Every year starting around Memorial Day, the influx of tourists, or as we natives like to call them, “folks from away” begins. Much like clouds of locusts the crowds descend upon us. (The similarity to locusts is only in the numbers; we welcome visitors and the dollars they bring to our economy. The resulting traffic jams, parking shortages, and long lines at our favorite restaurants are only a minor inconvenience.)
Vacationers come to Maine from all over the Unites States and Canada. Old Orchard Beach, which is only 3 miles from my home, is an especially popular playground for Canadians. Many of them are from Quebec, which is a primarily French-speaking province and they are easily recognized by the cadence of their speech and their men’s fondness for “Speedos” (those tiny little swim suits that leave nothing to the imagination!).
The beach area is a magnet for locals as well. We love to grab a slice of “Bill’s Pizza” (preferably with extra cheese and lots of pepperoni!), some “Pier Fries” (the world’s most delicious, fresh cut, delicately browned, potato wedges) and find a place to sit and people-watch. The scenery varies, depending on the time of day. Mornings are filled with families juggling beach chairs, blankets, towels, and excited children, making their way to a spot on the sand where they can relax and enjoy the sun and surf. You can spot the new arrivals by their pale skin. Those who’ve been in town for a while are in varying shades of pink, lobster-red, or dark honey.
Later in the day, shirts and shorts have been shed, and bare skin, deep cleavage, and hairy chests are everywhere. When we’ve had our fill of pizza, fries, and bikini clad bodies, it’s time for some crisp, golden onion rings, or maybe some fried dough with maple syrup or powdered sugar on it. Then we drag our junk-food-satiated-bodies home again, until the next time. (People–watching at Old Orchard Beach is not a low-calorie activity, and hence must be restricted to no more than two or three times per season!)