Thursday, May 31, 2007

Day 02

Today was kind of an administrative day as we had lots to sort out.

We woke up to lousy weather - a real soft sort of day. But when the rain stopped we both went for a run. Well, more like a bit of a shuffle. We were out for 21 minutes but didn't really go very far. We are both getting back into running after a long lay off so it's tough going for both of us.

We checked out of the hotel and went for a good old American breakfast in the first place we saw - The Paugus Diner. Then we got down to business. First we went to Walmart to pick up some supplies. Then we went to 4 different shops trying to find a SIM card for our phones so that we could ring American numbers with our Irish handsets. All the (pretty vacant) people in the shops looked at us like we had 2 heads when we asked to buy just a SIM card. Eventually, we found a Radio Shack though and bought a Cingular phone for only $20.

Next, we went into Laconia to a cafe called Awakenings because I had seen that they had free wi-fi access. We spent about two hours there and got loads of stuff sorted out including (most importantly) a rental car for the next month. The place was very quaint and pretty cool to hang in. I ordered a cappuccino and was very impressed. It's not easy to satisfy my snobbish taste but the coffee was just the right amount of espresso, milk and foam. Paulo opted for the smoothie (much to the staff's surprise, without whipped cream).

Weirs Beach is described as a curious slice of honky-tonk Americana and I would have to agree. There are junk food stands, video arcades and a drive-in cinema. The weather was lousy but we hung out on the promenade for a bit, eating pizza and taking pictures of what we could. Since it was raining, none of the mini-golf courses were open so we decided to go to Funspot. What a great place! I'm not much of a video game fan but this place is seriously impressive. There is a big sign at the entrance that states the video arcade museum pays homage to the era of coin operated game machines. It has over 220 games and must contain every single arcade game ever made - the original machines! There is even an original Pong game from 1972. Ironically, as we strolled around to check out all of the games the song 'Games People Play' by The Alan Parsons Project was playing.

We decided to have a go at skee ball and won enough tickets to get a 'lucky' green rabbits foot. Watch this space to see if it actually works...

Next we had a best of three series in air hockey which Paulo won although I would argue I was robbed since the points counter on my side didn't work properly and I actually scored about half of his points for him. Then it was on to the hockey game that resembles foos ball (I don't know the proper name for it). Again we played a best of three series. I won the first game at the buzzer (the only goal), Paulo won the second game in OT and I won the
third in OT. It was a great way to spend a few hours on a rainy day.

This evening we decided to get a take-away, a six pack and pulled into the first motel we saw, a Super 8. We ate and chilled out watching the fifth game of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. In a really exciting game
(including 2 OT periods), the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Detroit Pistons and took a 3-2 lead in the series.

Quotes of the day:
Me - "It's a nice day out... if we were ducks".

Me (speaking to the woman at the front desk of the hotel when we checked out) - "Do you know if
there is a Walmart around here"?
Woman - "Yes".
Me (after a few seconds pause) - "Can you tell me how to get there"?
Woman - "You just asked me if there was one here and now you want me to tell you where it is"?
Paulo & I just looked at each other...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day 01 - The Beginning

Welcome to Tarmac Soul - a daily (b)log of life and times for me and Paulo on the road this summer. The trip kicked off with our flight from Dublin to Boston today. We arrived into Logan at about 16:00 (local time) to good weather and lots of traffic.

The flight over was not too bad considering that we were surrounded by bin lids who were either crying, screaming, shouting or pooping the entire way over. Fortunately, Paulo had scored us emergency exit seats so we had plenty of room to stretch out.

After the bitterness with Sky Cars on Tuesday, we had to sort a rental car as soon as we arrived to the airport. Logan does not have desks for each of the car rental companies with actual people. Instead you have to use a phone and dial the company you want a car from for a quote. This should have been straight forward except that only 2 of the 6 phones were working and it was impossible to hear anything because some dude had set up his electric piano in the arrivals hall and was playing the bleedin' thing at maximum volume (sort of like 11 on a scale of 1 to 10).

In the end we rented a Dodge Caliber for two days so that we could make the drive to Laconia, NH and begin our journey (Paulo wanted to visit Weirs Beach because he had spent a summer there in 1995 during college). We turned right out of the parking lot, then a quick left to Ted Williams Tunnel and immediately hit Boston rush hour traffic. But the weather was good, we had The Pixies playing on the iPod and we weren't Dublin.

We drove the 100 miles or so, crossing the state line into The Granite State and continuing to Weirs Beach, arriving about two hours later. Weirs Beach is a lakeside town located on Lake Winnipesaukee - the largest lake in New Hampshire that stretches about 28 miles in length.

After checking out a few motels that were really over priced we settled for the Naswa Resort. We dumped the bags and drove down to the "strip" at Weirs Beach. Things were really quiet even though summer kicked off officially last weekend with Memorial Day celebrations. We went to a Mexican bar called The Crazy Gringo (previously known as Nuthin' Fancy or Nuthin' Gimpy depending on which crowd you hung with). We settled in and watched the Sox lose 8-4 to the Indians. I had forgotten how cheap it can be to have a bite to eat and a beer in The States but a large steak & cheese sambo and 3 Dos Equis drafts only set me back $16 - happy days! It was ladies' night or more appropriately (as Paulo pointed out) laddies' night since the few women there looked more like men. It was a good atmosphere in the place though - everyone seemed to know each other and there was a dude called Justin James playing guitar and singing everything from David Allen Coe to Bob Seger covers. He was so good that one of the 'laddies' was waving a lighter around most of the night and even did a pole dance for one song.

After the game, it was back to the hotel to crash as we were both exhausted from a long day of traveling.

Quote of the day:
Paulo - "Lad, I am so tired. I'm gonna sleep like the 'proverbial' log".