Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Journey Begins, First Stop - Boston, Massachusetts

In order to take the day flight from Boston to Heathrow (leaving at 8:15 am) we need to be there a day in advance. I was wishing it were autumn with the changing leaves but happy to spend even 1 night in Boston.

Swan Boats in the Boston Public Garden
I am usually a very good traveler but unfortunately I had a bit of meltdown in Florida prior to boarding our JetBlue flight to Boston. I had purchased a new Tumi credit card holder during their July sale. I had never used it before and decided for this trip to put 2 credit cards in it and the rest of my cards in my regular wallet. Thought it was safer having some of the cards separate. BIG MISTAKE!!

After going through security and stopping briefly at our gate, I went to buy a bottle of water. I opened the Tumi holder and did not see my Chase debit card or British Airways credit card. I panicked! I couldn't breathe and ran back to where my mother was sitting. Proceeded to dump everything in my purse on the floor and sobbed. Not my proudest moment. I thought the trip was already over before it began.  Now I would have to stay home to repair the damage.

One of the JetBlue attendants noticed the commotion (how could he not?) and was very kind. He told me to go speak with one of the TSA agents. After a 2 minute walk back to security, shaking and having difficulty speaking I told the nice TSA lady named Michelle what happened. I assumed someone at security must have swiped the cards. However I did watch my purse go through the x-ray machine even during a quick pat down, I didn't notice anyone going near it. Michelle was very calm which helped a lot and asked to see the credit card holder. She carefully examined it like a rare Chinese vase and then - miraculously pulled out my two cards!! They were hidden behind a window flap holding my driver's license and BX card. I was soooooo happy!

Tumi holder and compartment behind the window
I just couldn't believe my good fortune and that they were there all along! I felt a combination of extreme embarrassment and stupidity not to mention exhaustion. I apologized profusely to Michelle and said I was sorry over and over and over again. She was very gracious and said she understood and these things happen. Thank goodness she was so nice. Luckily we had plenty of time before the flight left.

Crisis averted and one meltdown behind me as we retreated to our lounge seats. Hoping this is not a sign for the rest of the trip. I was feeling a bit self-conscious assuming all the people around me had witnessed my breakdown. Just glad they still allowed me to get on the plane. I have to say my mother was very calm during this event. Even when I said I couldn't breathe and she asked if she should call 911 and I replied no she let me be. I guess it is true that Mother Knows Best!

Our JetBlue flight departed Florida a bit late. I relaxed on the plane by drinking my bottled water and watching the movie 42 about Jackie Robinson. It was a great film! The weather was very nice during our flight up and we had great views of Boston on our descent.

Arriving in Boston

Getting ready to land

Boston Harbor
We arrived at Logan only 15 minutes behind schedule. I was very happy to be back in Boston! The weather was very nice too.

Boston Logan Airport
We de-planned and made our way from the airport to the Hilton Logan Airport. We walked from Terminal B to Terminal E and then took an elevator to the overhead passageway. It took about 20 minutes to get there with our wheeled luggage.

Hilton Logan Airport
We had agreed in advance to meet my sister at a new restaurant in South Boston near the waterfront. After checking in (and being upgraded - thank you Hilton Honors) we quickly departed by taxi to Marina Drive and the Waterfront. There are still areas on the waterfront that look familiar.

Boston Waterfront near Marina Drive
However, the entire Innovation area with the new modern buildings is completely new to us. It is amazing the transformation that has taken place on the Boston Waterfront in such a short time. The days of Whitey Bulger roaming South Boston seem like a distant memory.

The restaurant we agreed to meet for dinner is called Empire and from the description and photos online looked very nice. I was hoping it would be similar to Buddakan in New York.

Empire Lounge and Restaurant

Empire Bar (very early - only 5:30 pm)

When we arrived at 5:30 pm the restaurant was pretty empty but it is more a late night scene, We perused the menu while we waited a few minutes until my sister and her partner Ted arrived. Stacey and Ted showed up within 5 minutes and we were shown to our table. We ordered some yummy drinks and a few appetizers to share. The dumplings were very good but both the lobster cupcakes (recommended by our server) and the lobster pancake (my choice) missed the mark.

Lobster cupcakes

Lobster Pancake and Dumplings in rear
The music was interesting and not deafening that we couldn't hear one another. I think it must get louder later in the night. The restaurant was starting to fill up and lots of 20-somethings were ordering the large passion fruit drinks with 8 to 10 straws. It was fun to watch.

The service by the restaurant staff was a little disappointing. One of the young male servers decided to clear the plates like he was in a diner - scrapping the leftovers onto another plate right in front of my mother. She wasn't pleased!

We let that misstep pass and decided not to put a damper on the evening. The mains soon arrived and were thankfully much better than the starters. My sister and I shared a modern version of Bi Bim Bap.

Modern Bi Bim Bap
I thought it was pretty good but my sister didn't like the huge chunky vegetables. I think we should have requested 2 eggs instead of just the one it came with since we were sharing. Ted's salad looked delicious and my mother said her Tuna Poke was excellent.

Ted's Salad

Tuna Poke

We shared two desserts. The peach one was weird but the chocolate coffee one was much better. Overall our dinner was sort of a mixed experience. The decor and the setting were great. However, the service and some of the food needs some work.

After dinner we took a walk around the waterfront. My sister and Ted being Techies immediately pulled out their smartphones to look at the map and the best route we should take. They live here so that seemed strange.

We started walking in one direction but then changed and went back toward Rowes Wharf.

Facing the harbor at dusk

The entire waterfront seemed very vibrant and we were very impressed with the improvements. The new office buildings give the waterfront an entirely different vibe. 
Innovation buildings
The court house being on the waterfront seemed out of place several years ago but now fits right in. I had been to the Moakley courthouse once before but had entered from the Atlantic Avenue side. It is quite impressive from the rear. This the place of Whitey visited during his recent trial.

Moakley Courthouse
Prior to coming up to Boston I had considered staying in Cambridge and walking around Harvard Square instead. I was very happy we decided to eat on the waterfront instead. Our timing was perfect too with our walk. Everything  looked beautiful at dusk. We kept telling Stacey how lucky she is to live here. Ted seemed especially pleased with this as Stacey keeps trying to get him to relocate to his company's California office.

After about 20 minutes we headed back to the restaurant and the garage to get Ted's car.  Ten minutes later they dropped off at the Hilton. It was a fun and relaxing night.

Twin Room at Hilton Logan Airport
We went straight up to our room. It was very quiet and we couldn't hear any planes outside. We turned in around 10:00 pm so we would be up early for our flight in the morning. Looking forward to heading to the UK tomorrow!

1 comment:

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