Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Postcard number 4

Hello!  I'm in the library in Harwich, Massachussets, using one of their free WiFi time-limited PCs.  It focusses the mind, only having 15 minutes to use a PC.  Apparently it reboots after 15 minutes and you lose EVERYTHING.  The nice man at the front desk emphasised that several times.  He didn't say it out loud but I'm pretty sure there was a "Mwahahahahaaaaaaa" in his head.

I will have to try for brevity and spareseness of prose, rather than rambling on with no apparent point like I usually do.  Maybe bullet points?  If I could find the right button. 

American keyboards are different.  I just wasted about 45 seconds of my 15 minutes trying to find the @ sign.  It's above the number 2, for those of you who find yourselves in a similar predicament.  My typing, always emphatic and  noisy is multiplied a thousandfold in the silence of a library.  I sound like someone repeatedly whacking a sheet of solid plastic with a small hammer, like an elven shoemaker on a tight deadline.

Gah!  10 minutes gone already.  This is hellishly pressured.  I usually just write more or less in a continuous stream of consciousness, sometimes stuffing photos into the mix, but all I can think about now is GAHHHH LOOK AT THE TIME.

Ooh, also, the return key is small, and right next to the //// key, so I keep inserting lines of slashes where they have no busines to be.  Reminds me of my days as the world's least competent computer programmer. 

So. Holiday.  We're now in Massachessets, on Cape Cod, in the glorious sunshine.  The birds are singing, the chipmunks are frisking on the lawn and all is well with the world.  Later today we are off to the beach. 

Driving through Boston yesterday afternoon was interesting, in a nose to tail kind of way, but once we got through the city it was clear and mostly straighforward.  Crossing the Sagamore Bridge is always fun, it's bloody high up.

Said a sad farewell to our New Hampshire mates, they were incredibly kind and hospitable, and we are determined not to leave it so long next time before we see them again.  

Bah, 2 minutes to go.  It's difficult to be fascinating and witty when you can't sit and gawp out of the window for long minutes in between sentences, or roam the Internet as you look for the correct spelling or a relevant reference.  How did those Romantic Poets do it?  I've got a big white linen shirt on, I thought that was all it took.  Apparently not.

Heh.  Just managed to swap across to a 30 minute PC, so I can add a few more things.  Assuming you're still with me of course.

Driving in America is very straightforward, once you get your head around the whole "wrong side of the road" thing.  The Interstates and turnpikes are fantastic.  They are designed (well, up here at least) with broad strips of greenery, or even a small wood, in between the two carriageways, so it often feels as though you are driving on a single direction road, which is much less stressful than the motorways at home.  Plus it makes looking for wildlife much easier.  I was very disappointed not to see any moose while we were up in Maine.  I wonder if they really exist, or if they are in fact mythical creatures, much like the unicorn. 

Everywhere you go, all the shops sell the inevitable tourist stuff - t-shirts, mugs, fridge magnets, keyrings - and in Maine and New Hampshire they were either decorated with moose or lobsters.  Sometimes both.  We found a shop selling some rather funky t-shirts in Boothbay Harbor, and Mr WithaY and I stocked up.  We are now the proud owners of matching (albeit different coloured) t-shirts that say "Shit Creek Survivor" on them.  How we laughed.

I also have a baseball cap with Maine on the front.  I plan to wear it a lot when I get home. 

The only thing I find odd is the toll stations every few miles.  The tolls vary from State to State, and it seems from road to road.  Some are 75 cents, some are a dollar, some are 3 dollars.  It makes driving that bit more exciting - tollgate roulette. 

Oh, and when we were at LL Bean, the biggest huntin' shootin' fishin' kayakin' gardenin' store we had ever seen, I found a travel guitar.  Yes, I really did.  Reader, I bought it.

The woman at the checkout said "I didn't even know we sold these!"  It's a rare skill I have, guitar-dar. 

It is made by Washburn, and sounds excellent.  It came with a hard shell travel case, a set of picks, a strap and a set of backpack straps, and I love it already.  Yes, I needed another guitar.  Of course I did.  Shhh.  Mr WithaY amuses himself by doing George Formby* impersonations when I get it out of the case. 

Plans for the remainder of our stay on the Cape:

  • Go to a drive-in movie.
  •  Go to Nantucket and look at the whaling museum.  Last time we went over there it was closed for the summer, and we were almost drowned** on the incredibly rough crossing back. 
  • Go to the fire station down the road and take some photos of the fire engines.  I have wanted to do that since our first visit, 16 years ago, and always chickened out.  This is the year. 
  • Train a chipmunk to sit on my hand.  And get a photo as evidence. 
 Holidays.  Aren't they great?

*Formby, not Foreman.  He pretends he is playing a ukelele, not being a boxer, or grilling meat healthily. 
**Not really, but it was scary


Middle Sis said...

I expect Mr. W is thrilled with the travel guitar! I expect you to play some old American folk songs on your return.

Isabella Golightly said...

I just had to say that, besides being all huntin' shootin' fishin' and deliverance-y, LL Bean does a great range of women's clothes for those of us who haven't yet fallen into the fully-fat camp but who can't find stuff to wear in mainstream shops. They are a godsend plus - who knew? Travel guitars! Way to go, Missus!

Small Town Girl said...

Lovely vacations !!!
really amazing holidays on your side ..... Enjoy :)

livesbythewoods said...

Middle Sis, he is loving it. LOVING it.

Isabella - I bought jeans. As well as the guitar. I am hoping that I will only have to wear them for a few months before my skinny slinky hips are too narrow for them, but given the amount of lobster and ice-cream I have been packing away, that day may be a while off.

Small town girl - we are having a great time, thank you!