I was told by Reddit that you can get into part of the Harvard Law School Library without being a student. This morning, I planned to write my blog in there, just to be able to say I had. But, since it was 28℃ outside, I decided I’d write for a few hours under the shade in one of the courtyards instead. It was quite an interesting time to be in Harvard actually since it was move-in day for the Class of 2021. I could have been walking amongst future US Presidents without even knowing it.
Close to the law campus is a supermarket-cum-deli called Market in the Square. What I didn’t realise is that just around the corner is Harvard Square. You’d have thought the name would have given it away, but I was so hungry by that point that I gave in to prices way outside of my budget. Put it like this: I paid the equivalent of 7 Gregg’s sausage rolls for half a sandwich. It was, in fairness, a Philly Cheese Steak.
I booked a Hahvard tour for 3:30pm online, largely because they’re run by Harvard students. I thought I’d missed it but in the end, I somehow managed to blag a free tour. Presuming that the one I came across had just started, I slipped into its ranks as subtly as I could. As it turns out, I’d just barged my way into a private tour. The Mississippi-born tour guide called me out on it, and rightly so, but the Hawaiian tourists who’d paid fairly large amounts of money for it kindly let me stay. I learnt a fair bit in that tour. Did you know, for instance, that Harvard tuition is completely free, for all 4 years, if your household income is less than $60,000 per year? The best thing though was hearing about the Harvard students who mugged off Trump so badly that he went on to sue the university.
It was as we were grouped around the Harvard Lampoon’s office building that our tour guide suddenly pulls out her phone with a text from a friend: “OMFG! I’ve just seen Malia Obama!”. For those who didn’t know, Obama’s eldest daughter is starting at Harvard this autumn, having taken a gap year in South Africa last year. Like everyone else, she was somewhere in Harvard, moving into her dorm with her parents. So, technically, the title is only semi-true but hey, it could have happened! I could have turned any corner and bumped into him. As it happens, I didn’t.
All Hahvard tours are valid for any time slot – you book in the morning and turn up whenever you feel like it. On the basis that I technically hadn’t used my public tour ticket yet, I decided to join the 4:30 tour, in order to see the bits I’d previously missed. My tour guide, Cormac, a rising senior i.e. he’s going into his senior year, made 70 minutes fly by and was extremely clued up on Harvard-related anecdotes. I always thought that the Naked Mile in American Pie was rooted in fiction. It’s not. Each December, as the bell chimes at midnight for the beginning of finals week, hundreds, if not thousands of Harvard students strip and run laps around the Yard, as part of a tradition known as Primal Scream. I can see why that would be good stress relief.
I think I overdid it a bit today. Walking 14km in 30℃ heat didn’t seem that bad at the time – the weather’s not particularly sticky or humid so you acclimatise relatively quickly. It does take it out of you though and I got back to Alewife and completely crashed. I think I’ll take it easy tomorrow.