After 3 months in the Canadian Atlantic Maritime Provinces, we had to leave our July rental in Halifax, Nova Scotia a week early to get Steven to the U.S. to fly home. He spent two days in Berkeley on business and arrived back in Portland, Maine exhausted. Our American Consulate in Halifax, Nova Scotia explained that as “visitors”, not residents in Canada, we were low priority for an appointment with the Consular Notary…and, “Maybe in three weeks we can get you an appointment”. Unfortunately, the only valid Notary Stamp from outside the U.S. is a Consular Notary. A bizarre response; when I used the Consulate for Notary Public services several times in Nuevo Vallarto, Nayarit, Mexico in 2009, the staff was extremely accommodating, because after all, they work for us.
“Down East” was a mariner’s description of the Maine ports from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian Border. They are both downwind and in an easterly direction leaving the port of Boston. In spite of gorgeous rocky coastlines in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, we had to visit our own homegrown version, Acadia National Park. We viewed the lovely islands from atop Cadillac Mountain, and enjoyed the beaches, car-free carriage roads, and winding roadways…and found it no different from the Canadian Maritimes… other than a lot more crowded! However, we also enjoyed the far cheaper sales tax, booze, and fuel prices. We already knew from the Canadian fishermen that the lobster catch was enormous this year, driving prices down to $4 for each 1 lb. lobster. We are sorry that we did not get to explore the Great North Woods that covers much of Maine. Perhaps, if you really like to shop on vacation, and don’t want to cross the border to enjoy the quiet beauty of the Canadian Atlantic Maritimes? Go “Down East”, young man.
Portland, Maine and our friends Camille and Scott, their organic garden, and hot showers were calling. It is always hard for us to separate our enjoyment of a city, from our enjoyment of our friends there, especially old family friends who became molto simpatico new buddies on this visit. Yep, we loved walking this small city with curvy, eccentric back streets like Boston, enjoyed bike trails to lighthouses and Prouty’s Neck, and stops at rocky beaches.
We wished we had a boat with an engine to go visit some of the Casco Bay “Calendar Islands” (because there are 365 of them). Our kayak would be no match for the ocean kayaking conditions here. We got a hoot out of the biggest digital sign, on the tallest building in Portland with the message, “Call Joe”. No one we asked knows exactly who Joe is, just believing the urban myth that he is an ambulance chasing plaintiffs attorney. Not such a good marketing device if no one knows how to “Call Joe”.