Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weekend At The Beach

Last weekend was a long weekend for my husband (Monday was Memorial Day) and he knew I'd always wanted to go to a beach. This was a trip he'd planned a month or so before we got married.

This place, Cape Ann, is a little further north of Boston. Which means that it's a little colder out there. Daytime temperatures were in the low 70s, and nighttime temperatures in the low 50s. (Yes, I've become tuned to thinking of temperature in Fahrenheit, and distance in miles, and I am gradually tuning my brain to stop converting dollars to rupees when buying something.) That's low to mid 20s in the daytime, and between 10 and 12 in the night, if you think of the Celsius scale. So that's pretty cool weather for someone who has lived in Delhi all her life and was still there, less than a month ago. But it was quite pleasant in the daytime, when the sun was out, and since we were mostly indoors in the evenings, it was just fine.

We started our trip with an early morning whale watching cruise. There are lots of whale watch tours that begin at the harbour in the town of Gloucester. It was a slightly cold and very windy morning. I took my jacket along since I am not yet used to this weather, but Jatin did not. The lady at the ticket counter was considerate enough to point out that we should carry jackets, since it would be at least five degrees colder in the middle of the ocean. I think it was a lot colder than that! That was my first encounter with the sea. I never imagined that the first time I went near the sea, it would be the Atlantic Ocean, not the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal.

We did see a lot of whales that morning, and pretty active ones at that too. We learnt a lot about them too, from the tour guide who told us how they identify individual whales and how they follow where a whale is going when it is travelling just below the surface.

After the tour, we made our way to our little inn. It was a cosy little cottage built in colonial times, as were most of the cottages in the town. It is owned and run by an eighty three year old lady, with help from her family. We met her grand daughter, and we were told that she was herself a mother of two. It's amazing, the way a woman that old takes care of herself.

We'd planned to try out as many sorts of seafood as we could on this trip. Not that you don't get seafood here, further away from the coast, but out there, just about every restaurant serves seafood. Primarily seafood. We had salmon for lunch that day and headed out for a small beach near our inn in the evening. It was still a little chilly and windy, but way better than how it was in the middle of the ocean. Jatin went to test the water and see if he wanted to enter it, and came back with his toes freezing. We enjoyed a nice, cool, peaceful walk by the water, watching people walking their dogs, and kids running around after each other. It was so quiet, with nothing but the occasional squawk of a seagull stirring the silence.

We had dinner at a Mexican place, where the waiter was quite interested in talking to us about India and the Sikh religion. Mexican food is actually pretty good, since it is not too greasy, is nutritious, and is pretty close in taste to Indian food. Almost everything comes with beans and rice, which is just like rajma-chawal, except for minor differences in the sauce in which they cook the beans.

On our second day, we made our way to Wingaersheek beach, one of the larger and more beautiful beaches in the area. This is a more commercial place (we paid twenty five dollars for the parking!) with food stalls and beach equipment rentals. The good thing about beaches in the area is that they have a strict carry in, carry out policy. You have to take with you whatever you brought in. You have to take your trash with you. Leave behind nothing but your footprints. And people do that. It keeps the beaches clean. There were lots of people there, kids burying themselves in the sand, kids looking for seashells, girls splashing around in the water in bikinis (even in fifty degree weather, and much colder water), and people just walking about or relaxing by the seaside in their beach chairs or on their beach blankets. It actually began to rain just a few minutes after we got there, and it rained quite heavily for about fifteen minutes. We were afraid our trip was going to be ruined, but it did stop soon enough and the sun was back. We had a nice, long, lazy afternoon at the beach.

Later that evening, we went to a town called Rockport. This is a quaint little town, more like an eighteenth century English village, full of little gift shops, art galleries, ice cream parlours and ocean view restaurants. There was a place in there which had an amazing view of the sunset, in all its brightly coloured glory. It was a good place to spend an evening. We liked the place so much that we wanted to come back the next morning, to explore it properly in the daytime as well. And we did. We made a few purchases for our home from one of the art galleries, and tried to eat some lobster. After the first bite, I couldn't eat any more of it. Jatin tried to, and ended up feeling all weird afterwards. No more seafood for the trip, we decided. We had a chicken sandwich after that, and some fresh fruit.

We made our way to another place called Halibut State Park after lunchtime. This place has a beautiful quarry and a lovely view of the ocean. It's a great place to picnic with your family, or go fishing, or spend time taking pictures, or just walk about and relax by the water. We spent a couple of hours there before making our way back home.

We had a lovely trip, and we took a lot of pictures. As my mamaji pointed out, that way our parents always know what we are doing all the time. Taking pictures.

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