I've finally moved into Boston/Cambridge. I'm currently staying in an apartment outside campus, but it's pretty convenient to take the bus to the Skating Club of Boston. I skate in the mornings, so I usually have the entire afternoon and evening off. And I usually spend those evenings exploring the area and the city. I took a duck tour back when I visited for the first time in 2012, so no more trolley or duck tours for me. I see them all around Boston though. But I think I've conquered most of the touristy places in the Boston area. To name a few, Boston Commons, Faneuil Hall/Quincey Market, North End, Newbury St, Prudential Center, Harvard Square, and of course, MIT. So far, I've learned a few things about Boston:
1. There's construction everywhere. Everywhere. Like everywhere.
2. Never count on the busses coming on time. I've learned that the hard way. I've been left stranded at the bus stop in the blistering heat of a Boston summer after trying to chase down the bus when Google Maps said it'd leave in 3 minutes. Or the bus never comes--or at least it comes much longer than the ETA. CityMapper, the app, is a bit better at real-time bus arrivals. So download that if you plan on taking the busses.
3. Why is it so hard to get a Charlie Card? When I arrived, I realized they were only available at select locations and T stops, but even then, I couldn't find the office at the Harvard Square Station no matter where I looked and the one in Park Street was closed the 3 times I passed by it. I ultimately stuck with a 7-day Charlie Ticket pass. That'll suffice until I can get my hands on my MIT ID card.
4. Don't touch the bus driver. Or you will be prosecuted, as I've read from the stickers on every bus. I really don't know why anyone would.
5. Boston is a huge biking city, so there are bikes everywhere. Watch carefully as you cross any streets or intersections.
6. There are more Dunkin' Donuts (or Dunks - see bullet #8) than Starbucks. This is shocking coming from California. How can there be more of anything per square mile than Starbucks? I think California has less than 10 Dunks altogether. In Boston, though, I've seen two on the same block with a Starbucks caught in between.
7. Toscanini's--go. The hype is real. I tried the ovaltine, earl grey, and coffee chip flavors. And WOW.
8. So I've learned that not only do Bostonians speak with a distinct accent, well some do at least, they also use a different set of vocab. i.e. it's called "bubble tea" here as opposed to "boba" on the West Coast. “Dunks" is short for Dunkin’ Donuts. “Wicked” is used a lot. “Bubbler”=water fountain. That’s just a start.
Anyways, much more to come as I explore Boston/Cambridge in the coming days, weeks, months, and years!