First time to Dorchester

First time to Dorchester

Dorchester Avenue. Photo by Chau Mai

  Today I had the lonely trip to Dorchester which is notorous for the higher rate of murders. The guard at my school, who promised to go with me there because he has been staying in Dorchester for a long time, was busy at the last minute.

I had no choice because my story will be due early next week. On Monday, I said to my professor about my worry of going there, even with a person for company. He assured me that the security there was not too bad, and he and his family went there quite often.

He was not the only one saying so. In my first semester, my Japanese-American professor also encouraged me to go to Dot, a nickname used by the Dorchester residents, because it is home to the Boston’s biggest Vietnamese community. He said he told his kids to the zoo in Dorcherster quite often.

I saw a lot of Vietnamese shops in Dorchester. Photo by Chau Mai

The guard working at Emerson College also said that Dorchester was not that dangerous, especially in the Vietnamese area.

However, those reassuring words have had no effect on me because I read newspapers almost everyday and learned that Dorchester is one of the three dangerous neighborhoods in Boston. The other two are Mattapan and Roxbury. A story on the Boston Globe said 44 percent of the murders in Boston in 2010 took place in the neighborhood, which was named after the town of Dorchester in the English county of Dorset.

This afternoon after I decide to go on my own to Dorchester, I asked another guard on duty, who said she also lives in Dorchester, and she recommended me to took the Orange Line. However, I remember the busy guard told me that I should take the Red Line. To be sure I would not get lost, I googled the direction before going there, and Google Maps showed also Red-Line suggestions.

Until I saw the directions on Google Maps, I recognized that I did go to the outer areas of Dorchester three times without being awere of that. The first time was when I took the Red-Line to JFK station to view an apartment with a Turkish friend. The second time, I went to interview an editor at The Boston Globe and I also took the Red Line to Fort Hills station which is just one stop from the JFK station. The third time was two weeks ago, I took the Red Line again to a station next to Fort Hills station to go to the Massachusetts University.

This mid afternoon, I took the train to Fields Corner Station, which is the fourth stop from JFK station and is located right next to Dorchester Avenue. When I came there, it was almost 4:30 p.m but it looked like at noon. When I got out of the station, I took my phone out to find the way to a Vietnamese restaurant whose address I searched on Google. I got angry at myself when I found that my phone almost run out of battery. That made me feel more nervous. In that situation, I just found that I was so dependent on GPS navigation. It is always bad if we reply so much on something. I cannot come back right after I got to Dorchester. I used a traditional way to ask for directions: my mouth. It is said that the direction lies in one’s mouth.

I was surprised when asking three passers-by, and none of them knew the restaurant’s location. I walked back and forth for three times,  and decided to stop by another Vietnamese restaurant on Dorchester Avenue. Actually I walked to the avenue more than three times because the restaurant does not accept payment by debit or credit cards so I had to go to find an ATM. One thing I found that when I walked on Dorchester Avenue, my nervousness went away naturally. I did not recognize that change in my mind until I interview a Vietnamese person on that avenue, and she said her neighborhood was full of murders and shootings. Her words made me feel a little nervous again on the way back to the train at 6:30 p.m.

This is the first time I had one of my favorite dishes, "bun mam" (fish-salted broth with vermicelli). It was quite good.

I was lucky to interview several people for my story, and at least had a general sense of the life of the Vietnamese community. This weekend, I will return to Dorchester with my friends to finish my story.

My favorite dessert in Vietnam. Photo by Chau Mai

(Only four days left before my Spring semester ends)

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One thought on “First time to Dorchester

  1. Chị lo lắng ghê quá, hồi đó em đi qua đi lại mà không thấy sợ, chắc là chưa thây quan tài chưa đổ lệ :D

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