Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cruise Day 5 : Portland, ME

Portland, Maine - Our first cruise stop in America. And we all had to go through immigration inspection to make sure that we all were properly documented before any of us could set foot on American soil.

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This was another get up and early day for us. I knew that we would likely have to be showered and dressed earlier than our "normal" 10:30 am (if we were at home) wake up time. So I started getting ready around 8 am, and made sure that Lili would get that extra hour of rest.

For a change, Lili understood what was going on, though she felt it was a bit strange. It seems (from other cruisers) that when a cruise ship makes its first stop in an American port, that immigration comes on to make sure people are fully documented. This is very different from my first cruise to Alaska (in 1997, before the 9/11 attacks), where we stopped in Canada twice, then made our American stops without the headache of separate immigration and customs inspections.  So we got on line and proceeded to one of the lounges for immigration inspection. And again, being confident about my documents and noting that my current gender presentation differs from that in my passport by using my male voice made all the difference - they've seen it all before.

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At this point, Lili and I were ready to leave the ship. Once off, she got into her usual "can you tell me where a good restaurant is" routine. She has no idea of taking a stab at things and moving forward.  Most people in a tourist area have no clue about which places are good. And locals won't understand what you are looking for. But there is a good clue about which places are good - the crowds, when they are further away from the usual starting point. If you are slightly off the beaten track, and the place is filled, then the place is likely to be good.  It's hard to put this into words, but I think we all have had those special finds when exploring areas in which we have little familiarity. Eventually, Lili and I settled down at a restaurant, and had nice Lobster salads. But to me, things were a little tarnished, as she spent more time hunting for the elusive good meal than having that good meal.

On our way back from the restaurant, she looked at every little piece of jewelry being sold by push cart vendors. As much as her want to look at glittery things is driven by her interest in selling things from one of these stands, I can understand it for her. And she projects the idea that all women are interested in glittery things - which is not the case. I never saw Ex-GF-M, GFJ, GFL, or even my late wife stopping at every display to examine the overpriced goods being sold by these vendors.

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When we returned to the ship, I wished we could have stayed on shore a little longer. But it was not worth the effort today. I was more in the mood to relax.  So when Lili came out of the bathroom (eating too much or eating/drinking the wrong things will force extra bathroom visits), we proceeded to look at photos taken of us by the ship's photographers. And they didn't look that good, so we passed on them. Then it was back to the room where we could rest - and I got in contact with Ex-GF-M, the Cat Lady, GFJ, BXM, YGM, and my niece. (Thankfully, I had cell phone connectivity while in port. It was nice to be able to send a few pictures to people while on vacation, and to exchange quick messages without an excessive service fee.)

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