So she immediately went into meltdown mode. She began screaming, pounding and kicking the door to try to get it open. She woke up Craig and Frank, who somehow decided she was screaming because she was trapped in the bathroom and the ship was sinking. As I went to extricate Marie from the john, Mrs. Grumpy tried to calm down the hysterical boys.
It took us about 10 minutes to get all settled, when the whole thing was set off again by the shrill ring of the telephone. It was security. For the first time ever someone had made a noise complaint about us, and we were warned to be quiet (if I find out it was my sister, she gets to swim home).
I told the kids that they were not to make any more noise until they saw water, smoke, or daylight coming into the cabin.
Today we’re in Ketchikan, Alaska. This pretty little town is known as the Salmon Capital of the World, is near Misty Fjords National Monument, and has a remarkable collection of Native American totem polls. It’s jammed up against the mountains, so the entire city is 1/4 mile wide and 3 miles long.
So, for all of that, what kind of things would you find on a “genuine Alaskan Shopping Experience” in Ketchikan? Well, the Cruiseship Lines guidebook to the town listed 18 Alaskan shopping experiences. Lets break them down:
13 jewelery stores
2 art galleries
1 place selling clothes that change color in direct sunlight
1 place selling clothes made from bamboo (Get a free bamboo necklace just by yelling “Cariloha!” in public! Wow!)
1 salmon store
How many of you would look at that list and say “Wow! That just screams a small Alaskan town to me!”.
Years ago, on our first trip here, Mrs. Grumpy and I paid $100 each for a bald eagle sightseeing excursion.
It was quite impressive, but unfortunately after you get to Ketchikan you realize that bald eagles are freakin’ EVERYWHERE, like pigeons back home. They particularly congregate around dumpsters. So it's pretty depressing to realize you shelled out $200 to see something you could have seen for free, just by hanging out behind the Burger King.
My Dad wanted to take us to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. In all honesty, prior to this afternoon I had no idea there was such a thing as timbersports. But they handed out a brochure listing their participants in such finger-removing sports as speed sawing, tree climbing/falling, log rolling, and power chainsaw. It noted several of these guys are regional champions or have earned college scholarships in this field. And I had no idea it even existed. It was contrived and touristy, but hey, I’m a tourist here, and it was surprisingly entertaining. Afterwards we walked around the town and tried cupcakes and other local delicacies before returning to base.
After boarding the ship, we stopped for Diet Cokes in the lobby. They were playing a country love song in the background, and I swear the chorus was “I want to check you for ticks.” I can only assume the singer's date either had serious hygiene issues, was into something kinky, or was a dog.
We relaxed by the pool this afternoon (I’m now reading "A Confederacy of Dunces"- quite good). Out of the corner of my eye I saw a white ball of fur moving around next to my chair. I absently reached down to pet it and mumbled “Hello, Snowball.” I suddenly realized Snowball was back home, and looked up at an Indonesian lady cleaning the deck, who had no idea why a balding American was petting her mop.
As the boys swam, the Smorgasbord’s entertainment staff put a beanbag-toss set out by the pool, for anyone to play with. That anyone turned out to be Marie, who decided to play it herself by tossing beanbags back & forth and switching sides.
To my horror her beanbag score was:
Hit the target: 3
Lady in a wheelchair: 1.
People waiting in line for hamburgers: 3
People waiting in line for ice cream: 2
The metal piece over the stage with lights hanging off it: 1
Tossed in pool: 2
Fortunately the staff took away the bowling set before she got interested in that.
My BIL, Dave, signed up to play in the ship’s ping-pong tournament. He, and everyone else, were crushed by a guy who travels with his own, specially-made, ping-pong paddle. You have to respect that kind of mindset to take ping-pong so seriously you don’t go anywhere without your customized paddle.
As always, there are plenty of photo-ops on the ship. Every night they have different portrait themes. You can have your picture taken with you cheerfully in the woods (surrounded by small stuffed animals), holding firearms in the old west, on the grand staircase of the Titanic, and other pleasant areas.
So as I headed for the dining room I passed a lady in a blue dress. She was keeping a ship’s photographer busy with her posing at a piano. As I watched the pictures became increasingly explicit. At first she was just sitting there, smiling. Then sitting with her hand slightly up under her skirt. Then winking and licking the piano. Then licking a long-stemmed wine glass. Then licking the piano, holding the wine glass, and turned so you could see she didn’t have any undies on.
My family wanted to know what held me up on the way to dinner. I told them the elevator got stuck.