A few observations about Boston

As part of my journey to the Gordon Research Conference on granular materials, in Easton, Massachusetts, I’m spending today and tonight (it’s currently 8pm Boston time, which means it’s too-late-and-I’m-about-to-collapse-from-exhaustion-time in London) in Boston. This being my first trip to the US (indeed, to anywhere west of Wales), I’ve made a number of observations in the last eight hours.

  • I usually take an aisle seat on planes, and can usually put my elbow on the arm rest without blocking the aisle for anybody. There must have been a lot of really fat people on this flight.
  • The first piece of American English that I heard upon arriving was a video that they showed at Immigration and Customs (where we waited on and on…), featuring a woman saying the word ‘Really?’ with a rising intonation. So, so far, all my prejudices and stereotypes of Americans are being confirmed.
  • It’s just as oppressively hot here as it was in England a few days ago (in the low 30s, Celcius). However, there are beaches, yachts, large gardens and such, and everyone seems just a little bit happier than they are in Cambridge.
  • Chinese food here is very affordable, but actually quite nice. (There seems to be a healthy community of Cantonese people here, and their Chinatown makes London’s look quite pitiful.)
  • Things are big. Fire engines here go faster and are louder.
  • Hershey’s chocolate tastes like vomit.
  • Hershey’s is still better than other confectionery here, which have that horrible corn syrup stuff.

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