So long and thanks for all the fish

So the idea that had ended up blossoming into this whole trip was, ‘maybe I should go to Provincetown for my birthday’. And here it was, Sunday, my birthday. I wasn’t particularly excited about it being my birthday, not a a milestone this time, and no honeyman to take me out to dinner or make me something fantastic at home. But I know how to treat myself nicely, had been doing so all week, and decided today would be ‘extra nice’.

Started with whale watching, a 10:00 tour. I boarded the boat, sat on the top deck in the very back (the back benches faced backward) and was soon joined by a tourist from Switzerland, we chatted for a bit. The weather was fantastic, sunny, not too cold with the layers I was wearing. We set off – Ptown is in a natural harbor protected by a ‘fishhook’ of land so we had to out and around that, and then paralleled the north shore. We didn’t really have to go out that far to start seeing spouts and so on. The clue to when to see a whale is to see the gathering of birds that will dip down and steal fish out of the whale’s mouths, and then the bubbles as they come up. What I found concerning is that the naturalist said over and over again that we had to navigate the boat in a way to be respectful of the whales and not actually disturb them – but every time we spotted activity, the boat just turned straight at them and charged.

So there were minor sightings here and there – a spout, a back, sometimes a tail. I eventually realized that I’d be better off taking videos rather than pictures (I was using a camera, not the iphone). But eventually we saw lots of whales, pods of 7 at a time, and the whole megilah – their mouths as they slurped up the sand eels they were eating, the backs as they dove and the tails. I know that whale watches promise you nothing, but this one was terrific, we saw lots of whale activity. I got a lot of video too, I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, though. The naturalist explained that the whales were feeding here now because (a) the food is plentiful and (b) they need to travel down to the Caribbean to birth their babies, and there’s no food for them there, so they literally have to live off their fat for like six months, while nursing calves.

(I got asked by friend Judy Weis, who’s a biology professor, which kinds of whales we saw. I honestly didn’t keep track, although he told us. I don’t think we saw any humpbacks.)

So that was super-successful, and we got back to the dock a little after 1:00. There was supposed to be a ‘drag brunch’ at 3:00 at the place where they’d done the drag karaoke, but (a) it turns out it was just a show, no food.. although the more I think about it, I’ll bet if it was where the karaoke was, you could have ordered food separately, and (b) it was cancelled anyway. So I went to Bubala’s (as high school friend Jonathan had commented, great place for people-watching) had a wasabi tuna sandwich and a margarita, not bad.

Back to the room for some proto-packing. Wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of the evening. When I went out again, I just walked around, but I ran into John and Tony, my British bear friends from the drag show, and we agreed to meet up at tea dance after I went to check yet again whether I could get my ferry ticket moved.

Tea dance this time around was far more fun than Friday had been – first, the weather was nicer so the outside space was far more usable. I got more than one come-hither smile, that was nice. Not only did I find John and Tony again, and some ‘insta-friends’ they’d been chatting with, which I joined, but I eventually saw theater friend Joe G, who I’d been hoping to run into (we’d seen on FB that we were both in town). So I met Joe’s friends and then Joe and I had a long very-in-the-weeds talk about our theater groups and friends and casting and all our other friends peeled off from boredom. It was totally fun! A reminder that that sort of event really is only fun if you are talking to people, whether existing friends or new friends or ‘my, you’re cute as a button, aren’t you’.

Said goodbye to all, then headed down the street. Everyone had said the Lobster Pot was really great, but I hadn’t had a chance to try it out yet. Showed up, they sent me up to eat at the bar upstairs. That was fun – I’d already been drinking bourbon, so didn’t want a cosmo, but the lady sitting beside me had a really fantastic looking one. I had a nice glass of wine and the lobster ravioli alfredo, which was scrumptious. I ended up chatting with Cosmo Lady, who’s one of those who spends four months a year there – that sounds really great, actually I also had a parfait for dessert, which was OK, not great. I never did have any cake, which means I’m still owed some, dammit.

And that was pretty much it for the birthday, back to my knitting and news and Drag Race like usual.

Monday (today): so I had not managed to move my ferry reservation. The plan was to go to the end of the dock by 9:00 am, when that office opened, and get on the waiting list. So I got up fairly early, started showering and packing at 7:00, went to breakfast as soon as it started at 8:00, then did a final cleanup and off. I’d already checked with the friendly Brass Key people – if I couldn’t get on the 10:30 ferry, they were fine with me coming back and hanging out in the lobby or on the patio until I had to leave for the 3:00, so I did have that as a backup. The thought in my head was to call a cab to get to the ferry dock, so I didn’t have to schlep the Big Suitcase all that way, but both taxi companies I called were booked. Sigh, oh well. So I just set out on foot with my backpack and suitcase and totebag and it turned out to be totally easy (thank goodness for suitcase wheels).

And I was the first on the waitlist, and then John and Tony showed up (they actually had gotten tickets ahead of time, smart boys). They, like me, were off to NYC, finishing up their US trip, although they were going to train back from Boston, not fly. I waited in line with them until they announced that the waitlist people should go up front, and then.. I got my ticket! Yay! So rejoined John and Tony and we got on board and sat together and were joined by a really interesting guy named Howard from San Fran, who we chatted with the whole trip. It was great, and reminded me how gay or ‘slightly gay’ situations like a ferry full of people coming from Provincetown really can just lead to strangers just chatting away and having a good time (and then friending each other on FB).

Once we got to Boston, I ended up getting off the ferry before John and Tony and didn’t really give them a proper goodbye, but I’d already given John my contact info and we have vague plans to meet for lunch on Wednesday, when I’m in the office. I was waffling whether to take the Silver Line to the airport or just grab a cab, but when I got out to the street, a gypsy cab driver snagged me and drove me and a nice lady from Wisconsin who’d been visiting her son and his husband (!) at their Provincetown house (!), so we had a nice chat going in.

Got to the airport about 12:30ish. My flight was at 3:00, so I waited in line to see if I could get on the 2:00 flight instead. I could, if I got a demotion in class, but I said, sure, it’s a short flight and ended up in “comfort plus” and that was fine. Ate a very quick (and very expensive) packaged sandwich and little box of cookies, just in time for boarding. We left at 2:00 and landed at 3:00, quite early and I was home 45 minutes later.

Thus endeth the travelogue, and starteth the beginning of what’s going to be a very busy fall!

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