Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First impressions of Boston

We returned a week ago, but I've been so busy reading six months' worth of mail, catching up with friends and family, riding my bike and putting stuff away that I haven't managed to write a word all week long.

My first bike ride here proved to be a bit of an eye-opener. As I rode through Boston and Cambridge, I saw people of all colors and styles; Asian, Indian, African, Russian and who-knows-whatian. In Belarus the great preponderance of faces all look pretty similar to each other. Here, variety is pretty much the norm, and I really enjoy that.

I rushed off to the local gourmet grocery store to load up on vegetables I hadn't seen in a few months. In particular, I wanted to eat asparagus and artichokes. I also enjoyed chard, Hass avocados, peas in the pod, lots of fresh corn, shallots, and numerous sights and smells. Yes, we can buy everything here; but it's breathtakingly expensive unless we go downtown on the weekend to buy poor-quality stuff at the open-air market.

I reflected on my willingness to buy expensive produce here in Boston. If you want vegetables, high prices are pretty much just the way it is. In Minsk, as I've already complained, almost everybody sells the same small selection of vegetables, at prices far below the norm for Boston. I am aware of at least one stand at the central market place that features exotic imported produce, and I've never shopped there because I considered their prices outrageous in comparison to "normal" Belarusian prices. Then I complained about my inability to find the variety I wanted. I guess I'd better check out the folks at the fancy stall next time I'm there. I know they have exotic fruits, and if they have exotic vegetables as well I think I'm finally willing to consider paying their prices.

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