For a New Yorker, I mention Massachusetts in a positive – nah, let’s go with neutral – light an awful lot. To continue that tradition of fence-sitting, let’s take a day trip to the Boston suburb known as Lowell. (Apologies for the photo quality, as my camera became terribly ill at that time)
A dollop of history to start things off. Lowell, Massachusetts was founded in the 1820s as a major textile manufacturing center in the still relatively young USA. Mills were everywhere, as far as the eye could see. Though, courtesy of factory pollution, you couldn’t tell. It was the China of tomorrow, yesterday…and today? No, but the US supermarket chain Trader Joe’s has reusable bags sewn in the city. Good.
Onwards and upwards.
What’s that, you ask? It’s an orgy of blurry pixels, also known as the car park of the Consulate of Cambodia. Just as you expected. After the fall of the Communist Khmer Rouge in 1979, thousands of Cambodians fled their homeland, with many being placed by the US government throughout the US. Though, others chose to beat their own drums and settled in California, Ohio and ehem, Lowell. This building was the reason why I wanted to visit Lowell, particularly after passing by an Ecuadorian Consulate in New Haven, Connecticut. What do the two have in common? Nothing. New from Lonely Planet: Breaking International Law in New England.
The other reason I didn’t mind the haul from Boston’s North Station: food. Oops, screwed up on this one. The best part about this dish wasn’t that it was the wrong order, but it was more that I had no idea it was the wrong order. I wanted chicken larb-yes, I know it’s a Lao dish, but the only Cambodian dish I ever want, a fish curry called amok, is never available/no one understands my pronunciation. In any event, I was served tripe. But hey, the lime worked. Imagine if you squeezed the lime and it tasted like durian? Sounds like a Malay paradise.
I wanted to thank Lowell for providing me with a way to occupy a Saturday, so I painted the city this mural. Really though, I sort of like it. Anybody know who the artist is? Is that Mecca on the right?
Interested in paying Massachusetts a visit? If the phrase is still save the best for last, I’d say you should hurry.