A Travellerspoint blog

March 2009

The long and wearisome drive back home

We all got a really nice sleep last night and then we began the trek back home. We stopped in at Bar Harbour, had breakfast at Tapley's (I do not recommend the corned beef hash), and then hightailed it back to Canada.

It was raining the entire time. I couldn't believe it, but Andy drove the WHOLE way back.

We tried to find Keith's favourite cereal that they only have in the U.S., but we couldn't. We meandered through Vermont and New Hampshire on Highway 2.

We stopped in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for some AMAZING pizza, then headed straight home on the interstate.

Of course it's always easier to get back into Canada than to leave it. Andy had to be interrogated again, but less harshly this time, and the border guards went through all our stuff a second time. We weren't smuggling anything so we were good to go.

Keith before coffee

Keith before coffee


Me vs. "corned beef hash" aka dog food

Me vs. "corned beef hash" aka dog food

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

No... sleep... till Bangor!

We pull up to the border guard's station, roll down the windows and a skinny little man with a moustache asks us a few questions.

"Where you are you off to tonight?"

"Cherryfield, Maine"

"What for?"

"To visit a friend."

"How do you know this friend?"

"I don't know."

"What does this friend do?"

"He owns a blueberry farm."

"It's not the right time of year for blueberries. Are you folks pickin' blueberries?"

We burst out laughing. "No! Hahahaha!"

"Do you pick blueberries a lot? When's the last time you picked blueberries?"

"Um, I think I picked them in New York, when I was five"

"Oh, so you were illegally picking blueberries, then?!"

"Nooooo.... hahahaha! It was a pick-your-own place, you know what I mean."

"It's not funny. Please get out of the car, we have some questions for you."

"Alright."

The border guard proceeds to question us on what exactly we are doing in the Land of the Free, and when exactly we plan on going back home. I am traveling with three unemployed hippies (one of whom is from the UK), so this takes a while.

While waiting for everything to be searched and inspected I spy a patriotic poster that makes me smirk. It declares these hometown heroes are "Keeping our Borders Open and Our Nation Secure". Right... borders apparently, are not so open for four kids going around and spending their hard earned dollars in small northeastern towns that desperately need it.

After going through our personal history and scouring the car and our belongings with a fine-tooth comb, they let us go. This takes about an hour and a half. One of them even counts my money, to make sure it's less than $10,000, and also, presumably, to determine whether we will be spending any money in the faltering economy once they do let us through. Phew.

OK, enough of that. We continue driving through the pitch dark and eventually make it to Maine. Everything is shrouded in mist and Andy says it's "everything I hoped it would be"... haha!

We finally get to Ben's house, located in the middle of a blueberry field. I kind of want to sleep, but Nate says he's ready to go to the ocean. Seriously?! OK, yeah let's do this! Haha... it's about 8 a.m. and we are off! Keith stays behind to sleep for a bit.

Andy and I jump around on some slippery rocks while Nate explores the pier and watches some lobster fishermen throwing traps into the ocean.

We go and get a $5 breakfast at the only restaurant in town, Neighbourhood Cafe. It's delicious and there is way too much food. We bring some back for Keith.

After Keith wakes up, Ben offers to take us up to the top of a big hill on his property so we can see all around. There is a little bit of snow on the way up, but it just gets progressively worse and worse until there is ice accumulating in my socks and shoes and it melts and gets everything hopelessly wet.

It's beautiful up there though, we (literally, haha!) soak in the view, take a few pictures and go back down. My pants are too long so I have to keep rolling them up. I still get soaked up to the knees anyways... oh well.

After we get down, Ben shows us how to get to another beach, one with more waves this time, so we drive out there. I try and fly my Elmo kite, but it's not windy enough. The sun is just warm enough to allow us to lie down on the beach and catch some rays. However, it's not warm enough to take off my jacket...

Nate gets cold and goes back in the car. When I notice he is gone, I go back to the car, only to break out into hysterical laughter again, all our shoes and socks are spread out on the roof on the car, in an effort to dry them out, I suppose.

When we get back to Ben's house, he shows the boys around and I hang out with his son, Rowan, probably the cutest four year old on the face of the planet. We have some intimate discussion about what hippies are like...

"They have long hair!"

"And what else?"

"NOTHING!"

Smart kid.

Ben has a bucketful of lobsters waiting for us. We will boil them up and eat them barefoot outside on his deck in the freezing cold. It's pretty hilarious. There's nowhere near enough room for us to do the lobster boil inside.

My hands are freezing and lobster juice gets all over the inside of my jacket. Awesome. Where else can you get an experience like this for $6 per pound?

Early morning on the Atlantic

Early morning on the Atlantic


Slippery rocks in Maine

Slippery rocks in Maine


Hard at work

Hard at work


Up on the mountain

Up on the mountain


Maine is all around

Maine is all around


Up on top

Up on top


Nate, Andy, Keith, Ben, Rowan

Nate, Andy, Keith, Ben, Rowan


Pretty

Pretty


Firepit

Firepit


The beach

The beach


Andy in the water

Andy in the water


Keith and Nate

Keith and Nate


Nate doing Kurt Cobain

Nate doing Kurt Cobain


Me in the water

Me in the water


Andy trying to fly a kite

Andy trying to fly a kite


Our stuff drying out on the car

Our stuff drying out on the car


Wild Blueberry town

Wild Blueberry town


The lobster we will eat

The lobster we will eat


Cooked lobster

Cooked lobster


Me vs. Maine lobster

Me vs. Maine lobster

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

We drive to Maine at night

I have to do some stuff for work, so we couldn't leave from Ottawa until 8 p.m. I also had to go home for my passport and various things I was bringing, so Nate picked us up from there.

We headed out on the road and watched Ratatouille on my laptop. Nothing eventful happened until we pulled up to the border crossing in the middle of nowhere at Coburn, NY....

Nate getting gas in Montreal

Nate getting gas in Montreal

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Meeting Jamie in Oshawa and Polish food w/ Justyna

I couldn't meet up with Jamie yesterday, so we agreed to meet for noon in Oshawa before I had to meet Axel to go home. That turned out to work out perfectly.

She picked me up at the Oshawa train station, we drove around for a bit, and ended up having lunch at the Casey's in the big old Oshawa mall.

Then we were bored, so we walked around the mall, went to Canadian Tire to buy some windshield washer fluid for Jamie and a new light for my bike. Hooray! Haha!

I think it goes without saying that this weekend just proves that no matter how boring your circumstances are, you can still have fun. It just depends on the people you are with.

Soon it was time to meet Axel and Justyna. Justyna insisted that I have lunch at her parent's house. Her mom made these exquisitely handcrafted Polish dumplings in a soup (almost like won ton soup), some salad, and of course, sausage.

Way to much food.

So then we all piled in the car with Dorota, Justyna's sister and headed back home. I claimed the backseat, and drifted off to sleep. Ahhhhh.

Confused about what is for rent

Confused about what is for rent


Me vs. Go-Train

Me vs. Go-Train


Jamie and me

Jamie and me


Me at Oshawa Go-Train station

Me at Oshawa Go-Train station


Axel and Justyna

Axel and Justyna


Justyna's parents

Justyna's parents

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Bored in Kensington Market and Valery Gore

My parents came to meet me for lunch at Saving Grace, just down the street. It's a lovely little place for brunch on the weekend, but make sure you get there BEFORE you get hungry, because you'll be waiting quite a long time for it. You'll probably have to wait outside too, not that that was a bad thing on one of the first warm-ish weather days we've had in a long time.

I didn't know how many people were going to show up, I was thinking MAYBE five, but I signed up for four anyway, since the line was so long.

After we got our table, Steve showed up just in time to order. I had read a review praising the raisin bread sandwich with white cheddar and avocado, so you know I had to order it. It definitely wasn't as orgasmic as the reviewer claimed, but it was pretty good, I'll say that.

I'm glad Alan didn't show up until later, because there really was zero room for him. After brunch, my mom and dad just went home, leaving Steve and I totally bored for the rest of the day. We called up Alan, then walked around Kensington Market, stopping at his friend's book store where I bought a funny little comic for Rosemary and Dan.

Then, the rest of the day was spent meandering. Alan spontaneously decided to cover his apartment walls with old kitschy records, so we went rifling through some discount racks and found him some goodies.

At one point, I saw some police officers arresting a fellow cyclist. I had to stop and see what the hub bub was about.

Me: "What's going on?"

Police officer 1: "Please leave us alone and let us do our jobs, ma'am."

Cyclist: "I was squeegeeing."

Me: "Oh, that sucks."

Police officer 2: "This man is under arrest, you'd be wise to keep walking and let us continue."

Me (to cyclist): "Oh, you can't talk right now? Sorry."

Solidarity. Solidarity forever, man.

After that, we went to the Cameron House, where, to our dismay, a TERRIBLE folk singing duo was playing. She's now my friend on Facebook, let's see if she read this, Hi Sue! You guys have some talent, but you could use it in a way more productive way. You should tone down the schmaltz and turn up the sincerity! Got it? OK? Good. *smile* Really I mean it.

OK, so, next I had a craving for sushi, so Alan offered to drive us up to Bloor St., where he was going to watch his daughter perform at some sort of African drum circle thing. Gotta say, the sushi at JTime = awesome. Definitely check it out, and the service is GREAT. Everyone is so comfortable and happy and seemingly honestly glad you came to their restaurant.

Alan took off for his show, and then so did we. Our only mission of the day was to see Valery Gore play at the Super Market so that is where we went. Steve went to high school with her and she's from my hometown (I don't really HAVE a hometown, just call it boonies.... but Ridgeway is the closest thing to that...)

We got there super early, so we technically didn't have to pay. Totally snuck in. On the bill was Heidi Happy, a Swiss singer that looped her voice and needed no extra instruments besides her guitar and glockenspiel.

Then it was Abdominal, touted as the "best rapper in the country" by my good friend Aaron Brophy of Chart Magazine (you will DIE for shutting down Canada's only indie music publication!) *ahem*

He was good, but I wouldn't say that he was better than Buck 65...maybe if you compared them on pure talent, Abdominal is definitely more talented, but his music isn't as catchy...

OK next was Valery's turn. She brings with her a whole seven piece band and totally fills the room with sound. Lots of people dancing and lots of people chilling out. It's an interesting kind of music. Good for dancing, good for relaxing, it's just plain good. She's also number two on the CBC Radio Three Top 30, yay for that. It's my favourite podcast at the moment.

After that Steve had to catch the Go-Train back home, and the DJ really sucked, so I left too. I said goodbye, went back to Rosie and Dan's house where Lorina had JUST woken up. We shared some spinach salad and tea, talked for a while about random subjects and then went to bed too late.

Dad and Mom at Saving Grace

Dad and Mom at Saving Grace


Steve at Saving Grace

Steve at Saving Grace


Me vs. orgasmic raisin bread sandwich

Me vs. orgasmic raisin bread sandwich


Steve at Cameron House

Steve at Cameron House


Me at Cameron House

Me at Cameron House


Sue and Dwight

Sue and Dwight


Me vs. policemen

Me vs. policemen


Squeegee guy

Squeegee guy


J Time!

J Time!


Steve vs. sushi

Steve vs. sushi


Alan vs. tempura

Alan vs. tempura


Me vs. California roll

Me vs. California roll


Abdominal and "the Obliques" at Super Market

Abdominal and "the Obliques" at Super Market


Abdominal and "the Obliques" at Super Market

Abdominal and "the Obliques" at Super Market


Abdominal and "the Obliques" at Super Market

Abdominal and "the Obliques" at Super Market


Valery Gore and band

Valery Gore and band

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Driving with Clayton and a tour of Little Portugal

I had such a terrible time getting a ride to Toronto this weekend. My initial ride canceled on me mid-week, then my friend Axel all of a sudden wasn't sure if he was going or not. At the last second, Clayton, who sits across the desk from me mentioned he was going to Toronto and volunteered to drive me! Woot! So after beer-o'clock, I hopped into the car with him and drove on down to the T-dot.

It was an uneventful drive, and we showed up at Rosemary and Dan's house at about 10 p.m. Just as Rosie, Dan and their friends were getting ready to leave. Lucky me, a late night tour of Little Portugal.

We ended up in some strange places, most of which were full. Dan commenced the cursing of the "905-ers" (people who have the 905 area code, but still come to Toronto on the weekend) for taking over his favourite bars.

First, there was a stop at a REALLY Portuguese place, full of thumping techno and completely empty. They told me there was no beer on tap, and then poured someone else a glass, so I decided not to spend any money there.

We tried a bunch of other cool looking places, but nope, all full. Dan commenced the cursing of yuppies in Ugg boots taking over his favourite bars.

Rosie knew of this place that had $10 pitchers (The Bulldog) so, we just went there and watched a bunch of underage girls drinking cocktails straight out of pitchers (with straws) dancing and generally freaking out.

After this, we all went home. I was surfing with my friend Lorina, but she wasn't back yet, so I slept in the bed that was allotted to us. She got home at 5 a.m. and promptly passed out on the floor.

Me and Clayton in the car

Me and Clayton in the car


Crazy underage drinkers

Crazy underage drinkers


Chris... not quite ready to go home

Chris... not quite ready to go home


Rosie and Brandon

Rosie and Brandon


Dan

Dan

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)