I think it’s too late to write this entry, but I visited Portland and Boothbay Harbor, Maine in this September. I watched a musical play Carousel at Kokugakuin Tochigi High School performed by its musical club a few weeks before. Carousel is a musical that features a love story of a young girl and a barker in Maine, filmed in 1956. That inspired me to visit this state and, if I could, eat some lobsters and clambakes.
There were no direct flights from Tokyo to Maine, so I chose flights from Tokyo (Narita) to New York (JFK), and from LaGuardia to Portland (Maine’s largest city). All flights were Delta Airlines.
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Day 1: Tokyo to New York City and Portland, ME
The flight to JFK was noisy by Chinese passengers around my seat chatting all the time. A middle-aged Chinese woman next to me even talked to me in Chinese though I didn’t understand it. She was too helpful to me, lending a neck pillow to me and even giving me some local sweets (I couldn’t eat it because I didn’t know what was contained).
JFK Airport was busy, and there were long lines in front of the immigration. It took almost an hour to pass the immigration counter. I expected a free WiFi service in the building, but all hotspots were encrypted and payment was needed to get passwords to access to them. So I was IP-unreachabel until I had a new SIM card activated at Hudson News of that terminal. There were no vending machines of AT&T’s pay-as-you-go smartphone in that terminal.
I had to take a shuttle bus to LaGuardia Airport. I had to wait for a long time to get in the bus because busy traffic around JFK delayed its arrival at that terminal I was in. After I waited for more than 30 minutes, the bus managed to arrive. It took me to LaGuardia Airport, and let me off at the terminal B while I had to check in at the terminal C, so I had to walk thousands of feet on the walkway to the terminal C dragging my suitcase.
Thank God I managed to get to the boarding gate without missing the flight to Portland because it was delayed about one hour.
I had dinner within the food court of LaGuardia Airport. It was a combo of roasted beef sandwiches, a bowl of Manhattan clam chowder and a glass of white wine, costing about $50 including a tip.
After dinner, I bought Barrons at a local newsstand and got to the gate C12, where the next flight was supposed to be ready. Actually it wasn’t ready when I arrived, because the aircraft was so delayed that it didn’t arrive yet.
When the gate was ready, the staff told us that the aircraft was too small for our carry-on baggage to get inside the cabin. He gave each of us a baggage claim tag and put the same-numbered one to the corresponding baggage. He told us to leave our baggage on the shelf in front of the ramp before getting on the plane.
It took about one hour from New York to Portland, Maine. Getting off the plane, the passengers who had left their baggage were told to wait in the boarding bridge in front of the door to pick their baggage up, instead of picking it up at the baggage claim area.
It was 50 degrees outside. I felt it was much colder than New York and Tokyo. I took a taxi cab to take me to the motel. It was already midnight when I got there.
Day 2: Boothbay Harbor, ME
It was the video that I recorded next morning the motel where I stayed. It was very refreshing for me even to eat breakfast at such a standard American motel.
I walked 3/4 mile to the rental car office by the airport to check out a car I had made a reservation. I wanted to go to Boothbay Harbor, about 30 miles away from Portland, where I heard that Carousel was filmed.
It was a minivan that was assigned to me as a rental car. It was Nissan’s Quest, a bit larger and more difficult for me to drive as I usually drive a small car in wrong side of the road ;-p The maneuver of the car was a bit confusing because driver’s seat was on the left, a steering wheel was on the left, a gear stick on the right of me, a rear-view mirror on the right of me, and everything but the gas pedal and the brake pedal was on the opposite side to what was in a car I drove in Japan.
Driving in the US was a bit confusing, but it wasn’t so difficult. It was not so exciting as I expected, as roads in Maine weren’t so wider than normal country roads in Japan and I didn’t think it was quite different from that in Japan except that I was driving in the opposite side of the road.
It took about an hour from Portland to Boothbay Harbor, driving US1. Here are some pictures and videos of Boothbay Harbor.
I ate lobster rolls and steamed live lobsters at Shannon’s Unshelled and Boothbay Lobster Wharf.
That’s Carousel Marina, named after the musical film Carousel.
And this is Carousel Music Theater near that downtown Boothbay Harbor, where a musical troupe performs a show along with dinner. Actors and actresses of the troupe are waiters and waitresses as well, and they serve dishes for visitors as well as sing Hello Dolly‘s numbers and other oldies songs on stage.
Backyard is a footpath around Penny Lake.
Day 3: Portland, ME
Next day I walked around downtown Portland.
A guided tour with a boat was available at a wharf. I paid $24 to apply for a 90-minute lighthouse tour.
That’s Berlin Wall.
There was a restaurant at the wharf.
It’s fried clams. It wasn’t so nice though….
Day 4: Portland, ME to Detroit, MI, Seattle, WA, and Tokyo
I flew back from Portland to Tokyo via Detroit, MI, and Seattle, WA.
The more we headed to the west, the more I felt there were Japanese and other Asian people around us. In Detroit, there were signs written in English and Japanese. I don’t know why there were Japanese, and no other foreign languages in the signs.
In Seattle, I saw many Japanese tourists walking in the concourse, while I saw very few foreign people in Maine (99% of people in Maine I saw were Caucasian Americans!). I realized that the West Coast is the gateway to Japan!
I expected Microsoft Store or something like that in Seattle Tacoma Airport as Seattle is home to Microsoft, but there were no such stores in the concourse. Maybe American airports were not willing to sell local products. I didn’t find any local bourbon whiskeys in duty free shops, where they sold normal alcohols sold in standard international airports.
The departure information for the flight to Tokyo didn’t appear in the display, so passengers for that flight couldn’t get any terminal information of it. I didn’t know why.
I managed to get to the terminal S8 where the flight to Tokyo were going to depart, as I had TripIt in my smartphone and updated flight information came into it.
Actually I wasn’t so interested in cosmetics or expensive liquors sold in duty free shops, but I wanted to get American sweets, drugs and commodities sold in Hudson News. I bought them as many things as I could, because Seattle was the last stop and it was the last chance to get them in that country. I paid almost $100 there for candies, pain relievers, handy wet wipes, travel goods and more. I think I spent too much money.