In Boston, we moved to a famous old hotel called the Omni Parker Hotel. It is where John F Kennedy proposed to Jaquie and where Ho CHi Minh once worked as a bellboy. I have seen a few Vietnam Veterans in the streets. They are easily discernible through the black caps they wear with the words Vietnam Vet and with their ribbon colours. I have said hello to all that I have seen and there seems to be quite a bond between us with all of them ready for a chat and a conversation about our different war experiences.
Yesterday, we managed to get on the Duck Tour and drove around Boston (along with an amphibious section along the Charles River). Our driver’s name was ‘Cowgirl’ She was an excellent Duck driver and carried a banana in her gun holster. She had a great store of stories about Boston and its attractions. None of which were exaggerated – well, at least not by much!
Just up the road from our hotel was an old graveyard. It contained many graves of revolutionary figures such as Paul Revere. Others were people, whose names are not familiar to me, but we’re signatories of the Declaration of Independence. In one of the graves, was buried a woman named Mary Goose – the original ‘Mother Goose’. She had ten children! I have always thought of America as being a young country like Australia bit some of the buildings here were erected in the early 1600’s – 150 years or so before Australia was first settled.
We have now joined our Trafalgar tour to New England and this is the first time that we have travelled with a mainly American tour group. Most people are of our age although some are quite a bit older. There are two other Australian couples.
There are some obvious differences between this tour and others we have done. Firstly, the women seem to be much more alert and more sprightly than do the men. The men seem to ask silly questions such as “What did that sign say?” or “Just where in Europe is Australia?”
The name of our Tour Director is Al, and he comes from Georgia. He talks in something of a southern drawl and I don’t know whether Americans are dumb or not, but the second difference is that he explains everything so profusely and in excessive detail. There was one form that we had to fill in and he explained how to fill in every field even though they required simple details such as names and optional choice of tour activities. For some reason, perhaps it is a form of politeness and helpfulness, he explains almost everything two or three times and in different ways. He even had to explain what he meant as he used the clock as a reference method for pointing out points of interest. How many people would not know that 12 o’clock is straight ahead?
It has been raining for most of the day. Our first stop was for a toilet break at a lighthouse. Al gave us this wonderful description of the beauty of the lighthouse, except we could barely see it for the rain. The weather actually made it easy for him as people didn’t want to walk very far from the coach and his crowd control was relatively simple.
Lunch was at a cute little town called Kennebunkport. This is in the middle of ‘lobster country’ and virtually every restaurant sold lobster and crab dishes. At a point just out of town is the Bush enclave were George Bush has his vacation house. It is an enormous residence with a separate guest house and space for his security people to stay. Apparently he has a favourite restaurant where he and Mrs Bush go to eat Lobster.
We are already seeing some Autumn colours – the purpose of our tour . Many of the trees are red / gold and we expect the colours to become more vivid as we go further.