday, -2 hrs 15min from departure
Oh shit, 4 o’clock already! Must go now. The day’s fatigue was just getting its groove on with me because I hardly slept the night before, and though it had rained so much, the place still felt so torpidly hot. Running around carrying May made both of us sweaty and stinky and sticky, so my face = . There was May strapped to my chest, May’s diaper bag on my back, my rolling duffel bag full and heavy of stuffs, the 2 laptops in one laptop bag that must have weighted more than the weight of 2 laptops put together. And then there was An’s backpack also jam-packed and heavy, trash bags to toss out, recyclables bag to recycle, window box fan to drop off at MIT… We made it to the Charles/MGH T station at a bit past 4pm, sweaty and pooped. We decided that May and I would sit on the T platform, inbound direction, with all of our luggages (my duffel, laptop bag, diaper bag, An’s backpack). An would board the T on the other side (outbound direction) to Cambridge to return her key, ethernet wire, and drop off the box fan. It took forever for the next train to Cambridge to arrive. We wasted a good 15 minutes waiting around for the train while I grew 5 grey hairs on my head from getting annoyed at the MTBA. Thanks god for the breezes from the Charles.
4:43pm, Saturday, -1 hr 33 minutes from departure
Oh man oh man, An still could not get into the Green Building at MIT because no one was going in or out! She was running around MIT trying to dump all her stuffs. I thought she meant literally dumping all the stuffs, but what she was trying to do (and succeeded in doing) was this: she ran into another building that was open, found, on the 3rd floor of that building, a [cute, Chinese] girl who was walking around in a white labcoat, holding a scale (to weigh chemicals). An then proceeded to ask if she could please dump all her stuffs into girl’s office because she (An) had a plane to catch and is running late. I guess it’s the thing MIT people do for each other, but girl apparently did take An up to the 4th floor, opened her office, let An dump everything there, gave An her contact info and name, and then An ran madly back to the T station to board the next T (inbound) to meet me on the platform, dragged everything right back into the same train, finally airport bound.
5pm, -1hr 15 min. from departure.
An got both of our boarding passes out. I was to depart from terminal E 10 minutes before An’s flight from terminal C. But, uh oh, I couldn’t locate May’s birth certificate. See, the thing is, I was being extra careful about that important piece of document, so I removed it from my wallet as soon as I got to Boston (just to make sure that in case I lose my wallet, I would still have May’s paper, kwim?) and put it into the front pocket of the duffel bag. Ah, but the pocket was ripped (inside, thanks goodness) so at some point, the paper must have fallen into the black hole known as the main compartment of my duffel bag. While waiting for the Silver line train to arrive, An said, “here, let me help you try to locate that paper” and proceeded to open the main compartment and dug through mountains of clothes, random stuffs (shoes, slippers, lotions, panties, beach towels, swimming suits, spare diapers, fancy bras for An to try out…). The picture I provided for you is someone else’s luggage, not mine. Mine, on that day, was filled with, oh I don’t know, about 3x the amount of stuffs. Think blossoming peony. Pretty soon, uh oh, here comes the train, oh shit oh shit. The top is sooooo hard to zip up, and on this day, it was beyond hard. So here was An madly tugging at the zipper while straddling my duffel bag, and rode/dragged that whole thing to get in line to board the train.
dragged a few feet
tugged the zipper again
dragged the still half opened bag onto the train, whipped out her Charlie card to pay the fares, then immediately straddled the bag to try closing it some more.
It was as if An was riding a monster, rodeo style, while completely oblivious of her surrounding and everyone else was doing their darnest to be polite and walk around this anomaly as if it didn’t exist. I wanted to laugh so hard and felt very very bad at the same time. I was also scared and anxious, not sure what will happen if we don’t find the document.
The train started moving, and after a few moments of breathing hard, An looked to me and said “you want me to try digging for it again?” She said we might as well try, since now that we got onto the train, it would take a while before we reach BOS. Oh yes, let’s, if she’s willing to go through that again, LET’S!
So a thousand flowers bloomed. We got a bit more systematic this time and worked together. We got out 3 bags to shove all the stuffs into after we were done with sorting through them, that way we could empty at least half of the duffel bag out to facilitate the digging process. Because of that, An finally found the birth certificate. HURRAY!!! The two guys – one sat opposite to us and one sat next to me – were putting on their best polite face while we put all of our private belongings on display, finally broke into smiles when we got everything back into the the bag and were laughing madly with relief and the absurdity of it all.
5:45pm, Saturday, -30 min. from departure
An was due to fly out at 6:25, me, 6:15. The train finally crawled to terminal C, and An quickly ran off. I reached terminal E 5 minutes later, lugged everything to the check-in counter, calling out “excuse me, please help, I have a six fifteen flight to board!” An asked me later in amazement how I made it onto the flight in so little time, and I attributed it to broadcasting my status so loudly. There was no line at security to wait for, so that helped.
6:04pm, Saturday, -11 min. from departure
Boarded the air plane. Phoned An to report good news, and An was also in the process of boarding. A brief farewell was exchanged and then we signed off. Until next time, Ba’i boa ba!
Here’s An waiting to board the Outbound T for Cambridge to dump the fan and other stuffs.
She’s taking a photo of me…
This is the photo An took. That’s me with May and all of our worldly possessions. That guy stood too close for my comfort, I had to keep on looking over to make sure An’s pack and the laptop bag were still there.