Tag Archive | Chinatown

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

by Anura Guruge


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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


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

by Anura Guruge


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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.

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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

Boston Chinatown 2019 Chinese New Year Celebrations — Sunday, February 17.

by Anura Guruge


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Yes, we are talking THE Dragon Parades. Sunday, February 17, 2019 — Boston Chinatown.

It is always on the SECOND Sunday of the New Year — which this year started on February 5, 2019.

Yes, I have confirmed. It is all set. Sunday, February 17, 2019 — Boston Chinatown.

Good weather. So, it should be a great day out.

Happy Chinese New Year.

Year of the Pig.


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by Anura Guruge


2019 Chinese New Year – ‘Year Of The Pig’ – February 5th to 15th.

by Anura Guruge


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The Chinese New Year, 2019 — ‘The Year Of The Pig‘ — starts next week, on Tuesday, February 5.

The Chinese New Year starts after the 2nd New Moon — following the Winter Solstice. So, its start varies from year-to-year.

It usually continues for at least 2-weeks (in the U.S.).

Last year Chinese New Year started February 16th. So it is pretty early this year.

The festivities in Chinatown, Boston — i.e., the Dragon Parades etc. — per my recockning will be on Sunday, February 27, 2019. It is usually on the 2nd (and last) Sunday of that 2 week period and that is the 25th. I will keep you updated.

In the meantime, have a ball. Snuggle up o a pig.

Happy New Year.


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by Anura Guruge

Dim Sum At ‘China Pearl’, Chinatown, Boston — Sunday, August 26, 2018.

by Anura Guruge


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I have been going to ‘China Pearl‘, in Chinatown, Boston, for over 25-years, on a regular basis, for Dim Sum — and the various posts on this blog will attest to the visits in recent years.

This surprisingly was but just our 2nd trip for Dim Sum in 2018. Usually, we would have gone earlier in the Summer too. Not this year. We did go to Boston in late April but did not have time for Dim Sum.

We got to ‘China Pearl’ an hour later than usual, at noon rather than 11am. We tried a new route into Boston and that was a bust.

They were crowded. Wow. But, it was good.

Glad we went. Beautiful day. Walked from China Pearl to Boston Common & the ‘Public Park‘ and in the process got to see the incredible ‘Professor World Music‘.


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by Anura Guruge

‘Mirror Maze’ At The Boston, Museum Of Science — Amazing & Fun Even When Crowded.

by Anura Guruge


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We visited the BostonMuseum of Science” around 2:15pm on Saturday, February 14, 2018, after our visit to Chinatown for Dim Sum and a long, fun walk around Boston Common/Public Park.

We are members so it didn’t cost us for the visit.

We all wanted to check out the ‘Mirror Maze‘ — having read about it multiple times in the material we get from the Museum.

Though it is free, they issue TIMED TICKETS to limit the number of people going through the Maze. We opted for 4:40pm tickets.

It was still busy and crowded.

The maze is quite amazing. Very clever and compelling.

But, in my opinion having a large crowd spoils it. You are essentially following others in a line. So, basically you are taking a path already predetermined for you.

Though I gather that they clean the mirrors regularly you can still see the fingerprints. So, you can tell where the mirrors are. Since I did not want to walk into mirrors I used my hands ahead of me. But, right at the end, with the exit in sight and a Museum volunteer egging me on that I was nearly there, I did make a wrong turn. The volunteer found that very funny.

The battery of my Google Pixel 2 had died by then — after taking 321 pictures. So, I couldn’t get any pictures of the maze. I hope to go back before it is removed. So, next time I might be able to get some pictures.


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by Anura Guruge


Images Of Boston, Chinatown, “2018 Chinese New Year” — Saturday, February 24, 2018.

by Anura Guruge


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Dim Sum at China Pearl.


We went to Boston Chinatown, for 2018 Chinese New Year, on Saturday, February 24, as opposed to the Sunday, which is when we normally go (so as to enjoy the Dragon Parades etc.), because it was going to be bucketing down, most of the day, on the Sunday.

It was still fun. It wasn’t as busy as the 2nd Sunday of the New Year.

We still had Dim Sum at China Pearl.

It was warm. In the 50s. So, it was great to walk around. We ended up walking to Boston Common and spending an hours walking around the entire Common/Park.

Glad we went. Would have liked to have seen the Dragon Parades. We missed them last year too.


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by Anura Guruge

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