How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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North to Alaska: It’s All Greek to Me

The tour guide had to check if the door was open for entry to the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. We lucked out; she found a caretaker with a key. Finally, a chance to get out of the tiresome misting rain.

The Tlingit parishioners built the blue and white, octagonal church from local wood in 1893. The history is fascinating, at least to me.

The tour ended with the church visit. We were on our own. What to do? The famous Red Dog Saloon beckoned. Silly not to peek inside, right?

Too chilled for a beer, we didn’t stay long and moseyed into a couple little shops—mega touristy trinkets—to pick out gifts for the family back in Ontario. Mary chose two charms for a forgotten bracelet. I bought a bunch of postcards (five for $1.00 USD), which are scarce back home and cost a dollar each if you’re lucky to find them. As well, I picked out two pairs of charming Forget-me-not Swarovski Crystal pierced earrings for my granddaughters. My daughter is a necklace queen; I saw no interesting pieces for her.

Stopped at Vintage Fare Café  and Espresso for a coffee, a sit, and much-needed Wifi. Sitting proved to be my undoing as I felt lazy and tired of the chill in my bones. We were happy to return to the ship without having spent hundreds of dollars on excursions and planned to watch out for tour guides at the rest of our stops in port.

Along the way back, we passed numerous plagues about lighthouses and this huge outdoor mural: Passengers not allowed at the top of this house. I’m surprised my photo didn’t turn out bad either.

The shops are bright and the boats inviting. Why do towns on the water—everywhere it seems—have their buildings painted in delightful, vivid colours?

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Shoes off, we decided to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine in our stateroom. By 6:30, My stomach rumbled. I looked forward to the specialty on the menu: salmon. Other choices were pork and beef but fish it had to be. What luck! No salmon. Ten minutes, they said. This, after a shortage of shrimp the previous night. I was not happy. The twice-baked potatoes were dry and the green beans tough and stringy. Mary’s patience rewarded her with a sliver of salmon which I ranked as undercooked, opaque, and gelatinous. She said it was o-kay.

I had no desire for my usual after dinner coffee. That’s a first. After a glass of water, I was done.

We decided to take in a movie. The small but authentic theatre, we later found out, was also used for various Sunday services. It seemed a popular venue and filled quickly. Having arrived early, we chose seats dead centre to the screen with a clear view throughout the movie, titled Split. It was not clear why the main character with 23 personalities snatched three girls and kept them hidden. I enjoyed the opportunity to vacate our room and the new experience of the glam ship’s theatre. On second thought, that’s incorrect. We watched movies on the ship my mom and I sailed to Canada, but I have no recollection what the theatre looked like. Though only four, I do not know what movies we saw but do recall a man hitting on my mother and gifting me a bag of raisins. I wonder if she confessed to my father when we arrived.

As the credits rolled and we lined up to exit the Alaska cruise theatre, a ship hostess handed out small bags of fresh popcorn. Yum. Another day ending.

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Next on May May 4th – North to Alaska: Skagway Adventures?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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North to Alaska: Snooping Around

We arrived late for lunch with no idea the buffet would be closing soon. No one blocking the food, I managed to take these pictures of various stations.

The buffet servers work eight months on the ship and return home for the remaining four.

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A boom-boom disturbance overhead disrupted after lunch coffee. No other patrons seemed worried or appeared to pay attention. A couple noticed my bewilderment and the man explained there was a basketball court overhead.

“You’re not pulling my leg?” Mary asked.

“I’ll bet my lunch that’s the sound of a bouncing basketball.”

Mary giggled. “You’ve no lunch to bet.”

The sun struggled to brighten the day but dark clouds had other ideas, thrusting it into the background. Huddled in our jacket collars, we jogged a couple laps around the promenade deck after lunch—three and a half laps = 1 mile. A biting wind forced us back inside. Had the weather cooperated, we would have logged a few miles more. We passed a few pairs of walkers, a meditating woman on a blanket (b-r-r), and another one practicing yoga. Three men in white overalls painted the outside deck walls. Phew. I gagged on the fumes, though we were outside. I wondered why none wore masks against the toxic vapors. Seems Health and Safety rules do not apply to painting with nautical paint. Or is this a non-issue since all the workers are from poor countries and nobody cares? Shame. Shame.

I had my heart set on a generous feed of fish and shrimp, but we were late arriving. The buffet had run out. More arrived after we’d finished a fish dinner and Mary scooped up a half dozen to share. I’ve only had shrimp that huge once when I purchased them for a New Year’s Eve dinner party years ago. Thank goodness, I hadn’t invited the neighborhood.

Tummies happy, we searched for advertised entertainment. The Hudson room offered a piano/violin duo and inviting deep chairs but the music didn’t suit our mood—too sedate.

Next, we discovered the duty-free store. A female employee in the jewelry area talked us into sticking around for a free draw in ten minutes. She tore off matching tickets: one for each of us and the twin for the bin. We figured with only a half-dozen participants, we had an excellent chance of winning something. Soon the employee hooked 50 or 60 male and female shoppers and those waiting for the piano bar to open. Ten minutes turned into a half-hour.

What a setup. The person with the winning number had 30 seconds to open as many boxes as they could manage in an effort to extract one containing a jewelry surprise. Soon, a couple of the ‘winners’ asked if there were indeed prizes as the first handful were not lucky. The employee threw the empty boxes back in the bin to encourage deeper digging. What felt like hours later, we left empty-handed and yawning. Six happy winners dispersed to the bar. The lounge singer behind a ¾ wall crooned for some time to clinking glasses and the murmur and hum of energetic conversation.

It had been a long day fighting bitter winds, moody clouds, and noxious paint fumes. The first full day surrounded by nothing but water and food drew to a close. I wished for my pillow to hasten our time of arrival in Juneau the following day.

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Next on April 13th – North to Alaska: Yay!  Juneau Ahead

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles