Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

An Afternoon on the Beach

We got up fairly late, had breakfast at the hotel and then wandered into the rather busy Old Orchard Beach district just to see what was there. It took us a while to get parked and then it was 2 dollars an hour, though the municipal parking was just as much, there were plenty of $5 a whole day lots as well. Since we were just wandering about long enough to look and, maybe, have lunch we just put enough change into the meter to get us through an hour or two.

Old Orchard Beach
The first thing we saw was a lovely little puzzle, game, and book store that had lots of very intriguing games, puzzles, and problem books, and John and Jet found a "puzzle" that was made up of a large number of magnetic X's that could be fit together to make a dodecahedron. I found an intermediate Kenken puzzle book that used multiplication and division, instead of just addition and subtraction or the logical fit of Sudoku, so that Jet and I could go through it. The coolest thing was that the lady that was the owner and seller of things, added a free pencil, sharpened right there, to the book so that I could do it immediately if I wished. I loved that touch.

The beach tourist town was packed with people, with food stands, a pier with lots of kitch items, and beach shops filled with stuff "on sale", though it is starting to get later in the season so maybe they did need for it to get sold. And on the way out we did manage to get Jet a new pair of swim trunks. We walked and oogled, and saw a bunch of "marshmallow guns" that shot mini marshmallows, but they were just blow guns made from PVC, there were no cool push or pump action to them at all. Too easy to make.

We also got this shot from the pier of the beach below. It was just packed with people, too. Just like all the shops and streets, and fried food places. We did get a pretty good deal for Jet for lunch as there was a 99 cent "Hot Dog and Coke" deal at one of the stands. We got only that and the guy looked a little disgruntled, but Jet was very happy with his hot dog and small Coke. The Coke definitely affected him as he was very happy and energetic as we went back toward the hotel and then just went a little bit further to "Salty Bay Seafood".

Our Fine Dining View
We found a much quieter view of the marshes flowing into the sea, and got great fried clams and scallops, with big slab fries, plenty of ketchup and tarter sauce. We bought our drinks at a local market that carried the Eli's Blueberry Soda and really enjoyed ourselves out on the picnic tables. Salty Bay did only a very few things, but they did them very well, and at good prices compared to what we'd found in the tourist side of town. Just boxes of fried seafood, fries were extra, and drinks a bit more. They also had some hamburgers, hot dogs, and lobster rolls. I just went for the clams as I was craving them, and John got scallops. The clams were big and meaty and the scallops sweet and perfectly cooked. Jet as actually tempted by the scallops and started eating them happily along with the fries. From there we went back to the hotel, put on swim suits and sunscreen and spent the afternoon out on the beach.

On the way out to the beach, Jet said meditatively, "You know, I'm the first person to ever open these pockets." He ripped open the velcro on the pocket. "There. First time!"

I loved that he did that.

The hotel had a small strip of near private beach compared to the chaos right by the Old Orchard Pier. When we first got out onto the sand it looked nearly empty but for a pocket of people that had come out from another, larger hotel. The sand, though was an odd texture, and it was wet clear through from nearly 30 feet above the waves all the way down to the surf. That felt very strange, and both boys told me, "It just doesn't dry out at all when we try to build with it."

To the leftOur BeachTo the Right

It was also full of gravel, shells, and bits of glass. I'll never quite get used to the sheer amount of evidence of people on East Coast Beaches compared to the West Coast ones... the bits of white, green, and brown glass were mixed all thorough the sand as were bits of black bark, the same color as was on the paths to the beach. That was kind of funny to see. After they built a few towers and the tide started to come in and destroy things, the three of us all went out into the water.

Maine water is colder than Florida water. *laughs* I should have figured that out the way I found out that Santa Cruz water was significantly colder than San Diego water. Still, it was the Atlantic, and the waves never went much over my armpits, and the water when we got out far enough was lovely and warm at the surface, cool underneath, with bits of red seaweed coming in with every wave. The nice thing was that in order to get out beyond the breakers, the water was still only about chest high. I squeaked each time the water touched more warm skin, and a lady that was already out in the waves smiled at me when I squeaked and squealed with each successive wave that got more and more of me wet.

It really felt cold!! Really it did. The funny thing was that after getting into it for long enough, it didn't feel that cold anymore, and the air felt colder. *laughs* It was really good for my arms and hands, I think, and it was nice to be out there, and just swim for a while. Eventually, I managed to relax enough to lay on my back and just float out there. I loved that... just blue sky above, and coolness below, and nothing much to worry about as the swells would bring me up and down as they liked, and I didn't have to worry about jumping for them or anything. There were no real currents to worry about either, not like at Hammonasset, or the rip tides around San Diego or Santa Cruz.

I could just float around and I didn't move at all relative to our towel. That felt like a mild miracle. *laughs*

Sand Castle!
After being out there for a while, I came back in and tried my hand at a sand castle. Learning from the boys' attempts, I found out that there was water seeping into the sand from further up, that there was a constant sheet of water coming down all the time. So I had to build a moat above the castle to channel the waters around it as well as one below to channel the incoming tide if I wanted to. The moat above allowed the sand to dry enough to actually drain and stand above the base, and then I could actually hold it in place long enough for it to drain, dry, and stick.

That let me build a far taller castle than I thought I could. I managed to cut the hell out of one finger while doing it, whether it was on a shell or on a bit of glass I don't know, and I got badly startled by two "sand worms" that I dug up. John had found another three or four of them, and they were about eight inches long, with thousands of legs on either side, lots of little segments, and if they were put in a pool of water over the sand, they would undulate their bodies in quick graceful waves, and dig themselves back into the sand. Beautiful and creepy all at once.

I did three of them. *laughs* As the tide was coming in, and finally perfected the whole technique of the moats and building so that I got a castle that was nearly knee high. Covered in sand, I went back out into the water, past the swells, and swam about a little more, but found that I was now so tired, I had to go back in. The three of us hit the hotel shower. The hot water was eratic and irritatingly the fluorescent lights kept having trouble coming on. The beach more than made up for it, but it still managed to make me a little grumpy. *laughs*

Portland Head Light
From the hotel we headed into Portland proper and found out that things like Portland Glass and Star Portland Matches were all made here, not in Oregon. *laughs* There was also this lovely, classical lighthouse on the end of Portland Head, and John found out about it, so we went out there just to look and see. It's one of those things that everyone around here paints. It would be fun and funny to do it in Chinese watercolors, though more traditional to do it in regular watercolors on watercolor paper... especially with the way the sky was today and the way the rocks looked. The thing is just gorgeous.

Portland itself is pretty gorgeous as well, with the marinas, the boats, the water, and real honest to gosh cobblestone roads. We were pointed at several wonderful place to eat by a classmate of ours that lives here, but was gone to New Hampshire for the week, and so we found a lovely little brew pub with wonderful food, good beers, and a great kids menu. They also had these triangular crayons that were very, very cool, as they fit in a little triangular box, and didn't roll around on the table at all. Jet was fascinated by them, and we've kept them for later use as well.

Portland Cobblestones
We wandered about to look at things as well. Just going up and down the steep streets, and then down to the water front marina to look at all the ships. There was a floating city in the shape of a cruise ship that was in during the day, but then pulled out at dusk to do whatever such things do. We ended up at Beal's Old Fashioned ice cream shop that had a steady stream of people going through it the whole time we were there, and each had a cone and ate it steadily as we watched people wander through.

Sunset from the Hotel
From there we headed back to the hotel, and I managed to get another of those sunsets on the camera, just to prove that it wasn't just my flash going off the night before. *laughs* Really! It was a sunset! There's another one just to prove the point that they are lovely out here even if they're not over the water.

John went out for a walk to see more of it, and see the sand and the water one more time. We're going to have to head out of the hotel fairly early in the morning for us. A week here and I still haven't really "adjusted" to East Coast time. I just stay up late and wake up late, and nearly missed the 10 am breakfast this morning. But we actually have to be out of the room by 10 am. So we'll be up earlier and head back toward Connecticut so that we'll be closer to the airport where we fly out on Thursday. Jet and I had fun with a video game for a while, and then I put him to sleep and I should soon follow.
Tags: jetticism, travel

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