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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mostly? We Sang Karaoke.

I ran away to Portland, Maine this weekend with my friend and co-worker, R.

Driving from Allston yesterday afternoon, we belted Broadway songs, figuring out harmonies of songs we've been meaning to sing together for MONTHS.

We arrived at our cozy hotel in Scarborough around 4 PM, where there was a small kiosk of junk food calling to me and a front dining room ready for serving breakfast the next morning. We inquired at the front desk about how far we were from Portland. The front desk manager was very obliging, even overly so, giving us a coupon for a taxi service and then randomly talking to us about driving through Pennsylvania and seeing deer carcasses on the road.

We settled into the room, sitting around and chatting until our hunger overcame us and we ordered a small Papa John's pizza as a snack, looking up places of interest in Portland that we'd venture to later.

After showering and dressing and manned with several options for nightlife, we met our taxi out front. Our driver yammered to us about his 4 kids, while we chatted about what we did in Boston and what our plans were for the night. Dave, too, was overly nice, and gave us his personal cell phone so he could pick us up later in the evening.

We ate dinner at a local highly-rated Japanese restaurant (it was aight) and asked where the karaoke joint we had searched for and found was located. Another cab was called (this time not Dave) and we drove to what seemed like an entirely different state, to a place called Ginzatown, coincidentally connected to a Papa John's (never a good sign).

The place was empty except for a large table of Vietnamese people. We asked about when karaoke started and realized we'd be the only people singing. This, I took as a bad sign, as well. I would so much rather sing in front of a huge group of people who have all bought into the evening's activity of high-belting songs you can't really sing than sit at a table, leaf through a binder, pick over 10 songs, and sing them all in a row.

But that's what we did.

Here is a complete list of the songs we shared with that captive audience, after just one glass of wine each:
The Sign--Ace of Base(solid)
Something to Talk About--Bonnie Raitt (my standard)
Someday--Mariah Carey (surprisingly a success)
My Guy (waddup, Sister Act?)
The Shoop Shoop Song--Cher (more difficult than I expected)
9 to 5--Dolly Parton (played at about 1/2 time, it was our version of Hell)
Eternal Flame--Bangles (a mistake)
Emotions--Mariah Carey (another mistake)
Summer Nights--Grease (duet, sung with a dude who was sitting behind us and chatted us up until we left)
Save the Best for Last--Vanessa Williams (we submitted for Saving All My Love for You, so, a disappointment)
Always Be My Baby--Mariah Carey (our grand finale)

Since no one cared, I decided to sing songs that I would never sing in an actual karaoke situation.

I'm positive our singing kept patrons out.

Nearing 11:30, we decided to call our trusty cabbie Dave and head back downtown to meet another colleague who was also in Portland for the weekend.

The Irish pub, RiRas, could not have been a more opposite experience. Super crowded, all-white group, mostly men, and a band of 40-something white men singing Rihanna hits on the platform. One more drink in and R and I couldn't stay off the dance floor, but when the band played "No Diggity" followed shortly after by "Shake that Ass" by Eminem, we couldn't take it anymore.

Portland is very white.

When we mentioned that to Dave, on the drive back to our hotel, he cavalierly said, "Isn't it better that way?"

I didn't like him so much after that. And besides, he only gave us 20% off of one of the three rides we got from him that night.

Woke this morning in time for the full breakfast, where I inhaled toast with butter and jam, potatoes, eggs, and an excellent cup of tea.

Drove through downtown Portland, mostly searching for a parking lot, so we could get Starbucks.

Listened to Christina Aguilera's schizophrenic album, Bionic the entire way home. (Seriously, have you guys heard that album? It is INSANE.)

Hotel room in Scarborough: $100
4 cab rides around Portland: $100
Glass of Pinot Grigio at Ginzatown: $7
Dancing the jazz square to "No Diggity" because the version playing is So. White.: Priceless

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