Tag Archive | Boston

‘Amtrak Downeaster’ From Dover, N.H. To Boston, North Station: Not Bad At All, BUT Slow & Expensive!

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.




We are not strangers to Amtrak. We have taken Amtrak — and even the Acela — from Boston to New York (and back, and even once from Philadelphia) many, many times. But, the ‘Downeaster’ was a mystery — a service that I had never previously considered. Plus, it is strange, it is not something that readily comes to mind because I rarely see ‘Downeaster’ trains in action.

But, this last Sunday, heading to Boston Chinatown for the Lunar New Year celebrations I decided to give the ‘Downeaster’ a spin. It came up as an option when I was Googling bus services. Yes, I normally drive to Boston. I have no problems driving to Boston, though parking can be slightly infuriating. But, I had done a lot of driving in the past month — which had included trips to Boston, Rockland (Maine) and a number of trips to the Portsmouth area. I wanted to sit back and let someone else drive.

Given that there are three of us taking the bus, either from Dover or Concord, would have been cheaper. With the 50% discount I can get as a senior the $28 return-trip fare is definitely fair. But, when you are talking of a family of 3 or 4, even if you can get 50% off on all the tickets, it is expensive. Cheaper to drive, especially on a Sunday when you can park in Boston for ~$11.

But, I wanted to go by train. We haven’t had a proper train trip in 4-years. It was time. It was relaxing. It was nice.

It was not fast. I clocked it using GPS. Was doing around 55mph. 98 minutes from Dover to North Station. In a good day I can drive from home to Downtown Boston in 90 minutes. So, faster speed definitely is not factor.

Nice scenic route. Through tons of undeveloped land. Much more scenic than taking I-93 or I-95. That was a plus.

Good trip. Enjoyed it. I will do it again — mainly just for the love of traveling by train.


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by Anura Guruge

Lunar (Chinese) New Year 2020, Boston Chinatown — February 2 (Defying Coronavirus): In 36-Pictures & Few Words.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.







It was FUN. It was festive. The Dim Sum at ‘China Pearl‘ was very good (though getting progressively expensive). It was busy but not crazy. Overall outstanding.

Yes, of course, we were concerned about exposure to the Coronavirus. We had already been to a Chinese New Year event, on Tuesday, at UNH. So, this would be our second flirtation with exposure. We thought about it long & hard. It was not something I was going to be cavalier about — especially with my 13-year old daughter. The day before the first case in Massachusetts was reported. Tufts Medical Center, the designated treatment hospital for the virus, is in Chinatown!

But, we live by the belief that life must go on and that you can’t live in a bubble and that you can’t let everything that is happening constrict your life. So we went.

It was noticeably more subdued compared to prior years and we have been going, yearly, for two decades. Definitely not as crowded. In a way that was nice.

I was surprised by the lack of masks. Very few and NONE among the staff at China Pearl. I was happy about that! I had not looked forward to being served by ladies wearing masks.

All in all, it was GOOD. Glad we went THOUGH I will be honest. I will be marking off the next two weeks!


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by Anura Guruge


Chinese Lunar New Year 2020 Celebrations Disrupted, Facemasks Abound — But, Boston Still A ‘Go’.

by Anura Guruge


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A quick search on ‘Google News’.



Nothing surprising here. This was to be expected and I am, in reality, amazed that more celebrations have not been cancelled. Boston is a case in point. It is still a go and we have been talking about it multiple times today. Do we go or do we give it a miss. Wife, who invariably is the one more cautious, says she has no problem going. So, it is my call.

We went to an event yesterday. But, that was rather contained in terms of the number of Chinese there — though I appreciate that you only need one carrier.

I will also confess that I do not want to eat Dim Sum, at our China Pearl, if all the staff are wearing face masks. That will just be to off putting. Yes, we have been there when one or two have worn masks because they had a ‘cold’. But, being served my masked servers will seem odd. Strange.

We still have time. We can wait till the last minute.

As I said yesterday, the timing of this 2020 coronavirus outbreak could NOT have been any WORSE!

I will keep you posted.


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by Anura Guruge

Chinese New Year 2020 – ‘Year Of The Rat’, January 25 to February 8.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


So, Chinese New Year 2020 starts Saturday, January 25th.

That seems early but it is, of course, within the bounds.

The Chinese New Year starts following the 2nd NEW MOON after the December Winter Solstice.

Click to ENLARGE.


So, January 25th it is.

Though I think of it as a ‘February’ holiday we have had it in January quite recently — and even earlier, e.g., January 23 in 2012. It could even start on January 21/22 as it did 2004. It can’t be earlier than that.

Chinese New Year, 2000 to 2022. Click to ENLARGE.


The Dragon Parade celebrations in Boston Chinatown will be on the SECOND Sunday, viz., February 2, 2020. I will confirm.

Enjoy.

Happy Chinese New Year.


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by Anura Guruge

Real Turkeys, Of The Feathered Variety, At McDonald’s In Woburn, MA — 4pm In The Afternoon.

by Anura Guruge


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This is the McDonald’s @ 333 Montvale Ave, 333 Montvale Ave, Woburn, MA 01801. Click to ENLARGE.


‘Google Maps’ STREET VIEW. Click to ENLARGE.


This is our default Boston McDonald’s. We invariably stop here, for coffee, healthy snacks and the bathrooms, both on our way in — and out — of Boston. It is so easy to get to off I-93 and the perfect distance from Boston (i.e., under 10-miles).

So, per routine, we stopped here, just after 4pm, yesterday, Thursday, December 19, 2019, on our way to ‘Revels’ in Cambridge.

They appeared by the emergency exit door as we were about to order. Wow. This is in Woburn, MA — not in the sticks of New Hampshire.

We were both amazed and impressed. So were some of the other customers. The staff seemed strangely ambivalent.

What I am surprised about the most. How come these have NOT ended up as chicken nuggets?


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by Anura Guruge

Three Selfies From August 2019.

by Anura Guruge


Click picture to ENLARGE.




The top one is from August 7, 2019 when hiked down to the ‘Nay Aug‘ gorge in Scranton, PA.

The other two were in Boston, from this past Monday, August 26, 2019, when we went to see the ‘Downton Abbey — The Exhibition‘. The bottom two, as must be obvious, taken ‘My Way‘.

Just a record for those that complain that I take all these pictures but rarely post any of myself.



50 posts in the “Taking Selfies My Way” series.

Search ‘Selfies‘ using blog’s search function.


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by Anura Guruge

‘Canon EOS RP’ Make Sure EG-E1 Extension Grip Is Screwed On Tight At All Times.

by Anura Guruge



Yesterday (Father’s Day) in Boston, at the New England Aquarium, I found that my ‘new’ Canon EOS RP kept on intermittently going DEAD! It was scary. Then it would come back on. I first thought it might be because it was so dark inside. I was really panicking. Had visions of having to send the camera back.

I changed batteries. Still …

Then, I noticed that the screw on the grip was loose. I tightened it. BINGO.

So, a heads up. OK?

I don’t want anyone else to go through what I experienced. Not fun. Not funny.


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by Anura Guruge


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