So Erik and I bought a cute little bungalow in Providence, RI last month. We both still work in Boston, so the commute is a bitch, but not unbearable. Yet. But real estate is actually reasonable there. Providence is only 40 miles or so from Boston, but it's like a whole different world. First of all, the weird food: They love hot dogs there. Or, hot weiners, as they call them. They are usually advertised as "NY System Hot Weiners." What the NY system is remains a mystery. Perhaps the hot dogs are cooked in water from the East river. I just don't know. They call milk shakes "cabinets." I know that in Boston you can get a frappe or a milk shake, which confuses people, (one has ice cream, the other doesn't,) but if I went into, say, Toscanini's and ordered a vanilla cabinet, they would look at me like I was out of my mind. Also, they seem to put coffee syrup on everything. Next, there is the governmental corruption, often involving guys with awesome toupees. Sure, Boston has Whitey Bulger, but we never elected him mayor. Several times. Providence has more strip clubs and dildo stores than I've ever seen in such a small city. The scariest of which is a place which can be seen from route 95 just south of downtown. It's a run down pink building, nestled inbetween some tug boats and some warehouses, with a big sign that advertises "Cheaters - Topless." One can only imagine how down on one's luck one would have to be to either work at or patronise this establishment. I think it was voted "Best place to get stabbed in the parking lot - 2002" by the Providence Phoenix. There are a lot of nice things about Providence, too, but they're not as funny.