In which a Canadian girl goes to Maine

Three menopausal sisters, a twenty-something daughter, and a soon-to-be-daughter-in-law pile in a truck and drive to Maine.

... I don't have a punch line, I'm afraid.

'Few weeks back I went to Maine with the ladies of T's family. I...

  • ...ate a properly cooked steak! I didn't realize that meat could melt like that.
  • ...found all the remaining bits needed to complete my Animaritime costume on time
  • ...went yard-saleing for the first time!
  • ...witnessed an anime convention by accident. We saw all the people in costumes walking around the convention hotel and the nearby mall.

Storefront of the British Goods store
A stinkin' adorable shop in Freeport. They had a whole window display of Doctor Who swag

A bracelet made to look as if it is a chain of toonies Three shelves of blue teapot lamps, at least two lamps deep
A bracelet made of fake toonies. SO MANY TEAPOT LAMPS

Highlight the First

While driving through what I think is probably one of the least-populated sections of the highway, we suddenly all had to pee. Our choices were pretty limited - the ditch or the kind of gas stations that horror movies are filmed in. Neither choice was good, and the situation was getting... dire. Suddenly, an angelic choir and a majestic parting of the clouds alerted us to a glistening white sign just ahead - 'IRVING', it glowed, and we all sighed in near-relief.

But the sign was a trap! Here was not the whitewashed buildings with their cleaned-thrice-daily washrooms that I remember from childhood car trips, to which admittance was granted by a token purchase of a bottle of Dr. Pepper and a bag of chips. No, this was a bafflingly arranged Ma-'n-Pa store, that also happened to have a serious grudge against animals.

Assorted animal furs and animal tails hanging from wires
There was a mouse trap nailed to a sign next to the furs - "Animal Activists - to register a complaint, please press the button below."

Everyone took turns in the tiny, wood-paneled, much-graffitied bathroom with a toilet that refused to flush, while I stoked each of the furs and inspected the posted prices. I was sorely tempted to blow half my shopping budget on a full gray fox skin ($74.99), or at the very least a lovely sliver of white ermine ($14.99). But, as I reached the bottom of the price chart, I knew destiny would only allow me to walk away with one purchase: Coyote Faces: $3.99

Several coyote faces clipped to a hanger

That such total barbarism could be put so unabashedly on display was stunning to me; the price point of the pithily named coyote faces merely emphasizing the flippant disregard for the life of a creature that, to a city-dweller, is semi-mythical.

As I paid for my coyote face and tried to contain my baffled glee, one of the cashiers asked if I was from Canada. They probably get that reaction a lot, but I didn't mind. I was the proud new owner of a coyote face! A weird treasure, and an amazingly soft scrap of fur which will keep me content until the bunnies are home for the winter. (Writing it out makes it sound really creepy, but it's true.) It even has whiskers!

Highlight the Second

The second highlight of my whole trip was going to the headquarters L.L. Bean in Freeport. I have yet to be able to describe to anyone how bizarre the whole experience was, but I'll try again.

First of all, the store is actually more of a campus - there's a cluster of stores that are grouped around a central sort of park area. As far as I can tell, the largest building is the clothing section, which spans two (three?) floors, but it is also connected to the hunting, camping, and biking sections. Secondly, they're open 24 hours a day. Thirdly, they have a trout pond with real trout in it inside the clothing store. There was a mustachioed man in water waders doing a live fly fishing demonstration.

The store's heritage of an outdoors-y store greatly flavored the decor. Almost everywhere you looked there was wood and taxidermy. And it was quite surreal to leave the clothing section and arrive at the shotgun counter.

Sam laughing in front of a taxidermy grizzly
"HAHA! I laugh in the face of DANGER!"

But, my favourite part of the whole store was the giant "riverbed" aquarium they had in a hallway. At one end of the aquarium was a thick plastic bubble. You could crawl under and pop your head up, and it was like you were actually in the water with the fishes.

The whole time I was there, there was a constant stream of children swarming in and out of it. I almost had to fight them to get a chance at the bubble - and this was after eleven at night. Totally worth it, though, because we got probably the best photo ever taken of me:

Sam under a bubble, grinning and staring starry-eyed at several large, ugly fish swimming near her face

Overall, the trip was really fun, though it involved quite a few more dead animals than I had accounted for.

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In which a Canadian girl goes to Maine

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