I went down to Boston on Saturday with my sister, Wendy, my niece Jupiter and my young padawan, Omar. Our primary objective was to go to the Museum of Science to take in the Harry Potter exhibit. We also planned to go to Quincy Market because how to do go to Boston and not go to Quincy Market, and then, time permitting, my new favorite haunt, Mike's Pastry.
I met them in Portsmouth where we left my car for the day and I jumped into the backseat with Jupiter. We cruised on down to the T station and boarded the green line for Government Center. I was picking on Omar just a little bit (don't believe him when he tells you that I was merciless. He can't be trusted.) during the trip. This prompted him to tell me that he had a headache. One he picked up in Portsmouth.
This made me laugh.
Once we got to Government Center, we were going to change trains to go to Science Park but Jupiter really needed to use the bathroom so we went to Quincy Market early. On the way, Omar and I amused ourselves by daring each other to go and press our faces up against the big floor to ceiling windows at the gym (Planet Fitness, maybe?) near Government Center. I double dog dared Omar and he hung his head and said, "I'll be right back."
It was then Wendy realized that she had, in fact, brought three kids to Boston that day.
We took a slightly roundabout route to the museum of science which was all right because it was fairly warm for a February day in New England and Jupiter needed to run out some of her energy anyway. On the way, I had a conversation with Jupiter about how she doesn't care for Regis Philbin. She doesn't like Kelly Ripa either. Sorry Regis and Kelly, I know you'll be crushed.
The museum was crowded but that was to be expected on a Saturday during February vacation week. Right in the entrance hall, they had the knight's horse from the giant wizard's chess game from the first movie. You know, the one Ron rides. Of course, they had it roped off so people couldn't climb on it. Omar and I immediately began scheming how we could distract all museum officials long enough to (a) climb onto the horse's back and (b) take a picture of us on the horse's back. Unfortunately, our planning was futile. Wendy retrieved our tickets from the kiosk which included admittance to the regular exhibit halls. Since we had some time to kill before our Harry Potter entrance time, we went in search of the live animal exhibits.
Jupiter, with her mother in tow, cruised through the exhibits. Omar and I took a more leisurely approach.
They had little baby chicks, freshly hatched. One was still wet, he was so newly born. Omar and I watched him peck at a jar of water, trying to figure out how come nothing was happening.
Next, we went to the monkey room where there were three monkeys, a dad and his two kids, one boy and one girl. I forget what kind of monkeys they were but they're an endangered species located out of Colombia. The father was 11 years old. The daughter was 6 and the son was 5. They eat canned monkey food. See kids, the science museum is educational. I had no idea there was even such a thing as canned monkey food.
Adjacent to the monkey room was a woman sitting at a table dissecting an eye. Yes, an actual eye. It came a sheep. Jupiter, we found out later, was fascinated by this. Omar didn't remember seeing it at all which was my bad because as soon as I noticed what the woman was doing, I steered us both in the opposite direction.
We totally lost Wendy and Jupiter so we meandered through exhibits looking for them. On our way, we visited the history of computing wing where we mastered the old time calculator thing. I had a little trouble with the coded message sender because it was set up like an iPod Touch and I am incapable of properly working an iPod Touch. I maintain this is because the product sucks. Omar would like to go on record as disagreeing with me.
After we left the computer hall, Wendy called my cell.
"Where are you?" she asked.
"Oh, we got kicked out," I said. "See, Omar dared me to steal one of the monkeys and I couldn't just not do it so I was shoving him into my backpack- the monkey, not Omar- and the museum people kind of noticed and yeah, they kicked us out."
"Uh huh," Wendy said. "So where are you?"
"We're down by the 'science in the park' exhibit," I said.
Eventually, we killed enough time and were able to go to the Harry Potter exhibit. If you're a true Harry Potter fan and this exhibit comes anywhere near you, I highly recommend you go because it's just damn cool. They have actual costumes worn by the characters (Snape's costume as worn by the completely amazing Alan Rickman! Harry Potter's casual clothes from all the films! Hermione's Yule Ball gown!), props (the boys' dorm room, Gilderoy Lockhart's portraits, Dolores Umbridge's office (complete with kitten plates), the board from the Gryffindor common room (complete with notices) and so much more.
There was a section devoted to Quidditch where quidditch uniforms were on display. Harry's Nimbus 2000 and the Golden snitch were also around. There was an exhibit within the exhibit where one could try throwing a quaffle through one of three hoops. Jupiter and Wendy managed this task well. Omar and I had a little more trouble.
He picked up a quaffle (surprising heavy and well crafted, by the way) and aimed at one of the hoops. The quaffle ricocheted off the hoop and hit some little kid in the head. I told him he really shouldn't do that.
"Try it like this," I said.
Then I picked up a quaffle and aimed at one of the hoops. The quaffle ricocheted off the hoop and hit some little kid in the head.
"Or not," I said then.
I think the Quidditch attendant was pleased when we finally moved on.
We went to Hagrid's hut and sat in his chair. It was so big that Big the Big Brave German Shepherd could have fit nicely inside. On the other side of the hut was the Forbidden forest, complete with big frakking spider. Omar would tell you that I threw him in the path between me and the spider while screaming like a little girl but it's untrue. Really. Also in the forbidden forest was the Hungarian Horntail dragon and a couple of centaurs. I really, really wanted Omar to stick his head in the dragon's mouth so I could take a picture of it but they have this whole big rule about not touching anything and another rule about not taking any pictures.
After the forbidden forest, we went into the section devoted to the dark side of Harry Potter. There was a wax statue of petrified Colin Creevy and his camera. The wax statue was creepy. We'd gone to the Lord of the Rings exhibit a few years back and they had a wax statue of Sean Bean who played Boromir, lying in the canoe they send him over the falls in after he dies. The wax figure was so realistic that we spent so much time just staring at it, wondering if they really didn't just pay Sean Bean to come and lie in that canoe. Well, the Colin statue was the same kind of thing.
There were framed pages from the Daily Prophet on the walls and Omar and I spent a lot of time staring at them, trying to read them. The headlines were in English as was the smaller type below but the type that formed the actual article was something weird. Every now and then, you could make out a word of two but the other words were...weird. I don't know what they were but Omar and I were determined to break the code. I really wish I could have taken a picture of it and blown it up because I'm sure it was something cool and I wanted to know what.
My will to follow the rules involving touching was sorely tested when we came upon the robes worn by Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They just looked so damn cool and had been set up so a slight breeze made them flutter and I wanted. to. touch. them.
I didn't. But barely.
They had the proclamations on the wall (from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and the Bloody Baron's outfit. They had food from the various feasts and an O.W.L. exam. This was, I thought, particularly interesting because the questions were all real. I am sad to admit, however, that I did not know the answer to all the questions. We saw Fred and George Weasley's school uniforms and Fawkes the phoenix. Dobby and Kreacher were there too. The formal robes worn by Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were also on hand. When I saw them, I did a faux faint and said in a Gone With The Wind accent, "Oh my God!!! Edward Cullen wore those!" Omar pretended not to know who Edward Cullen was.
Eventually, we made it to the gift shop where they were selling vastly overpriced Harry Potter merchandise. I was tempted by a couple of the tee shirts but they were thirty dollars and that was just too much. We left empty handed.
We left the museum after that and headed back to Quincy Market. Wendy took Jupiter to McDonald's to get her a hamburger and Omar and I went into the rotunda to see if we could score a table. It took a while, as it generally does at Quincy Market. We found seats on a bench and waited. I was watching two old ladies at a corner table that seemed to be finishing up. While I was doing do, another couple sitting at a nearby table caught my eye and motioned they were leaving. So we gladly took their table and sat and waited with all of our no food, garnering a plethora of judgmental looks from passers-by looking for a flat surface on which to eat their lunch.
"How do you do that?" Omar asked as we waited. "If I was here by myself, no one would offer me their table!"
Omar has a theory that people only talk to him when I'm near by. Because I'm such an obvious people person. But since I never met a riff I didn't like, by the time Wendy and Lina had rejoined us, the quest for a table went something like this:
So, I'm just sitting here on my bench, waiting, when, all of a sudden, these people just start coming up to me, wanting to know if I needed a table.
"Do you need a table?" they asked. "Because we'll get you a table."
Then Omar said, "I could use a table" only to be told
"No, not you. We don't care if you have a table. We meant her. Does she need a table. How long have you been sitting there anyway?"
Shortly after Wendy and Jupiter's arrival, Jupiter decided she needed to go to the bathroom so Wendy took her and then Omar and I sat at our table with a hamburger happy meal which neither of us was eating. This garnered us more looks.
Eventually, the adults got to eat too. I had macaroni and cheese pie with a side of cornbread. Omar had some Indian food he claimed was chicken and Wendy had Thai food which purportedly contained both chicken and eggs. I didn't look that closely.
We went up to Mike's Pasty afterward and waited in the longest line I've ever seen at Mike's Pastry to buy cookies and cannoli and (in my case), giant fudge brownies. We found our way back to Government Center and took the green line back to the car. Jupiter and I amused ourselves by looking at the moon through the moon roof and talking about what it looked like. A hat, a bowl, a viking ship (that one was Jupiter), a fingernail, and so on and so forth. Jupiter eventually told me how the moon was made from cheese. She then decided it was made from whipped cream and one day, when she traveled to the moon, she was going to take a scoop of moon and eat it.
That'll make one hell of a trip diary. I can't wait to write it.