Attaboy.ca

Over There (in the UK)

October 10, 2000 at 11 AM

Back from a trip down

Back from a trip down to Boston. Everyone in Montreal yesterday looked to be yawning, a good reflection of my own fatigue after much walking and driving around New England. We ended up sleeping in the car in Burlington, VT since there was nowhere to stay, "on account of the fall foliage," said one motel owner. Well no kidding. New Englanders take their foliage seriously.

I can't get enough of the Bawston drawl, even if it meant getting stuck in traffic on the "ahtery" (that's the elevated highway that Massachusetts taxpayers are pouring untold billions to tear down and bury underground) and getting stuck in traffic during a marathon, and getting just plain stuck since none of the roads in Boston make any sense.

Accents aside, Beantown is a swell place. People have compared it to Montreal, but I don't find it so similar, myself. Bostonians are a bit more down to Earth. They don't dress up to go grocery shopping like people seem to do here. I can't imagine ever seeing a marathon in Montreal. On the other hand, I didn't see a quarter as many bikes in Boston, and the horrendous traffic confirms it. And although I did happen on one happy jazz club, it was buried in the basement of a restaurant, and seemed lonely amid old, empty warehouses. If Boston has a hopping night-time scene, it certainly disguised itself well.

Perhaps that's because people are too busy making money. The American dream seems alive and well, at least if you are working in banking or investment. Boston is dressed in the cranes and scaffolding uniform of a city in renewal. The "yuppie strip," Newbury St., is jammed with galleries and shoppers and cellphones and Starbucks lattés. On the plus side, amid all the construction, Bostonians also seem to be taking care of their heritage; I couldn't help but notice how shiny and polished many of the older buildings downtown looked.

Even if the Red Sox never win a world series, Boston seems like a city in command. Of course, like Canada, Boston has its own "brain drain," as people opt for the warmer climbs of Atlanta and the New South. But as the cover story I read on the subject noted, Atlanta has no soul. Boston has a fine, old soul. I don't expect to live in Montreal forever; Boston may have just risen a few notches up on the list of maybes.

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Previously: Chaos grips BelgradeDo you ever

Subsequently: It’s about as ugly as

October 2000
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