Japan/USA diary, day 15

Monday, 15 June, 2015. 18:41

We are sitting on our flight from Boston to Dallas, taxiing to take off an hour late. It looks unlikely that we will make our connecting flight, and will probably have to spend a full day in Dallas. To make matters worse for our chances, we are seated in the very last row of the plane and will be the last people to get off.

South-West Bagel
Breakfast bagel at Bruegger’s Bagels, Brookline, Boston. Brilliant!

We slept in a little this morning, then got up and went to Bruegger’s for a bagel breakfast again. M. had a whole wheat bagel with a thin scrape of peanut butter on it. I tried the south-west breakfast bagel, which had egg, cheese, peppers, and a chipotle sauce. When we emerged from the hotel, expecting a warm day similar to yesterday, we were shocked to find it raining and cold. I went back in to get my umbrella and jacket, though M. declined to get her jacket.

Museum of Fine Arts.

After eating, we caught a train to the Museum of Fine Arts. This involved changing green line trains at Arlington, though we erroneously got off at Copley, thinking this was sensible since it served both the lines we were travelling on. However, it’s not possible to change platforms at Copley, so we had to get on the next train to travel one stop further to Arlington where we could change to get the museum train. We arrived at the museum just as it opened at 10:00, joining a small group of other people shaking off umbrellas as they moved to buy tickets inside the foyer. We used a ticket machine to get our tickets, avoiding the queue at the staffed counters. We had to be quick, as we had limited time before having to leave to get ready for our flight. There was a special exhibit of art by Hokusai, but we didn’t have time to do that justice so just got general admission.

Rue de la Bavole, Honfleur
Rue de la Bavole, Honfleur, by Claude Monet. Museum of Fine Arts.

I checked my umbrella and jacket at the cloakroom, then went in search of a museum map. The information counter was a few rooms into the museum, and on the way we ran into a staff member who asked if me could help. When I said I just wanted a map, he produced one from a large custom-made pocket and gave it to me. He pointed out some highlights of the museum, including his “personal favourite” the American Impressionism and landscape art section. We went there via a circuitous route that passed the European section and its own Impressionism collection, which included about ten Monet paintings, among them two water lilies and two of his series of the cathedral at Rouen. We also traversed much of the older European art, seeing works by Rubens, Van Dyke, Tintoretto, Turner, and many others. Eventually we reached the American art section, where there was a room full of paintings of Niagara Falls, as well as other landscapes. One room had a painting made just in 2012, which was a view of the very gallery that the painting itself was in, as viewed from a point right next to itself.

Antibes, the Pink Cloud
Antibes, the Pink Cloud, by Paul Signac. Museum of Fine Arts.

From the American section we went downstairs to the ground floor again and the ancient art, which included a couple of rooms full of Egyptian antiquities and mummies, as well as some Mesopotamian and Assyrian relief sculptures. One clay vessel in the shape of a rabbit had a label saying it was probably the oldest item in the museum, having been made approximately 8000 years ago.

22:10 (Dallas time)

We made our connection, barely. Our flight landed in Dallas, we got off, walked to the departure gate for the flight to Sydney, and boarding was just beginning.

Back in the museum, we left the ancient art and headed down to the basement to see the model ship room, which had a dozen or so incredibly detailed models of various sailing ships. There was even model furniture on them, with some tiny tables and chairs, maybe a centimetre high, displayed next to one to show the scale. There were also several steel drawers in this room containing more exhibits, so we opened them all to have a look at various maps, hull models, coins, and so on.

Egyptian boat
Ancient Egyptian boat carving. Museum of Fine Arts.

By now we’d spent almost an hour and a half in the museum, and this was all the time we could spare. After a quick look at the shops we left to catch the train back to our hotel. We went an extra stop to Coolidge Corner to get lunch at the bagel place, before walking back to the hotel. Back in our room we showered and packed our bags, then checked out at 14:00 and walked out to the train stop to head to the airport. It was still raining with a steady drizzle, so we got a bit wet and I now had a wet umbrella to deal with.

We took the green line to Park St, transferred to the red line to South Station, and then to a silver line bus to the airport. The bus was very crowded with people with large luggage, and at each airport stop some of them struggled to get off, followed by new people at the terminal struggling to squeeze on for the return trip to South Station. Our terminal was B, stop 2.

We avoided a long queue of people checking in by using the self check-in terminals. But although we were on the same flights, our tickets had been booked separately. The machine just printed me a check slip which could be used to get through security screening and to the gate, where a seat would be assigned at the counter. M. got the same, but also a boarding pass for the Dallas-Sydney leg. We went in through security and then had some time to spare as we were quite early.

Airport calamari
Calamari salad, Boston Logan Airport.

We sat in a bar and ordered some food, as there would be no free meals on the flight to Dallas. M. liked the look of a veggie burger, while I chose the calamari salad. She said the burger was good, but the salad was only average. It had small rings of calamari, battered and fried, as well as what looked like some baby octopus, served with a side of lettuce leaves sprinkled with feta cheese and olives. It was not bad, just not particularly good either.

After eating we left to find the gate, which had actually been changed from the one printed on our slips. Nobody was there to serve anyone, so we waited into a lady arrived and gave us seat assignments and also printed me a boarding pass for Sydney.

As already noted, the flight was roughly an hour late departing, but made up time and arrived in Dallas only half an hour late. I feared we’d have to go through customs and extra security screening for international flights, making it difficult to make our connection. But I asked a cabin crew member and she said that Qantas left from terminal D, the same one we’d be arriving at, and all we’d have to do is go to the gate and show our passports when boarding. This turned out to be true, which was fortunate because it took ages for us to get off the plane. Also, when taxiing to the gate, the plane had to stop for a while because, as the captain announced, “someone left a piece of luggage where our plane has to park”. But we made it and are now sitting waiting to depart, which has actually been delayed a few minutes to avoid breaking the morning airport curfew on arrival in Sydney.

Wednesday 17 June, 16:53 Sydney time

Our flight was smooth and seemed less long than it actually was as we both dozed a bit. We landed at 06:35, and because we had no checked bags made a rapid exit of the airport an into a taxi. We arrived home just over an hour after the plane landed. Another interesting and event-filled trip over!

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