I'm the kind of person who walks through life looking for signs. I'm also the kind of person who walks through cities trying to picture myself living there. So I clearly thought Fate was working overtime when I stumbled upon a store called - wait for it - Louis Boston - when wandering through, yes, Boston last week. And not just any store, either. A super high end, Barneys eat-your-heart-out kind of a store. My kind of store, in other words. Well, in my dreams at least.
I'm not letting the fact that we couldn't even afford a roll of wrapping paper interfere with the message I'm sure some higher force was sending me. (Or the fact that the store was so baby unfriendly that without Daddy J's help Master Louis Boston himself would never have seen the inside. Honestly, for a country that's supposedly so litigious I'm staggered at how hard it would be to get around in a wheelchair. Haven't the Yanks heard of ramps?)
We were in Boston, clocking up Louis' fourth American state in three months, to visit Grandma Penny who was there for her firm's holiday party. And a week's work, of course. She kindly squeezed us into her hotel room, which was no mean feat given we needed a crib as well. With Louis in tow we did less of the hard core history buff stuff that I'd done when there a decade or so ago with Mum and Grandpa and more of the street pounding, imaginary flat hunting sort of stuff that is my favourite sort of city sight seeing.
Louis Boston aside, DJ's highlight was the Mapparium, a 3m high glass model of the globe that you can walk through. Built in 1935, it's on show at the city's Christian Science Plaza. Excitingly for the young newspups among us, the Mapparium was inspired by the New York Daily News' spinning globe back when the Christian Science Monitor was a newspaper to be reckoned with. Given DJ's map obsession, getting to stand in the centre of a giant globe was like all his birthdays and Christmases coming at once. Louis thought it was pretty cool too, especially the acoustics: his "Mamamamamaing" reverberated superbly around the world, bouncing from the Soviet Union to French West Africa via British India. (Geopolitically, the world is stuck with its pre-WWII territorial boundaries.)
Other Boston sights we managed to tick off included Harvard, John Kerry's house and JP Licks - a famous ice-cream joint that had come highly recommended by one of my American Mom friends who went to school there. Aside from brushing up my revolutionary American history, the best fact I learnt during our stay was that Bostonians eat more ice cream per capita than any other US citizens. Quite a feat given how cold it can - and did - get. Something to look forward to when we settle down there!