One TRIP to the East Coast

Day 1-June 24:

So I fly back from Playa Del Carmen after a week of wonderful vacation in a paradise. First stop is Newark Airport in New Jersey. I have been told (quoting Duygu) that people on the East Coast are meaner than in LA, but they are real. This wasn’t in my mind at the time. So I have 3 hours of layover in Newark and cannot catch an early plane. I settle at a coffeeshop to read or check email and I meet a fellow salsera. She had dropped off a friend and was getting sober in the airport (they had some drinks before the friend took off). This is 5pm in the afternoon (sunday afternoon buzz is the best). So we chit chat…I got to practice my newly acquired and seasoned spanish. I never stop being amazed how many people love to dance…dance is soo universal. After some salsa chat she took off and I continued my quest of the east.

I decided to eat. You would be amazed as to how many Subway restaurants I saw in Playa…at least 3 within a mile of where we stayed. I did not touch American food while I was on the Mexican land so now I was hungry for a subway. Turns out they only have wheat bread (out of the usual selection of 5 breads) but they put double the chicken in my sandwich-I did not mind. At the end i asked for salt, she took the shaker with the dark stuff and after re-confirming with me that its salt-she put pepper in my sandwich. Great I thought…but the sandwich later was going to save my life. They did not have chocolate chip cookies, so I ate half of the sandwich and had a Soda and took the other half with me.

The security scanner in Newark was a novelty. After taking off my shoes and [ulling out my laptop out of the bag, I walked into it and the computer voice says: FIRING JETS! I’m like, I paid for an airplane trip and I’m only flying to boston…no jets please.Then the scanner blows jets of air from top to bottom. They said it was an ionizing scan: I am still alive, they couldn’t ionize me!

The flight was delayed…we were told that an indicator is going off so they have to fix it. While they are fixing it there can be no AC…the airplane got hotter than Mexico…and I thought I was enjoying the cool 90 degree weather Jersey. We sat in the airplane for two hours, the first hour hot as hell, the second hour was with AC but we could not take off because the runways were busy. So the plane rolled around the airport at like 2 miles an hour and it seemed like we were going to drive the plane to Boston. Finally  it took off and before I finished my OJ and the next hundred pages of my next Grisham novel, we landed. I got to the hotel uneventfully, checked in…luckily the hotel has free wireless so I checked my email, uploaded the pix from mexico and went to sleep.

Day 2:

I wake up bright and early after a decent sleep and a definite appreciation for air conditioning (in Mexico I had a fan and its hot at nights). I caught the bus to the train station from where the two trains would take me to Harvard. The Harvard Medical campus is beautiful…their Dental School is tiny compared to UCLA. However, after meeting all the residents and students, i feel like its is a small tight family and very friendly. I got to observe a couple of complex dental surgeries and decided to look for tango in Boston.

I had my scrubs on me, a pair of jeans and dance sneakers in my backpack (ready to tango at any point after a week of withdrawal). Turns out I just missed the Boston Tango festival the week before and the only tango in the area is in Providence, Rhode Island. My adventurous self could not resist…i checked the Greyhound schedule and caught a cab to the station to board the Bonanza bus down to RI on the last minute. That is when I remembered the I did not take the address to the milonga…On my way to travel 60+ miles in an unknown territory and I didn’t get the address! Luckily I had my cell and a call to my friend (thank you!) got me suited with the location. The city is called Pawtucket (pronounced Puhtucket) 4 miles away from Providence where my bus was headed.

The whole trip on the bus did not last long, I was deeply involved in a conversation with a passenger who had just visited the dentist. The guy knew what his periodontal probings were and knew all about periodontology. I got off 2 miles early to be closer to Pewtucket…I decided not to take a cab and walk to find the place.  I asked a passerby lady where South Bend street is…she didn’t know. She happened to be a respiratory therapist and the bond between medical professionals was immediate. Apologizing for not being able to help, she left. After I found a bus stop in Pewtucket, a girl comes up to me and asks for directions…I said ive been in this state and city less than 5 minutes 🙂

While I was waiting for the bus, the respiratory therapist lady comes back in her car and she is on her cell phone talking to her friend who knew where the street was. While they were trying to explain it, the bus came and the lady told me I need to go somewhere near Memorial Hospital and the baseball field. I said thanks and hopped on the bus. The driver did not know where South Bend is, but he dropped me off to another bus that would take me to the hospital. At the hospital I stopped a police car and got directions to South Bend and with the help of the homeowners on my way found the streey, found McCoy baseball field (home of the PawSox and the longest baseball game).

Providence tango was nearby…Ellen and Robin were teaching a beginner class.The studion was nicely decorated with chairs, tables, sofas and other great pieces of furniture I cannot name; this created a perfect combination of elegance, comfort and warmth-a perfect place to tango. I met Ellen and Robin who were teaching the class that night. After the class the practica started. Morgan, one of the twin sisters I met at Providence Tango was DJ-ing. There was a young salsa and ballroom teacher who was learning tango, Morgan’s twin-a swing dancer and many interesting people who had one thing in common-TANGO. T

he practica was great and the dancing was nice…after a 10 day break it felt different to me. I had a great time at the Providence tango and the eveing was worth the travel. Apparently, the twin sisters had driven from Connecticut to tango that Monday night; that made me feel less crazy for traveling 60+ miles and across a state line to tango.

The milonga was great, everyone was nice and the music was fantastic. This time I got a ride to the Providence station and caught my Greyhound bus to Boston. The driver had lots of attitude and no change for my $10 (the trip costs 8 bucks). I sat in the 2nd row and was chatting on the phone. Suddenly, while driving, the driver turns on the light in the cabin and yells in the microphone, “Is there someone in row 3 or 4 talking on the phone?” I say, YES. She replies, “You are LOUDER than my music!” haha

So i crawl back to a seat in the back so I could talk. In Boston, she lost the direction and could not find the station. YOU ARE A BUS DRIVER, how can you not know where the station is??? She yells in the mic, DOES anyone know where the station is? I don’t, but I decided to relocate back to my seat in the front so I can see whats happening. She turns, sees that I came forward and sat down and asks me, “SO you just came to watch?” I said, YES! She goes like, “Gee, thanks.” (Shes the lost driver and shes giving me attitude as if its my fault). By the time she found the station, the last train had left, so I caught a cab back to my hotel. Having had no food since noon, I gladly finished the flattened half of my footlong subway from the Newark Ariport with some soda from the vending maching and went to sleep.

In summary, the monday milonga in Pawtucket cost me 4 hours of travel, 120+ miles and 67 dollars. Tell you what, it was ALL WORTH IT!

Day 3:

I woke up and spent the morning at Harvard. I left Harvard at lunch and headed to Tufts. Tufts dental school is located in the heart of  Chinatown. I was craving for lunch, but no way in hell I could do Chinese for breakfast. The only option left was Ronald Mcdonald-a big mac with no onions, extra pickle and a $.50 slice of tomato, fries and a lemonade were my 1pm breakfast.

Tufts dental is close to Washington street, so once I came out of the subway I saw this couple and asked them, “Excuse me, do you know where washington is?” They gave me this weird root, then the wife says to me, “Oh, you mean the STREET?”  I said, “I wasn’t planning to walk toWashington DC!” They said, “Oh we are from Washington D.C., that’s why”.

Tutfs dental is HUGE…their dental class is 180 and they take 7 perio residents a year. I meet some students and observed coupla cool surgeries and out for the day from school. The plan was to go to Carlos and Tova’s tango class which was 5 minutes away from Harvard Dental. I called them and they told me it is okay to go. So I went home, changed, looked at the map once and went back to Longwood. This time, after scouring the area for 1 hour, I did not find the class (I wish I had the iPhone with google maps). I could not believe my luck…I found providence tango in another state, but I couldn’t find this class 5 minutes away.

So I trotted down to downtown, ask directions to the subway from two people, none of which was from Boston. Barnes&Noble bookstore lured me in and I left there with a couple of books to read, picked up some strawberries and a KitKat and headed home to do some reading.

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