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Humplings and dumplings

Friends had free whale watching tickets, so I went on a 3-4 hour cruise with them. Don't think I'd ever seen live whales before... maybe off the Frosh Camp boat to Catalina? Or on some geology field trip? Obviously didn't stick in my memory if I did. We went over an hour going out on a fast catamaran -- my GPS tracker said we were going 47 km/hour, which is pretty fast for a boat. Friend had tickets as compensation, for an earlier trip that had seen no whales. We saw whales. Ended up in the midst of a bunch of humpbacks and maybe minke. Star of the show was a humpback that kept breaching over and over. It'd be nice to think it was playing or showing off, less nice to think it might have been extra irritated by barnacles. We don't really know why the breach. But it's impressive. Did lots of fluke-showing dives, apparently not very deep dives since it kept coming up! Also saw a mother and calf. Some whale behind us kept waving its pectoral at us, slapping the water.


Bsoton: frigging hot. 30 miles out on the water: nice temperature. Really windy, though. Seasickness: none. But my legs got a workout from 'surfing', balancing on the top deck while not holding onto stuff. Mitchell compared it to an elliptical machine in 2D. Surprisingly tiring.

But that and wearing jeans and hauling a jacket around (I hadn't known how cold it'd be, I came prepared) didn't keep me from exploring Boston more once we got back. It may have been over a month since I was last in the city. Walked down the Greenway a bit, then found myself attracted to some giant shell-like entrance to what turned out to be Rowes Wharf Walkway. Not doing that well, a bunch of available office space. But looked nice, and to the south I found an unexpected bridge, which I took naturally, leading to the courthouse and a modest botanical garden, and signs about Fan Pier and the cleanup of Boston Harbor[1]. Further walking led me to the Westin Waterfront, turning my intrepid exploration into something that felt rather mundane. Unfair; not like I'd been in that particular area before, but I'd imagined I'd found a bigger area of novelty.

I'd meant to try out Vietnamese in Chinatown, but decided to look at the Hei La Moon dinner menu, and my legs said "stay". The dinner menu looks unexciting, though some of the food on tables looked more so. But even more exciting were trays of dim sum, so I asked, and yep there's a dim sum menu and they'll make it fresh for you.


The waiter was honest. "Just you? That's a lot of food." "I know. I'll just take the rest home." 15+ pieces got eaten, 9 made it home. I should have eaten less.

I'd grabbed Niven's Limits as a lightweight short story collection to read on the boat if needed. "Lion in the Attic" is pretty good, "A Teardrop Falls" (berserker story) is good, "Spirals" (manly men and women colonize space despite the downers of Earth) is ehhh. I probably liked it when younger, but now the misanthropy gets to me. Also the dubious economics. Not impossible economics; Zimbabwe basically did what he describes the US as doing. But still. I did note part of the problem was a tax revolt, and part of the solution was Americans paying their taxes again...

[1] When Ehrenhalt talked about Chicago's recovery in The Great Inversion, one factor mentioned was old effort to clean up Lake Michigan, or at least stop contributing to it. Chicago has a nice shoreline now, one rich people are willing to pay to see. And beaches are safe to swim off of; they might have been as a kid too, though the lake was surprisingly out-of-mind for being about 4 miles from it. By contrast, other Great Lakes are still industrial dumps, which probably doesn't help e.g. Buffalo or Detroit. So, I've moved to Boston, conveniently after considerable effort to clean *it* up, with proper water treatment plants rather than dumping stuff into the harbor...

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Damien Sullivan

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