Nov 14, 2009

Adventures in Maine - Cities of the Androscoggin!

If you're from Maine, a real Mainer, you'll know the next line in the title.

Once my friend, Amanda, picked me up, we drove from Portland to the "L-A" area of Maine. I used to have family in the area, my grandfather. It has been almost six years since he died, the last time I was up that way. I forgot how nice it can be, strikingly different from city living. it was funny, as we drove through the area certain things began to look familiar. I asked my friend if a there was a little league ball park and community center nearby. She looked at me funny and said there was. I had to laugh. One of my fondest memories of my grandfather was hitting balls in that park one summer evening during a visit. We walked from his house to the park and he pitched to me until the lights came on. We walked back to his house and had ice cream afterwards.

I dropped my bag and freshened up while we waited for Amanda's friend to come by. Amanda and I talked about my tutoring job, since she used to be my boss, she was curious to know how things were going. After that, when her friend showed up, we tried to decide were to go that evening. Apparently, Fridays are the "off" night in Maine. People don't generally go out until Saturday. We decided on Italian food for dinner and went to a place called DaVinci's. Good food. I've found it can be difficult to get angel hair pasta to not be sticky because of its size. DaVinci's offering was excellent. They also serve "garlic knots," a buttery garlic bread role that also delicious. Amanda and I tried to take a picture together, while waiting for our food. Apparently neither of us can keep our eyes open! But we finally got a good one. After dinner I was shown different night spots in the area. The first, the Irish Twins, sounded promising. In Boston, Irish bars are synonymous with good beer and great company. It only seemed appropriate that an Irish bar in Maine have something similar to offer. I was wrong.

I was treated to my first "welcome to Maine" moment when the three of us entered the bar. I looked around at the place, which was of decent size. The bar was set up to the left of the door and to the right of the door, in the corner a band was setting up. On the one TV in the establishment, the Celtics game was playing with the sound on. There couldn't have been more than 60 people in the bar. I thought to myself, the place is dead. Not wanting to be rude, I kept my thought to myself. I'm glad I did because moments later, Amanda's friend commented on how busy the place was that night.

We did not stay at the Irish Twins long. Instead we opted to try a place called Gritty McDuff's or Gritty's for short. On the way to Gritty's I was told about a dance club called Babylon that was across the street from Gritty's. Perhaps some dancing would happen that evening...! We passed a beautiful church on the way to Gritty's. I didn't get the name, but the way it was lit up that night was breathtaking. Gritty's reminded me of the bar that I work at. A nice place that caters mostly to college students. In this case, Bates College. I guess because of the lack of things to do, Gritty's also gets the locals. Either way, it was filled up inside to a point that I felt was akin to a bar in Boston. Gritty's is a micro brewery so the stuff on tap is their own creation. It was quite good. Too bad the Celtics lost. It would have made the brown ale and pub standard lager taste that much better. I also saw my first black women in Maine at Gritty's. That wouldn't be worth mentioning had I just arrived in Maine. But since I had been in the state since 1:30 p.m. and it was going on 10:30 p.m. it was something that stood out, not to mention she was gorgeous.

Her name is Katie and she is a mix of African-American, French and "Indian" heritage. Not sure what type of "Indian" she meant. Could have been actual Indian from India or Native American, whichever it was, it was awesome. A petite build, light brown skin and wavy hair pulled back. Amanda and her friend thought she might be Latina, I approached her for clarification. It was funny because I don't think she expected me to talk to her. When I said "Hi" she looked up, a bit shocked that I was trying to make conversation.

The night ended with me and Amanda's friend drinking whiskey and playing a game called "What the F*ck." All in all a good trip, really a great diversion from the everyday routine.

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