Wednesday, July 31, 2013


My alarm woke Eric and I up at 6:00 AM. After getting ready, we all met at the lobby at 6:30 AM. We left our hotel and found a Starbucks where we had our morning coffee and breakfast. Liam's order took longer than expected and we ended up missing our train. But all was good because the next train came fairly quickly. In the train station, it was practically barren, there were about 15 people including us. According to Tracey, this was considered their busy time. One observation I didn't point out yesterday was the lack of homeless people in Providence. Unlike San Francisco, the city I'm used to, Providence has barely any homeless people. My cohort and chaperone agreed with my observation. We wondered if there ever were any and if so where did they all go.

After some waiting, our train came and we hopped on the train. Again, barely anyone was there. As the train got to closer to Boston, Massachusetts, more people hopped on, this was the most people I've seen in an enclosed area in 12 hours. During our train ride, a woman ran downstairs to ask the train to stop so she could get her friend on board. What was so shocking was that during her panic, she decided to leave her Coach bag right there on her bench. I've never seen someone do this before and what was even more shocking was that no one tried to take it. In the Bay Area this is practically unheard of. Instead people might try to snatch the purse right out of your hands. We had absolutely no idea that this area was so morally upright.

After some conversation about our favorite TV shows and what not, we got to our destination. We got off and boarded the subway, taking the Red Line. After a few minutes the train stopped at Harvard, or as the Bostonians would say, "Hahvahd." I was really excited because Harvard is absolutely amazing. It has housed some of the biggest names ever! From Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to Natalie Portman. Our guide told us all this. Our guide named Taylor, with a T-shirt that said "Hahvahd," took the Yale group and a few others around the Harvard campus. We went to the Harvard Yard and we saw the famous Harvard statue. I went up to the statue and touched it's foot. Rumor has it that if you touch the foot it will bring you good luck. The statue's foot has been touched and rubbed so much that it has turned gold.
One of the most photographed statues, the statue of John Harvard and his golden toes.
Our tour overall was fun, but it wasn't exactly what we were expecting. We were expecting an admissions tour, where we could go inside some of the building, but we never stepped foot in a Harvard building at all. She talked about the famous rivalry between Harvard and Yale, the famous people that went to Harvard, and the rich history of Harvard itself. She talked about how the original library was burnt down, who lived where, the growth of Harvard etc. The three facts I really enjoyed were the three lies that are inscribed on the famous Harvard statue. One of them being that the man on the statue was not sculpted to look like John Harvard. In fact, no one knows what John Harvard looks like because any record of him was burnt down in the library fire.

After our tour, we stopped for lunch, we walked down the block and ate at Bon Chon. The Korean cuisine was okay. The meat was good, the bibimbap was nice, and the fried rice was delicious, but we didn't want to eat too much because we planned to have some seafood, particularly lobster.
The steak that we had at the Korean BBQ, that we actually had to barbecue.
After lunch, we planned to take a tour of the Longfellow house. This is the house of the famous poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the only American writer who has a bust in Westminster Abbey. This house was a lot of fun. I couldn't believe all the history this house contained. George Washington and his wife stayed in his house during the siege of Boston. Many famous people like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Sumner visited this house. I don't know why, but the power of poetry, be it spoken or written, has always given me goosebumps and it didn't change when the tour guide recited some poetry to the group. I was very calmed and interested in this house. Almost everything in there is from the time the Longfellows stayed. They were about 200 hundred years old. I couldn't believe how beautiful the furniture is and how big the house is. the house had nice busts, paintings, clocks, and books. 
A bust from the Longfellow house.
The study of Henry Longfellow where he wrote standing up.
The lovely dining room of the Longfellows.
After our tour, my cohort and I decided that we wanted seafood. I was excited because Cambridge is right outside if Boston and Boston supposedly has excellent lobster. We decided on a place called Legal Seafood. We had to take the subway there, but we had some problems with the map. A kind lady helped us with the map. Again, another shocker because in the Bay Area people normally wouldn't willingly come to you and help a confused tourist with the BART map without being asked. Another reason this act of kindness shocked me was because I expected people on the East Coast to be a much more cold because that is the reputation that many New Yorkers are rumored to have. This restaurant was not a disappointment. Legal Seafood is said to have the best seafood in Boston and I was delighted. Josh, Eric, and I had the lobster and filet, Liam had the scallion, and Ms. Tracey had the seafood casserole. I was very pleased with my choice. The steak was good, the butter gave it a nice salty flavor and it was cooked how I wanted it, but the thing that blew me away had to be the lobster. It was absolutely delicious. It was fresh, it was soft, and it was whole lobster. I was kind of hesitant because I don't like to crack all the bones or work too hard to get my food into my mouth, but the meat came out without much work. I didn't have to use the shell cracker at all.
My lobster and filet at Legal Seafood.
After our early dinner, we started walking back to the station to board the Amtrak. After the train ride back home. We planned to wake up at 8:30 AM tomorrow and prepare for our tour for Brown. I can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Damian. You look like such a tourist with that bib on.

    Sounds like the sight seeing tour of Harvard was fun but it doesn’t sound like it even resembled any kind of tour that might entice you to apply.

    You owe it to yourself to read some of the blogs from last year where we had a VERY large group of ILCers that had made reservations for an informational session and tour only to be denied once we got there. They told us about a new rule they had that disallowed tours for people not related to each other.

    The worst part about it all was the arrogant and condescending tone expressed not only by the admissions officer (who pulled up a chair and sat under cover while our ILCers had to stand--out on the rain--while he talked. Even the two students that were assisting him came across as arrogant and condescending. If you think my words seem harsh, trust me when I tell you that I’m being polite in describing these people.

    Afterwards, when some of our local alums let them know just offended we all were, that admissions officer sent us a letter of apology. The problem was that he still came across as arrogant and condescending and we never could find in that letter where he sounded the least bit apologetic.

    Yeah, Harvard may be a nice school and some great people have attended Harvard over the centuries but right now they’re not a place where I would ever consider advising any of our students to apply. I even have friends who graduated from Harvard and one of our ILCers--Terilyn Chen--attends Harvard right now. As it stands now I would out Harvard right up next to UCLA on my list of least favorite schools and you know how much--as a Cal man--I despise UCLA. :-)