This is my third trip to Boston. During the first, I drove up with my friend, Delma, and her daughter and went on a sight-seeing tour during the day then went to the post-Leakycon WRock show with House of Black, the Butterbeer Experience, and The Ministry of Magic.
During my second trip, I took the train and went to the Boston BookCrossing Unconvention (like a convention only smaller and for those of us who couldn’t make it to the real convention overseas). I had an excellent time and saw a whole lot more that time around. Here are my posts from that trip: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday.
This time, I’m heading to Boston for the annual AWP Conference & Bookfair. It’s going to be our biggest one yet–over 600 events, over 700 bookfair exhibitors, and over 150 offsite events. I’m staying a few extra days in Boston because I want to explore it a little more and I’ll get to hang out with some of my BookCrossing friends. I plan on doing a bit of snarfing as well. I’ve got about 100 markers snarfed in Boston already but I spent hours color-coding a spreadsheet last night and there are 21 pages of markers I haven’t yet snarfed. I don’t think I’ll get to all 500+ and I don’t have a snarf map, but at least I know what I have and what I don’t have. With that, Gillian, and Eeyore, I’m set :-)
I woke up earlier than I should have today, worried that I’d timed things wrong or forgotten to pack something (so far, I’ve remembered only one thing I forgot: business cards; I don’t usually hand many out though, so it’s all right). I put a stop on my mail and then carried my suitcase down three flights of stairs.
I weighed my suitcase about 18 times last night and the weights ranged from 48.2 to 52.9; anything over 50 gets extra fees at the airport, so I packed an extra bag inside my suitcase to transfer things into if needed. I knew I was carrying at least 5.6 pounds of books, because I weighed those separately earlier in the weekend.
After tricking my cat into the carrier (Maxwell will be spending the week and a half at “Grandma’s” where he’ll get to see the dog and cats he used to live with) I got dropped off at the Metro station. My stop is at the end of the blue line and I swear NO ONE on the train could figure out if they were on the right train or not. At that time of day, there is only ONE train that leaves the station in only ONE direction. Silly tourists.
I got to the airport around 11:45am… for a 2:56pm flight. Oops. I walked around the terminal for about 15 minutes then finally asked a security guy where the JetBlue counter was. Apparently it’s in Terminal A. I was in Terminal C. So I took a shuttle over to Terminal A; I don’t think I’ve ever been there before. There was a whole row of lovely museum pieces, like samples from D.C. museums. Very neat! I checked in and they weighed my luggage. I held my breath. It was 50.1 pounds. But it fluctuated between 50 and OVER for a while before resting on that
Woman behind the desk: Is there anything you can take out?
Me: There are many things!
Woman behind the desk: Try just one thing
I ended up taking out my hat–just a normal, cotton hat, and it weighed in exactly at 50! Score! I didn’t have to carry two bags for carry-on.
I then realized I hadn’t had anything to drink all day. I’d had a weird breakfast of English muffin (leftover from my tummy trouble weekend two weekends ago) and soup (the second half of a can I wolf down between library and driving to Baltimore on Saturday) to help clean out my fridge (my dinner last night was a stirfry of every vegetable in my fridge LOL). Anyway, I got a beverage and drank 80% of it right then and there.
Then I headed out to snarf the statue of one of my least favorite presidents whose name they put at the beginning of National Airport. I’d never seen Terminal A before and hadn’t known the statue existed, but I found it and a plaque about it right outside.
Then I remembered another snarf I knew was at the airport, but I couldn’t remember what it was or what it was called. Realizing I had a LOT of time to kill before my flight, I headed to the information desk to ask.
Me: I have a question I don’t think you’ll be able to answer.
Older ladies sitting at info desk: Try us!
Me: There a historical brick dome thing somewhere on the airport grounds with a marker next to it. What is it and how do I get there?
Older ladies sitting at info desk: Oh. That IS a question we’ve never heard before.
I explained that I could see it from the Metro and that it looked like it was near parking but didn’t know how to get there. The ladies told me to ask the guys manning the airline desks outside the entrance. So I asked the guy there. He didn’t seem to know what I was talking about (brick dome thing? crazy white girl doesn’t even know what she’s asking for!) but then he told me to get into one of the airport shuttles, tell the driver where I needed to go, and he’d take me there. Huh. That sounded vague and rather unlikely, but I did it. The first shuttle I got onto, the driver had no idea what I was talking about. The second one I got into ignored me a minute and then said “Yeah, okay. Near the parking lots?” I told him I didn’t know which parking garage or what it was I was looking for, but he said he’d take me there. Again, that seemed highly unlikely but I had already gone that far. So I got off at the stop where he told me to. He leaned over and pointed up to a bridge, telling me to take that across to the garage. I did, and came out in a pet relief area; no historical markers there. Then I noticed another path across the way. I went back in, went a little further, and came out on that path to find… the brick dome thing with a marker next to it.
As it turns out, it’s part of the ruins of the old Abingdon Plantation that stood on those grounds once upon a time. There’s a little walking path/park and a half dozen different markers, including a National Register sign and a DAR plaque. Whoohoo! Too bad Eeyore was in my luggage back in Terminal A, but that’s all right. I was just thrilled to FINALLY snarf this!
I took the airport shuttle back to Terminal A and told the info desk ladies what and where it was; they seemed happy to be manned with this new information. I thanked them for their help.
Then I headed to the gate. After standing in the WRONG LINE behind the slowest 71-year-old on the planet and getting told off for being slow by a flight attendant who had 11 minutes to get to his plane (dude, STILL NOT MY FAULT that this old guy doesn’t know how to untie his shoes; I promise I will push my company’s laptop through the x-ray machine as soon as that guy remembers all of the loose change in all his pockets) I found four of my coworkers already at the gate (Gate 8).
I had a mushroom panini for lunch (not part of my diet, but I couldn’t handle fruit before flying) while waiting for the rest of our group to arrive.
The flight was fine. I fell asleep for a little while. And I read a bit of Yann Martel’s The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, fully expecting to dislike it. I made it to page 20 before it started getting to be too much for me to handle. But after another handful of pages, I’m actually kind of starting to like it again. I guess we’ll see where I fall when I finish it. Thank you, melydia, for giving me a BookCrossing copy to take to Boston so I didn’t have to take my library copy! (Speaking of which, I have, like 15 minutes left on an audio book–Scott Westerfeld’s Goliath–sitting in my car at home; I have to wait 9 days to finish it!).
I picked up my luggage (at baggage claim 8) and found that it had a special “HEAVY” tag on it, with the label “51 pounds.” But I didn’t get charged for it, as far as I know! So after all that, it still came in overweight!
We took a shuttle to the hotel and I was thrilled when I started recognizing places. “Oohhh! There’s the cemetery I snarfed where Mother Goose is burried! Ooohhh! There’s the church where I released Angels & Demons!” Yeah. It sounds weird, but back home I navigate based on snafs and book releases as well. And it was also neat to leave the stretch of town I knew and venture a few extra blocks to the hotel where I haven’t snarfed anything. I’m hoping to maybe get a few tomorrow morning (I need breakfast and a Trader Joe’s run though).
For dinner, we ventured over to the Back Bay Social Club and got the entire basement to ourselves. It looked like a speakeasy, with a whole wall of bottles, red cushioned booths, and dim lighting. I didn’t get a desert (though I did eat an amazing spinach salad and some mushroom pasta–if I’d known I was going to have mushrooms, I would have had that eggplant panini at the airport instead). Sara let me have a bite of her bread pudding covered in caramel sauce through. I LOVE bread pudding!
I headed back to my room, where I eventually remembered I needed a fridge. I asked for one and, five minutes later, it appeared at my door. Awesome service.
I’m exhausted (didn’t sleep much last night; kept waking up and running downstairs to check passwords or worrying about the onsite wireless network). So I might take another look at the Back Bay snarfs then shower & go to bed early to get ready for a fun week and a half in Boston!