Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
Sep 17th 2012 8:45AM Parking in the North End is impossible to find on a regular weekday. I wouldn't even dream of driving there during Saint Anthony's. There are meters near Faneuil Hall and if you don't mind a 10-15-minute walk, you can try the Financial District (Federal St. used to be great until construction). Boston Common is a bit further, but sometimes it can be easier to find a spot, as more are available.
In the end, you paid as much for your ticket as you would've done for a regular spot (private lot operators are very scammy, Red Sox parking is $40-$50, insane!), so be glad you weren't towed.
Saint Anthony's is a cool experience, if you don't mind a huge tourist crowd and overpriced (but good) street food. Forget about getting a slice from Regina's (the original Regina's) though.
I loved seeing the old Italian guys making shish-kabobs on their home-made charcoal grills.
Aug 3rd 2012 7:58AM Not to sound smug, but you flew United, that was your problem. United is just terrible, in my experience, same as the rightly bankrupt American Airlines. Sounds like a lot of incompetency was involved (no mechanic, not knowing that this was the plane's first flight over that route, not knowing that being 15th in line will burn through so much fuel...).
Also, planes get hit by lightning all the time, it's not a problem, they're designed to withstand it. It's the strong winds - updrafts and downdrafts - which are dangerous.
Jul 23rd 2012 6:51PM This is one of those strange laws remaining from the early 20th century ('20s or '30s).
Funny thing is, I can go to any of the Russian stores around here and get any of 2 or 3 different knock-offs of Kinder Surprise, or Kinder Surprise itself.
Jul 23rd 2012 4:36PM You, guys, don't know how to deal with the completely ridiculous Russian queues.
You have to come 1-1.5 hours before the place (say, the consulate) opens and reserve your spot in line. You assign yourself a number, basically. If for any reason you have to leave, you generally won't lose your place in line if you tell 2-3 people in front of you/behind you that you are going to come back and to have them hold your place in line. This sounds weird and I could never understand that. When the place opens, you have to rush in to make sure nobody cuts in front of you and the queue order is conserved - use your elbows but don't get in a fight!
If this doesn't deter you from going to Russia, the visa application fees may - $600 for a 3-day visa, ~300 for the regular 2-week tourist visa. Ukraine, on the other hand, does not require a visa from the USA. Then again, not many US citizens are interested in going to Ukraine (although you may have been better off flying into Kiev and then taking a train/bus into Belarus). Nothing but bad experiences with government/customs workers in Russia on this side; dealing with Ukrainian officials was downright pleasant, although I was there for only a day.
With that said, things have gotten much better at the Manhattan consulate. Yes, they were much, much worse. First, they now have two separate lines - one for those with visa/passport problems, second for the unruly retiree crowd receiving their pensions (you may have ended up in that crowd by mistake, and boy, are they used to the queues of the Soviet Union). Second, the consulate actually - gasp - schedules and keeps appointments instead of just letting everyone storm the place. And the people inside are relatively nice as opposed to the bitter taste of the Soviet Union service you used to get before where everyone looked at you like you ate their lunch. This is based on experience this past winter and experience of 4-5 years ago.
Also, never fly Aeroflot. If the plane doesn't crash, the best you'll get out of the flight will be terrible service.
Apr 30th 2012 4:58PM Far from a letdown? I don't see any fireballs!
Jan 5th 2012 7:36AM Wow, that sounds like an awesome time to be had. I hope to at least visit NZ in my lifetime... as far as touring it goes, forget it. Looking forward to your reports.
P.S. A couple packs of beer wouldn't hurt! Get some Hefeweizens or IPAs for those hot summer days, Belgians for the cool nights (if there are any).
Jan 5th 2012 7:31AM Also, acceptably standard by Russian standards is a speeding rig, and the owner of the video trying to pass the truck in front of him, even though the track is clear to have slammed on the breaks... that should alert you to be careful, no?
Sep 13th 2011 7:49AM Belarus is backwards. A friend of mine, whose parents emigrated from Belarus to the US when he was 8, looked into visiting. In order to receive a visa as a US citizen, he'd have to give up his Belarussian citizenship, which requires him to write a letter to Lukashenko, the dictator of the country, and then obtain a letter from his own parents stating that they are OK with him denouncing his citizenship. Also, he'd have to travel to the embassy I think either in NYC or DC and pay a fee on the order of $400. And THEN apply for a visa.
Russia is also backwards like that. I think we paid around $200 for the visa application in 2009. Of course, they also require sponsorship and upon arrival, if you are staying longer than 3 days, you have to get registered with the government (that was a pain and a source of many grievous stories for many of people I know on its own). Also, when we requested a multiple entry visa stating that we were going to travel to Ukraine, the consulate wanted to see our train tickets... which we could only buy in Russia using a passport... and before even knowing if we were to be granted a visa. Add to this echoes of the Soviet Union rudeness from the customs/border officials... meh. Now, in addition to all these hoops, Russia also wants to see where you were born, if not in the US. They want to know if you still have your Russian citizenship. I'm OK with not going back there.
Ukraine, on the other hand - crossed the border from Russia at a post that was an equivalent of a small village. Friendly border agent told us how to fill out the form correctly. No visa needed! Pleasant stay.
BTW, I'm 1/2 Russian, 1/2 Ukrainian, speak Russian.
Aug 23rd 2011 7:47AM I feel like I'm living in a neverending ad.
Jun 29th 2011 11:35AM Go to Provincetown instead! That's where the Pilgrims actually landed first!