Saturday, June 28, 2014

Easy trip

I swing by San Francisco on my way to Minsk. It gave me a chance to see Johnny and Meredith, Nika and Tim, and then attend a meeting yesterday. I shot through like a skyrocket, basically seeing one couple on Thursday and the other on Friday. The meeting lasted all day on Saturday, and I worried about arriving at the airport on time to catch my flight.

I shouldn't have worried. Getting to the airport took about half as long as I imagined, so I stopped at a Japanese restaurant when I got there and ate a bowl of delicious noodle soup.

I got a break when I got onto the airplane too. Facing a ten-hour flight in a window seat, I became alarmed when I saw how little legroom United gave me in a three-seat row. I hoped that my seatmates would be skinny midgets, but I got a strapping guy with long legs. At least he was friendly. Very friendly. He spoke English with a hint of an accent, reminding me of a friend in Minsk, so I asked him where he was from. He said Israel, so I figured he had a Hebrew accent and I'd been mistaken.

I told him that I'm Steve. He replied that his name was very difficult and hard to pronounce. I urged him on. "I'm Dima," he said.

"Дима," I replied. "Я тоже говорю по-русски. (I also speak Russian.)"

Dima looked incredulous. "Steve?" He asked. I nodded yes. "Are you American?" And off we went. He was a great companion, and we both enjoyed the fact that we had nobody in the middle seat between us.

We got to Frankfurt early and I discovered that I'd shared the plane as well with a Lindy hopper from Minsk, Vanya, who had been in San Francisco on business. We're waiting together right now for our plane to Minsk, and he thinks he might have space in his company's car to give me a ride from the airport. It's been an extraordinarily easy trip. Maybe I'll even get home in time to buy some groceries before the store closes.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pictures worth a thousand words

We got our chimney rebuilt. I really liked the Brazilian guys who came to build it.

We keep going to the Arboretum because it's so pretty.

This time we stopped at the Kelleher Rose Garden on our way to the Arboretum.

We still made time to stop for lunch at Kamado Restaurant in Jamaica Plain. We love that place.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Excursion to Salem

Alla and I decided to go up to Salem to spend an afternoon at the Peabody Essex Museum and generally act like tourists. We took the train up there, lingered over lunch, and then discovered that the museum closed earlier than we thought, so we had 90 minutes to stay. We made the most of it. In that short interval, we visited three exhibits and felt like we’d already made our trip worthwhile. Since we didn’t know anywhere in particular to eat dinner nearby, we decided to take an early train back home and eat in Boston’s North End neighborhood.

We didn’t make it home right away, however, because I found a nice new iPhone on the sidewalk. I got the impression it might belong to the car parked beside it with a significant amount of cash spilling out of the ash tray. I figured anybody casual enough to leave a bunch of money in plain view might be scatterbrained enough to get out of the car with a phone in his or her lap. Conveniently, the screen wasn’t locked on the phone so I started calling the most-recently-dialed numbers in the call log. I learned the phone owner’s name and that she had come to Massachusetts with her boyfriend. I also learned the boyfriend’s name and phone number, so I tried a few times to call him. Most of the numbers I called, including the boyfriend, went unanswered. Perhaps everybody was in one place, maybe even at the wedding in the hotel across the street.

We went into the hotel to look for a scatter-brained phone dropper. Could it have been the couple making out on the sofa in the lobby? I didn’t want to interrupt them in order to find out, so I called the boyfriend’s phone again and left him a message explaining that I’d leave the phone at the front desk of the hotel.

The whole procedure took long enough that we missed our train, so we went out and found a nice-looking Indian restaurant for dinner. That worked out VERY well, since we loved our dinner and managed to coordinate our timing so that we could catch the last ferry from Salem back to Boston. We liked the boat a lot more than the train, though we do like the train too. Anyway, we had a really good time in Salem and we heard from the boyfriend as we sailed home: they got the phone and we got the improved evening.