Walden and Boston

Panorama of Boston by Zemar Ahadzada

It has been a while since I wrote my last post and so I would like to pick up on my experience in Boston. Like my last few trips  I was limited to a weekend to explore a new place and learn as much as I can with the small amount of time I had. I believe this is possible in Boston where there is so many things to see. I remember asking a lady about Boston and she told me that “Boston is an interesting city,” which I found to be extremly true.

I went to Boston because I was always interested in seeing the city. There is so many cultural and pop references to Boston that I was curious to see what the city was like. There is a lot of history that I wanted to explore and I thought a trip to Boston would provide a better context of that culture and history from one of America’s great cities. This was my main motive to travel to Boston and I hope to share some of the highlights from this trip. Hope you all enjoy!

Walden

My first stop had to be Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. I know! It’s not Boston, but it’s close to it. It was where Thoreau, someone who I have referenced in some of my previous blogs, came to find solitude and write his experience of living in the woods. However, it was much more than that and his purpose was to reawaken and transcend towards a natural and spiritual dimension that I thought was missing. I thought it would a perfect place to explore and to get a better background on Thoreau’s book, Walden. It was my own mini pilgrimage. The following is my experience at the pond.

I arrived at Walden during a chilly November morning. The sun was rising from the east and rose over the autumn trees whose leaves hung on arduosly in order for me to see them in all its wonder and glory. I was surprised to see the leaves still on the trees. The leaves were in hues of red and orange and was reflected precisely by the clear Walden Pond, which was like a gem. The light bounced through the pristine pond and sparkled like sapphire where it was deepest and emerald where it was shallow. It was as if I were looking through an iris. I felt as if I were looking deep into nature and consequently myself. The phrase by Thoreau “the earth’s eye, looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature,”couldn’t be more true when referencing Walden Pond. I would have enjoyed staying at the Pond longer, but I was short in time and I had to make my way to Boston.

Walden

Walden Pond Water

Boston

Boston is concentrated with tall skyscrapers looking over the harbor. Boston is a spectrum of different colors, which ranged from the warm red colors of the tall buildings against the cool colors of the sky and harbor. Boston was indeed chilly, but the warmth of the city provided us some life, which was seen from the buzz of the city. Boston is a time piece, which displays the past and present in front of the eyes. The jewels of the past are immersed with some of the modern inventions, which make it an historic city.

Boston has so many streets and avenues to explore that it is impossible to become bored. It is an enormous city and is filled with many specialty districts. There is the waterfront, the historic district, business district, Newbury Street (Shopping district), the theatre district. Additionally, there is a Little Italy and a China Town, which displays Boston’s diversity. This variety and diversity makes it difficult to see everything in such a short time, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. The following were three things that I loved about Boston…

Fenway Park:

Ahhh, Fenway is a gem in Boston. It is no wonder that Fenway park is one of the last two jewel park stadiums in existence. The other one is Wrigley field, which I hope to visit one day. I was able to get a tour, but because it was the offseason I wasn’t able to catch a game, which will be my excuse to come back to Boston. Fenway park is much more then a baseball stadium because of the history and culture that comes with it. It is referenced frequently, especially when making movies in Boston. For example, It is referenced in The Field of Dreams, Good Will Hunting, Fever Pitch, The Town, and Ted to name a few. Needless to say, there is a lot of history and stories to tell about Fenway Park and so it definitely was one of my favorite places in Boston. The tour itself was 17 dollars for adults (13 for students) and provides a lot of that historical and cultural context that I was trying to explain.

Fenway Park

Cambridge

Harvard was one place I was excited to visit. It is an old college town with old buildings and older traditions. The Harvard name carries a lot of prestigious weight and grandeur that it was nice to finally see it all in person and see what it was all about. Overall, it was a quite campus, but perhaps that may have been because we went on a Sunday. I also missed my opportunity to eat at Mr. Bartley’s Burgers (referenced in The Social Network) for that same reason. It is suppose to have the best burgers in the country. Another excuse to visit Boston, again! I particularly enjoyed walking through Harvard Yard, which is surrounded by an old-Boston architecture (don’t know what the real architectural name for it is). I also walked by some of the old cobbled-brick churches and walked down the promenade, next to the Charles River as row boats made their way down the river passed the setting sun.

Harvard St

Promenade

Promenade

Some of the Old-Boston Architecture!

Boston City

This is kind of a cheat, but I was hoping to reference the Freedom Trail, which is a great way to explore Boston in a short 2.6 mile walk that spans through most of Boston and provides a historical and cultural background to the city for avid know-it-alls and historians. It starts from Boston Common, a park that sits next to the Massachusetts State House, and ends up to the monument of Bunker Hill. In between, I was able to explore the Navy Yard, which illustrates the history of ship building and has a nice tour of the USS Constitution. Further south, I passed the Old Church and Paul Reveres Home. The roads were cobbled, which gave it an old feel. Further south, there was Fanueil Market, the Old State House, the Kings Chapel, and finally Boston Common. The park was particularly enjoyable because it is just a nice place to kick back and watch people having a good time against the facade of tall skyscrapers in the back.

It's Historical! Blend of old and new!

It’s Historical! Blend of old and new!

State House!

State House!

I hope all those visiting Boston have a fun time. It is truly an enjoyable city!

Till next time!

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Miami

Panorama

Panorama of Ocean Drive by Zemar Ahadzada

It was monday before Labor Day and the holiday was quickly approaching. Naturally, my friends and I were trying to find something to do during the three day weekend. Originally, we were planning to drive down to the Outer Banks, but we couldn’t get enough people to make it happen. Jeremy looked up airfare for every city in the United States and found the cheapest to be to Miami through Tampa (from Washington DC). He told me about his plan on Wednesday and I purchased the tickets on Thursday.

After work, on Friday, I headed to my friend’s home who was kind enough to take me to Ronald Reagan National Airport. I had to change from my scrubs to something more acceptable. When I arrived, I found Jeremy and Kush waiting for me. Kush was going over things he wanted to do in Miami.  Eventually, we boarded the airplane and waited for take off. The plane started down the runway, the turbines began to create thrust, the airplane began to generate lift, and we made our way up the sky towards Tampa.

The flight was a little over two hours and we arrived at eight in the evening. We were welcomed to the hot temperatures, humidity, and coconut trees that line itself systematically along the roads, which one can expect when travelling to Florida. Madhav arrived a few hours later, having come from Dallas, and met up at our hotel with a rental Jeep. We were ready to hit the roads the next morning, but I needed to get some sleep. Jeremy and Madhav explored Tampa during the midnight hours and made me wish I had gone with them.

The next day we hit the road towards Miami in the morning. We went south towards Naples, where the roads were surprisingly smooth and empty. We passed by more coconut trees and blue skies and eventually made a quick stop at Naples, which was quite, scenic, and serene. From there we headed east towards Miami where we passed through the everglades, which retain heat and keep Miami warm and humid. The ride was roughly four to five hours and we arrived in Miami around two in the afternoon. 

When we arrived at our rental home, which was half a mile out from South Beach, we tried to settle ourselves,  find who was sleeping where, and find out the plan for the day. Of course, it was obvious that we would go to the beach and party at night…

Ahh… Miami! It is an incredibly energetic and seductive city that I really hope to visit again. The atmosphere is very different from most U.S. Cities and I had to convince myself that I was still in Florida. The city is filled with scenic beaches, an exciting party scene, and a very unique demographic.  It is an ideal spot for any three day weekend and it is very possible to stay longer and still enjoy. 

I’ve already mentioned it earlier, but let me explain three things that make Miami what it is. This list is not exclusive, but rather, my experience of Miami. There are so many other things that make Miami very multi-dimensional and less stereotypical than I am about to describe it as. However, I do believe these are some important things that Miami has to offer.

 The Beaches

Collage 1

Pictures taken by Kush Sareen (Instagram: ksareen23)

I believe this goes without saying, but the beach is an iconic destination of Florida. The scenery is amazing! Miami has an aquamarine-tinted shore that stretches towards the horizon. The currents bring the warm currents from the Gulf, which crashes along the shoreline. There is the occasional 2 PM shower that brings relief from the humidity. The white sand stretches along the Miami’s shoreline while it’s iconic coconut trees line up behind it. Further behind, there is a nice park and a nice selection of restaurants, bars, and clubs.

My friends and I visited South Beach, which had just that. I stayed most of my time in the warm water, which is a unique experience away from the cold ocean water that I am normally used to. The water is shallow and I was able to walk far away from the shoreline although I was very conscious that there could be sharks the further I went. The waves were strong and choppy and I wish I could have done some surfing, but I will wait to do that on another vacation. 

Another past time of the beach is to lay around and bathe in the sun. The sun is heavenly, at least for me! The heat comfortably warmed my back and brought warmth and happiness to my soul. Although, I applied sunscreen, I was still a bit sunburnt against the back – so be careful and apply a lot of sunscreen. I walked along the beach catching the white foam hitting against the white sand and carrying it back into the ocean. It is also hard not to notice all the nice bodies that are roaming about.

The Party Scene

clubbing

Pictures taken by Kush Sareen (Instagram: ksareen23)

I must admit that I am not very into the party scene, but if there was any place to go clubbing it would be Miami. It was almost like a music video with lamborghinis rolling in the club, women in bikinis dancing, a random beach ball bouncing in the air, the DJ is dropping a jam, colored lights electrifying the sky, and everyone is having a good time. Okay, so that example may have been a little exaggerated, but it is very close to it.

Many of the clubs lie on Ocean Drive. Although, these clubs are described as touristy I feel that they are still worth visiting and are exciting. However, if one were interested to go clubbing with the locals one could go to downtown Miami or Fort Lauderdale. That being said, I do want to describe my experience at the two clubs that I visited.

The first one was Nikki Beach, which had a cover charge of thirty dollars. The drinks were expensive and I had to pay eight dollars for a red bull to keep me awake. Overall, the club had a very chill and tropical feel to it. It is situated right on the beach and it is decorated with a cabana, day beds, and tiki-bars, which make it more of a beach club or lounge than a regular club. I spent most of the time drinking red bull in one of the chairs under the cabana. There is also a dance floor with music that will leave your ears ringing until the next morning.

During our second night, we went to The Clevelander, which is situated in the heart of ocean drive. The club was very similar to the music video I described. At the center was the DJ, rhythmic colors were displayed behind him, go-go girls danced beside him, the people danced in front of him. The dance floor was electric, energy flowed throughout the club, and the night lit up with music and colors. Up above, on the top floor the Clevelander had a lounge where people could drink, mingle, and have a good time. However, much of the excitement was down below where the music would play until five in the morning, but we cut it short because we had a plane to catch and so we left at two in the morning.

Overall, the night was great and I had a great club experience. I would definitely say it is a nice place to visit, especially if one wants to get the full Miami Vibe.

The People and the Atmosphere

atmosphere

Walk on the beach (left) and Motorcycles on Ocean Drive (Right) by Zemar Ahadzada

Although Miami is small geographically it makes it up with a large population of up to 5.5 Million people. It is, therefore, no wonder that Miami is very diverse and unique demographically.

What I found was that the people loved to show off their bodies, drive down ocean drive with their fancy cars, and love the material high life. If they aren’t movie stars, athletes, or models – they want to be. I feel like I have seen Miami a hundred times in movies and music videos. It is the good life! The place is almost superficial, but, I believe those qualities make Miami the seductive, luxurious, and glamorous city that it is.

Another important dimension of Miami is the large hispanic population that make up Miami. A large percentage are Cubans who have left Cuba due to the political situation. The hispanic population bring a unique flavor, a latin flare, that makes Miami alive with their music, dancing, art, and cuisine. We were fortunate to visit Little Havana, which embodies that culture and is a good place to visit in Miami.

There are also the beach-bums (not really bums) but I know they love the beach. This is evident by their unique orange sun-kissed skin and their long and salty hair and beard. They have a wild, yet laid back demeanor, and have a good time at the beach.

Overall, the population of Miami is very diverse and multidimensional city, whether it is living the high life, following the latin flare, or flowing with the waves, Miami is the place to be.