Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Monday, August 07, 2006

The La Quinta Courtesy car drops us at the station, but I think they’ve made a mistake. It doesn’t look like a station. It looks like a multilevel car park. It is a multilevel car park.
Bao spots the sign: Take elevator to Level Three for shuttle.
Level Three is deserted. At the far end of an empty concrete space there’s a set of sliding doors over a long, precariously elevated track. And another sign. Press button for shuttle.
Utter silence. Nothing is happening.
But wait! Something is coming down the track, towards us. It’s a little, square, unmanned vehicle. It slows and docks in utter silence. The doors slide soundlessly open. I look at Bao and he looks at me. It’s all very Twilight Zone.
We get on, and the doors slide shut behind us. Will we be beamed up to The Enterprise? Not this time. We disembark uneventfully at Wellington Station, and continue on to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Part of MFA (as they call it) is under construction. Everything in Boston (including the train stations and the wharf area) is under construction. Never mind. The MFA is wonderful. They’ve got an awesome collection of early Chinese bronzes, and the Chinese porcelains are exquisite. I saw a piece of turquoise-glazed Sizhou ware – totally unique. To display their collection of Chinese furniture (all of which is constructed without the use of nails, or glue) they’ve built a replica of a Chinese house, complete with garden, gourd window and ornamental rock. You could almost be in Suzhou.
Someone wants to take a picture of Bao in his stroller.
Next, the “Americans In Paris” Exhibition, and I finally got to see Whistler’s Mother. (She lives at the Louvre in Paris, but she was out on loan when I was there) Also, Mary Cassat’s mother. And Mary Cassat’s original tea set, which features in many of her paintings.
Someone else wants to take a picture of Bao in his stroller.
What can I say about lunch at Bravo, except Bravo!
The people at the next table want to take a picture of Bao in his stroller.
We spend the afternoon admiring the European masterpieces, which are displayed salon-style, in a gargantuan hall with ceilings that must be 50 feet high. Just being there is an experience. This is actually how these works would have been hung, in a church or private chapel. (Most were, as you’d expect, religious subjects) Standing in the midst of this vast space, gazing at the enormous canvasses, you almost feel transported to another world.
Two Japanese tourists want to take a picture of Bao in his stroller.
On to the American galleries. Georgia O’Keefe. Winslow Homer. The spirit is willing, but the body is beginning to flag. We’ve been here all day. I’m tired. I’m even too tired to shop, although I make an effort.
In the train on the way home, a woman takes a picture of Bao in his stroller.


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