Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Potatoes. Lobster. Mussels. And Anne.

I think that is all that PEI and its residents care for. I’m sick of all of them.

I rolled in on the red-eye early Thursday morning. JD picked me up with Saija, his friend Delaney and his sister in tow. We went to downtown Charlottetown and they ate mussels, I ate fries. The last time I ate mussels I visited the hospital. I figured my mussel aversion was mostly mental, but consider this a bit of foreshadowing. Subtle, huh?

From there we hit the beach at Dalvay in Prince Edward Island National Park.

It’s beautiful. And expensive. 20 bucks just to visit for the day, which seems a bit harsh. We had a quick swim, avoided the purple jellyfish and then I fell asleep on the beach and got sunburnt. It was worth it though. Not quite a Central Park nap, but damn close. After the beach we slowly made our way to Summerside, where JD’s family lives and everybody was staying.

The next day we had all sorts of things planned but they all fell through. We went to a campsite near Malpeque/Darnley and hit the beach again. It wasn’t quite as nice and the waves had chopped all the jellyfish to bits. I avoided the water and we then went to JD’s Aunt’s place for a little bit of a pre-non-wedding celebration. Their place was beautiful and the food was good. They cooked up a few boatloads of mussels and after hearing about it for hours I finally caved in and had three. I didn’t feel very good about it and wished I hadn’t eaten them.

After the party we went back to the beach and lit a fire. JD’s sister went swimming and it didn’t seem to kill her. Other than that, it was pretty non-eventful. We went back to the campsite where we all jammed into three tents. Well. There were two people in two smaller tents and a shitpile of us in a 4 man. I lay down for about 45 seconds before I started to feel a bit odd. I started walking towards the bathroom and made it halfway there before I started barfing. I left a nice little trail of breadcrumbs/vomit all the way to the washroom so that I could find my way back easily.

I staggered around the campsite for a while looking for new and exciting washrooms before heading back to the camp. I decided laying down was a bad idea so I cracked the window in the car and tried to sleep in the front seat. This worked for a while but then I barfed all over the campsite. I was hoping that somehow (miraculously) nobody had heard me attempting to hack up my stomach but the next morning everybody seemed to be looking around trying to figure out who had gotten sick. The drunks all looked fine and were accounted for so I had to admit that it was me. Guess I’m allergic to mussels.

We were supposed to go deep sea fishing the next day and it was pretty much high fives all around once we found out it was too rough to go out on the boat. Krista and I went home and I passed out for a good chunk of the day. Oh. Ya. Krista. Krista is my friend that lives in PEI. She has a very nice house and was nice enough to let me stay here. Good times.

This also happened to be the night of the non-wedding. I didn’t think I was coming out here for a wedding, but I was surprised to find out that JD and Saija had gotten married 6 months previous. Regardless, they decided to have a party in PEI and they held it at the Piping College. Everybody looked at me like I was really stupid when I asked what a Piping College was. I was thinking plumbing, but nope, bag-piping. They had a big stage and a bluegrassy sort of band entertained everybody.

I didn’t drink all that much and ended up tending bar for a while. Dealing with people at a bar is pretty funny. My favourite conversation was when a 60-year-old woman came up and ordered a glass of white wine. We had run out of the smaller wine glasses so I took a 500 ml glass and filled it halfway. “Fill it to the top honey, I’m just about to head home.” There was also one guy that kept asking for Coors Light and seemed more surprised each time I told him it had run out. And JD’s sister who kept leaving glasses of wine all over the place and getting mad when they got dumped out. Good stuff.

The next day was decent. A bunch of people had to leave, so we slowly headed for Charlottetown experiencing stops along the way. This included the bridge, dressing up as Anne of Green Gables and checking out Victoria on the Sea. All decently respectable things to do.

The vomiting and lack of sleep finally caught up to me that night and I slept really, really late. I talked Krista into taking me kitsch shopping and I was disappointed by the things on offer. We ended up at the Frosty Treat and I finally got to experience PEI fries with the works. Imagine the hugest helping of fries you’ve ever seen with layers of fried onions, peas and gravy and then topped off with a sliced up hamburger patty or two. Unfortunately I had left my camera at home.

The Frosty Treat is awesome. It reminds me of British Columbia 20 years ago. I wish we had things like this. I mean, the food will kill you, but it’s cheap, fresh and tasty. They have frozen yogurt if you’re concerned about your health. I ended up buying a Frostry Treat T-shirt at the kitsch store next door.

My last day in PEI was a long one. Krista drove me in to Charlottetown and I picked up my rental car. We bummed around town a bit and then headed back to Summerside. From there I headed out on the “North Cape Coastal Drive”. I saw some really cool shit. Seaside graveyards. The Bottle Houses. The West Point Lighthouse. And on and on.

To really smash a stamp onto the days forehead, I decided to end it with a trip to the Fisherman’s Wharf (World Famous!) and its 60-foot salad bar. Unfortunately…the line-up was out the door and didn’t seem to be moving all that quickly. This place was a lobster dinner factory jammed with tourists. I attempted to bum my way in, seeing as I was all alone, but the machine couldn’t deal with one person eating on their own. I decided to eat at the attached restaurant that served the exact same food, only with a 10-foot salad bar.

I asked the waitress about the sizing of the pound-and-a-half lobster. She said “It’s not too big. It makes a decent size meal. For a man.” Okay then. Pound-and-a-half it is! Oh. For my 38 dollars I also got salad bar, a bowl of seafood chowder, steamed mussels (which I swapped for a bigger bowl of soup), an amazingly fresh bun and biscuit and dessert. I was pretty full before the lobster came out and I felt kind of sick when she said “They gave you a two pounder.” I felt like I was in some sort of eating contest and first prize was retaining my dignity on the way out the front door. I ate it all and I don’t think I will ever eat a whole lobster again. It’s good, but whatever. I’ll take a claw next time and be happy.

I also spent a day in Moncton. Don't go to Moncton.

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