G-man, Jenna and I were lucky enough to escape the brutal heat wave that gripped the East coast this week with an escape to Maine and New Hampshire. Drum roll for stats, please…..
1. 20 lobsters consumed by the 3 of us in various forms — lobstah roll, lazy-style in a pie with breadcrumbs, and the old-school, cave-man style complete with plastic bib.
2. First meeting of a centenarian. The 2010 estimate of people who have lived to the age of 100 in the USA is @71,ooo, but this was the first time I ever had the honor of dining with a gentleman who has been watching the strange goings-on of the last century. This is an active man — vigorous of both body and mind. He brought the house down with his pithy comment that our host (his son) had the most uncomfortable chairs — it had taken 100 years but he was sure the chair he occupied hurt his wise-ass the most. Happy birthday , Dr. K!
3. A murder of crows, but only seen in pairs. Every time we head to Maine I am so hopeful that I’ll get to see a live moose cross the road. To date, the only moose I’ve seen are the stuffed ones in the local stores or restaurants. (yes — you too can dine with stuffed wild animals — see #5 below) However, as I ride shotgun I peer closely into the brush — quite a feat when we’re cruising at 65 MPH — hoping to catch a glimpse of this reclusive beast. What I actually see are lots of crows by the road side taking their job as clean-up crew very seriously. In keeping with the spirit of New England, where nothing goes to waste, these birds do an exemplary job cleaning up road-kill. But crows are very smart and they seem to work as a team — one watching while the other snacks (or moves the snack to a safer spot.) I also hear that they can count and recognize human faces — especially ones they don’t like. I give them my respect for helping to keep America beautiful although they can be kinda loud.
4. We had the full complement of Political Science majors on this trip, and what could be better than riding out a hot day in a really cool museum? The Maine State Museum in the capital city of Augusta gets my vote as the best cultural bang for your $2.00. Ask Jenna about the industry of ice harvesting…. better yet, ask her about the “Curiosities” room with the exhibit of moose heads locked in Mortal Combat. It seems that back in 1995 the state of Maine confiscated a “rack” of moose antlers a hunter had “separated” from the bodies of two moose who apparently died of natural causes(?) after locking their antlers together, presumably in a fight over territory or a female moose. The state then had a taxidermist “flesh out” the moose heads and put them on display. Which leads us to ponder Darwin’s theory of Survival of the Fittest: maybe the reason I can never spot a moose is because the smart ones know both how to hide and how NOT to kill each other.
5. The Clambake. If you are looking for batter-dipped, fried goodness in the form of clams, scallops, and shrimp with a lobster thrown on top, this is the place. But the best part is the dining room…. wide open bay views, pine paneling and an absolutely amazing assortment of taxidermy. Bring the kids (and those friends of yours who behave like kids) — they will be mesmerized! Below is a shot of the most dramatic tableau — surely a battle to the death over the last clam belly.
6. This post is a milestone of sorts — number 60! So again, thank you, elite Nappy followers for the encouraging comments and bountiful visits.
I’m folding up the bathing suits with a heavy sigh after recently returning from the vacation of a lifetime. The type of vacation that is truly a suspension of reality, or, if you will, an alternate reality, as there are people do live and work (very hard) on the island of Jamaica. To paraphrase the late, great Warren Zevon, I vacationed with the Seven Deadly Sins and kept a busy schedule trying to fit them in. But I had help. In addition to Jamaican G-Mon and myself, we were joined by two other most-fabulous couples, our own notorious s.t.u and Mi’Lady W. and the Sastafarian and his Mi’Lady G.
So here is the sinful rundown of our itinerary:
Gluttony: As this was an all-inclusive resort there was food and drink at little more than arm’s length at any waking moment. And all of it was delicious. I ate a tart/sweet passion fruit for the first time in addition to chocolate croissants everyday for breakfast. BTW — when I turn 90 I am going to alternate my remaining days eating chocolate croissants and buttery almond bear claws for breakfast (instead of the high-fiber cereals and yogurt I eat now.) The bar(s) opened at 10 AM, so you could, in fact, start each day with SOTB (Sex on the Beach) or sample the “drink of the day.” There is also a delightful grapefruit soda called “Ting,” and it is both delicious and refreshing! Funny, it doesn’t feel like excessive drinking when you spread your consumption over the daylight hours. I liken it to entering a latent stage of infancy where you get up from the table to go lie down on a chaise by the pool or float, whale-like, in the Caribbean. Which is an excellent segue to….
Sloth: Yes, there was a gym on the property with organized yoga and exercise classes. Props to the notorious s.t.u. who did work out every morning. (You alone are redeemed from this sin.) But there was something so sublimely languid about this paradise that you had to surrender to the sun (and alcohol) and just adopt the mantra, “It’s all irie, mon.” Although the folks working at this resort employ this phase it is quite clear that THEY work very hard so you, dear guest, don’t have to. In my defense, I did rise from my lounge to walk the 15 feet to the bar for my drinks each day. There is another option: the staff gives you a little flag to raise on your poolside table to summon someone to bring you a drink. I refused all flags, just sayin’…. oh, another good segue to….
Pride: OK, this was a tropical place where we spent most of our daylight hours wearing bathing suits to bob in either the pool or the sea. The Lady W. shamed me into looking for the G-mon on the beach as he spent hours floating. We were sure he was on the way to Havana at one point. Which is strange behavior for a man who has been very vocal about his feelings for “the Shore.” Most of the resort guests were from northern climes and I’d say without shame that overall, the population was 40+. So you can imagine what all that newly arrived pale flesh looked like. But I can also say that after you reach a certain age, who really cares what you look like in a bathing suit anymore? Many of us have used our bodies to bring other people into this world or we bear the traces of surgery or accidents that make us appreciate our corporeal bodies all the more. There were also folks on this property without self-esteem issues (or clothing) as they enjoyed bathing over on the “au naturale” beach discreetly tucked away at the edge of the property –adjacent to the Wedding Pavilion, oddly enough. We saw 2 weddings during our stay. The G-mon was, as usual, floating in the sea during one and was kindly asked to please float further to one side so he wouldn’t be in the bridal photos. No problem, mon.
Lust: This was a resort for (mostly middle-aged) couples only which meant there wasn’t any meat-market-type leering even over on the nude beach. But as my “Sleep With No Boys” Polish granny used to say, “What, you think you invented it?” Lust isn’t confined to youth. ‘Nuff said…. free-flowing alcohol helps, too.
Envy: Oh, on the day of departure how I envied all those new arrivals. They had no idea what pleasures were in store for their vacations. I also envied those folks who told us this was their 10th or even 20th visit here! Why were they keeping it a secret!!!
Greed: The wildlife here maintain a careful, laid-back demeanor until you are at your most vulnerable, (i.e. asleep on your lounge chair) and then they strike! We watched birds swam bussed trays and swoop through the open dining room at breakfast and lunch. But, unlike the pigeons, crows and other scavengers of the north, these ninja birds make no sound. I slept through a barrage of birds eating an abandoned plate of nacho chips a mere 3 feet away from me.
Wrath: It was the wrath of Mother Nature we felt when we stepped out of the airport terminal into a biting snow. What a slap of reality to hear beeping horns and have to unfold our own napkins onto our laps. And no more animals made out of towels on my bed…..
Good bye, Jamaica and friends. We shall be together again.