In order for this to not be too overwhelming (for me to write or for you to read), I’m splitting my vacation post into a few sections. Read Part 1 here.
Note: This post is pretty link-heavy. Many of the links go to my photos from the trip. If you want to see all the photos together, go here.
Tuesday: We had another full schedule planned for this hot, humid day. Seriously, it was unbearable outside by 9 AM! First on our list was the Portland Museum of Art, but it didn’t open until 10 AM. So we walked around the area and had some breakfast at a coffee shop called Coffee By Design. GG had a coffee and this yogurt parfait, and I had a muffin and the most delicious chai latte. Also while we were there, this really weird lady in an electric wheelchair kept rolling through, backing up, and knocking into stuff in the narrow space. That was awkward. After breakfast we still had some time to kill before the museum opened, so we walked around the area, including Monument Square. It was so hot, though! Not good for walking around aimlessly. So eventually we went back to the museum and sat outside until it opened. While there, we noticed that the area across the street, which was a brick-paved square that always seemed to have bums sitting around, was taped off with police tape, and they were cleaning blood off the bricks! GG wondered what happened (we had walked by there less than an hour before and everything was fine), and I suggested that there had been a bum fight. So for the rest of the week, we referred to that place as Bum-Fight Park.
When the museum opened, we were mostly grateful to get into the air conditioning! We were directed to the information desk for a map, and had a little conversation with a woman there about the exhibits, as well as some places in Maine we should visit. She recommended that we take the elevator up to the top floor and work our way down. I think the elevator was an exhibit itself, the walls were covered with some poem about balloons..? As we went through the galleries, we were surprised to find a large collection of work by N.C. Wyeth, whose homestead is near us in southeastern PA. (We actually went to the Brandywine River Museum and toured the Wyeth house and studio a few months ago, remember?) They had a bunch of other neat exhibits, including a large collection of sculptures, and Winslow Homer’s watercolor kit, which I just think is so cool. Then the museum connects to a house called the McLellan House, which was actually the original museum (the last residents had a large art collection and donated the house and art to the city, and I guess the real museum was built onto it later). The house itself is now an exhibit on architecture of the period. It’s pretty cool because most historic homes you tour are set up with period furniture and stuff, but there’s no furniture in the McLellan house (well, there’s a few modern chairs if you need to sit down). Doing it this way you can really focus on the neat architecture, and signs in each room point out unique features.
After the museum, we went to a restaurant that was highly recommended for lunch – Duck Fat. Oh. My. Gosh. It is a good thing we live 450 miles away from this place or we’d probably have heart attacks from eating here so much. Although they have salads and things, the main specialty is panini sandwiches and French fries made in duck fat (served with fancy sauces like truffle ketchup and chili mayonnaise). It was very crowded, but we got a seat at the end of a bar by the wall. GG had a meatloaf panini and I had the B.G.T. (bacon, goat cheese, tomato), which was very good. We shared a large cone of fries. They were good, but in general they didn’t really taste any different from regular French fries, in my opinion – except for the ones that were smaller, crispier bits. In those I think you could taste the duck fat. Although they are apparently also famous for their milkshakes, we each had a refreshing half and half (or Arnold Palmer), served in a mason jar.
We stopped in at a couple shops on our way back to the hotel, where we had another afternoon nap. Then we got up and went to our evening activity, going to a minor league baseball game of the Portland Sea Dogs (a feeder team for the Boston Red Sox). I’m not really sure what a Sea Dog is, but theirs is named Slugger. It’s like a seal with a dog’s head. I had checked their web site to see what nights they’d be playing while we were in town, and GG picked Tuesday because it was “Star Wars night” at the stadium. We hadn’t looked at who they would be playing. When we got to the stadium, we got our tickets, and didn’t really look at them. But the whole time, GG had been saying wouldn’t it be funny if they were playing the Reading Phillies, our local minor league team? We walked into the stadium and I checked the tickets to get our seat numbers. Guess who they were playing! The Reading Phillies! We came all that way just to see our own team – haha! We’d gotten there really early, so we had great seats right behind home plate, and we were able to watch the RPhils warm up a little bit. GG talked to their coach (who’s number, coincidentally, was 33 – the age GG was turning the next day). The Star Wars parade around the stadium, which GG thought was going to be a big crowd of Star Wars nerds, turned out to be a bunch of kids in costumes. Other than that, the only thing that made it “Star Wars night” was that they had some Star Wars trivia questions, and the Sea Dog rode a cart with Obi Wan. We had some snacks/dinner there, and did have a nice evening, but it was getting late and the RPhils were kind of sucking, so we left I think in the 8th inning and went to back to the hotel for bed.
Before we left for vacation, I noticed this weird lump thing in the back of my throat, which sort of felt like there was a piece of food constantly stuck there, and that night my throat was getting sore and I started worrying – what if I need an emergency tonsillectomy or something? What if I have to be rushed to the hospital and am stuck in Maine, or what if I have to rush home and go to the doctor? I was semi-freaking out, so I tried looking up on the computer if there were any drugstores around that had one of those quick clinics in them. There didn’t seem to be any in the Portland area, though. So I asked at the front desk if they knew of somewhere that I could go in the morning to just see a doctor quickly, and they recommended this place associated with the Maine Medical Center. So GG said we could go there in the morning before our big activity for the day. I felt so bad for potentially ruining our vacation with my wacky health issues!
Wednesday Morning: We got up early and found this clinic. I’d read that most patients were in and out within 80 minutes, which puts the emergency room to shame! It was supposed to open at 9 AM, but we got there at like 8:55 and there were already two people checking in and two more in line. That’s a plus in my book – they open on time! I got checked in and gave them all my information, and sat down in the waiting area with GG. Just a couple minutes later a nurse came out and called me back, so I left GG and headed in. She did all the regular checks (temperature, blood pressure, oxygen, current medications, etc.), and we talked for a minute about how I was there on vacation and what we’d done already that week. About 15 minutes later, a doctor came in to look at my throat. I don’t know if he didn’t see that giant bump in there, but he didn’t say anything about it. He just took some swabbings and said they’d be cultured and I’d have results in half an hour. I sat in my little fabric-curtained area and waited, and meanwhile two women in extreme pain were placed in the bed next to mine (one after the other), which were sort of funny to listen to, but mostly I didn’t want to touch anything and wanted to wash my hands hard when I left. The results of my test took a little longer than 30 minutes, and I text messaged poor GG out in the waiting room to let him know that’s what I was waiting for. Finally the doctor came back with my results and said I didn’t have strep throat, so I had something viral. They recommended Tylenol and popsicles. Then the nurse came to give me my check-out paperwork, and that was it! (I still do have that bump in the back of my throat, but it’s been less annoying feeling the last few days, and my throat hasn’t been sore again, so I don’t know what it is.) GG and I booked it out of there, grabbing a squirt of hand sanitizer on our way out, went back to the hotel to park and wash our hands, and then went out to really start our day. Overall, that little detour took about two hours.
Continue to Part 3!