a walk in Cambridge

This afternoon I decided to go for a walk, despite the fact that it was hot and humid. B. and I had been watching the beginning of the Red Sox-Yankees game, but then B. had to head to the airport to fly back to SF. And it felt strange to be still sitting in the apartment watching the game without him. So I didn’t.
I thought it might be cooler near the river, so I headed out of Central Square, toward the Charles. It’s about a 15 minute walk down Magazine Street to reach the river. I’d never actually walked it before, and I wanted to see how long it took. The sun was hot and the humidity made the air look misty. As I neared the river I passed a huge Whole Foods store. There’s a Whole Foods a block or so from my apartment, but it’s much smaller. At Memorial Drive I turned left and got on the walking path that follows the river for the length of Cambridge. It’s always surprising to me when I discover where I am along the river. I always assume that downtown Boston, the Common, etc. should be directly across from my section of Cambridge, but in actuality, they are not. In fact much of Cambridge is across the river from Brookline, not Boston. At least I think so. The geography here confuses me tremendously. I have been trying to walk more, now that it’s warm, to figure out where things are in relation to each other.
Anyway, I walked for a while along the river. It wasn’t actually cooler or breezier and the path was in full sun. Some kayakers passed me on the river, and I envied their ability to cool off in the water when necessary. Soon I reached a Trader Joes, off to the right. I love Trader Joes, so I crossed Memorial and went inside. I wanted to buy some things, but as I only had a few dollars on me and a long walk back to my apartment, I didn’t. It was nice to get into the air-conditioning for a while, however.
Back on along Memorial Drive, I passed a sad little farmer’s market, with just a few carts of veggies and fruit for sale. On the other side of the road, a pool, I think a public one, because there were a lot of kids splashing and screaming.
Further on, after I crossed Brookline Street and some railroad tracks, the path rose over a small hill. On the descent the river seemed to widen, and a cool breeze picked up. I was sweating and could feel my hands and feet swelling in the heat. A number of bikers passed me and I wished I had a bike to speed off on.
The blocky grey buildings of Boston U. rose on the other side of the river. When I first came to Boston I was so suprised by the urbanness of BU. On my left, scattered MIT dorms popped up.
Soon, across the river I saw the famous Citgo sign, and the lights of Fenway Park. If it wasn’t for the traffic on Memorial Ave. and 93 across the river, I am sure I would have heard the fans at the game.
I followed the path past more MIT buildings, including the boathouse. I expected to see a lot of students taking out the little sailboats that seem to be ubiquitous this time of year, but there were none. Finally the brick and brownstone of Boston’s Back Bay appeared to my right, along with the skyline ahead. It’s a nice view of Boston, and makes the city looks very European, prettier than it really is.
Finally I hit Mass Ave., and since I was thirsty and needed to use a bathroom I turned left, thinking that I would cut through MIT’s campus to reach the Kendall Square T stop, where there’s a bookstore and a few cafes. But as I walked down Mass Ave., past imposing stone laboratories and thick oak trees, I noticed up ahead a brick building with a Novartis logo on it. A building that I see from the other direction every time I go grocery shopping. I was closer to my own neighborhood than I had thought.
I continued along the right side of the street, and the heat of the asphalt in the full sun started to hit me. I thought about how I would need to take another shower when I got home. I passed a Korean grocery that I have been meaning to explore but couldn’t stop.
Finally I passed my neighborhood McDonalds, where I stopped to use the bathroom and bought a lemonade and a soft serve cone, which made me feel 100 times better. It’s easy to overcome the heat when there’s ice cream (or at least fake ice cream) involved. Soon I had traversed the last few blocks back to my apartment and air conditioning. I had been gone an hour and a half. In my absence the Yankees had scored 6 runs, the Red Sox, 4.


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