As an Englishman I’m well used to the experience of leaving some gloriously sun-kissed location and returning home to greyness and drizzle. But rarely the opposite. However, so it was on Friday as we swapped a sweltering, blue-skied London for the rain-drenched streets of Boston.
Our hotel (the Onyx) is one of those seemingly ubiquitous “Boutique” hotels where everything is clean and modern and rather soul-less. And no guys, providing leopard skin bath robes does not make you slightly “wacky”.
Still it’s nice enough. It’s in the North district of Boston, which until recently was under the shadow of the elevated six-lane freeway that bisected the city. However, with the traffic now moved into an underground tunnel (a project called the big dig, but known locally, apparently, as the “big pig” due to costs that spiralled from a not-inconsiderable $2.5 billion to a breathtaking $15 billion) and the freeway dismantled, the neighbourhood is one moving slowly out of depression, but with a vague air of uncertainty about it. Still, where boutique hotels go, Starbucks and Gap will surely follow. Phew.
We’re a short step away from the Italian quarter of the city, which really does have a good neighbourhood feel (perhaps precisely because it was previously been cut off from the main city by the freeway). We’ve had a couple of excellent meals there and spent the rest of our “free” day yesterday watching a rather humdrum England narrowly beat Paraguay and then touring round Cambridge (in the rain).
Today (sunny, hurrah!) we go into full conference mode. It’s registration, booth set up, press party, and keynote, hopefully followed by an informal ST gathering somewhere that serves decent beer.
Watch this space