Sunday, June 3, 2007

Day 05

Baseball, Baseball And More Baseball

I woke up today and jumped out of bed, feeling fresh and ready for a good run. I grabbed the map and set off on my way going across the Charles River and through Cambridge before looping back to the hostel. In all it was 46 minutes of running - not bad considering it was only the fourth time I have been out. Paulo, on the other hand, opted for the 'proverbial' lie-in.

The morning was spent chilling out in Breuggers Bagels eating breakfast and drinking a never ending medium sized coffee.

There was a few things we wanted to get done today - see Cambridge, go to a jazz club and watch the Sox game. We were supposed to meet a friend of mine but when I couldn't reach him we jumped on the T and headed to Harvard Square in Cambridge.

Harvard (or Hahvard as the Bostonians say) is very old, dating back to 1636 and is steeped in historical significance. The university is the oldest institution of higher learning in America and was started by a clergyman from Cambridge in England called John Harvard. When he died, he bequeathed about 400 books as well as a half of his personal wealth to create the library collection and start the university. The library now contains over 15 million volumes, which makes it the largest academic library in the world.

There are roughly 2400 professors, 6700 undergraduates and 12400 graduates students in Harvard. Some of the famous alumni who studied there include:

Franklin Roosevelt
Henry David Thoreau
Jack Lemmon
John Hancock
Leonard Bernstein
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Theodore Roosevelt

And surprisingly, Tom Morello who played guitar for both Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine.

But to be honest it not a very interesting campus to look at. We strolled around and went into the Science Center. Paulo (in his usual messer-type way) walked into one of the lecture auditoriums, flicked on the lights and walked down on to the stage to say a few words.

Next, we went for a bite and then began walking away from the university towards the center of Cambridge in search of a jazz club called Wally's. As we walked down Mass Avenue we saw many funny, cleverly named shops such as: Looney Tunes (a great independent record shop), Sleep-A-Rama, The Door Store and Cheapo Records.

Inside Looney Tunes...

There was a bit of difficulty in finding the bar since the same street addresses exist in Cambridge and in Boston. But after a short metro ride we found the famous cafe. Despite the fact that the bar maid was one of the edgiest people I have ever met - it took her over 2 minutes of staring at Paulo's license, murmuring OK and alright and then looking at his face to decide that he was OK to drink there, we settled in and were blown away by the music.

Wally's ( is one of the oldest family owned and operated jazz clubs around. It was opened on January 1, 1947 by Joseph Walcott (Wally) and features live music every single day of the year. Although many of the musicians are professionals, the cafe is surrounded by several acclaimed institutions and provides the perfect place for music students to 'cut their teeth'. The open session we saw featured about a dozen musicians and each song they played was about 3o minutes long. The most impressive players were two saxophone players. One was an older cat dressed impeccably in a tin of fruit. The other was a young girl who brought the place down when she finished her solo.

When the session was finished, we legged it up the road to Champions Bar underneath The Marriott in Copley Square to watch the Sox and Yankees. We had great seats - right in front of the large screen television but in the end the Sox lost by one run. The tosser A-Rod hit a home run in the top of the ninth and the Sox couldn't respond in the bottom of the inning.

Boston is a town that is fanatical about their baseball and we spent the entire weekend watching and cheering the Sox in some of the best sports bars the city has to offer.

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