Friday, July 23, 2010

Grumpy Summer Vacation, Day 9

Today we were in Skagway, Alaska.

An interesting feature here is the harbor. We docked next to a rock wall, which was covered with ship-related graffiti. Every time a ship called on Skagway for the first time, it's name was painted on the wall. This had obviously been going on for quite a while, and it covered most of the place. The table my family had chosen was cheerfully opposite the sign painted in 1977 by the crew of the Prinsendam, which sank while cruising Alaska in 1981.

Makes you think. The number of ships safely cruising the area doesn’t change the fact that these are still narrow, dangerous waters. We tend to think all our modern gadgets are protection, and they are- to a point. A large passenger ferry, the Queen of the North, sank in these waters as recently as 2006, due to a navigation error.

Skagway is a small town that has a fascinating history. Unfortunately, very few tourists care about history, and so places like Skagway (such as Jackson, Wyoming, Lahaina, Hawaii, and Tombstone, Arizona) have survived by opening boutiques of various kinds, making you feel that their entire historical significance is based on jewelry, leather goods, and T-shirt shops.

One interesting place I noticed was this restaurant, a pizzeria which features popular Italian and Mexican foods such as crab, halibut burgers, salmon chowder, and that ever-popular Italian and Mexican delicacy, the gyro. I can only assume the owner suffers from ADD, or is marketing to indecisive people.

(click to enlarge)

Skagway also features such novelties as the Sarah Palin gift shop, and the Red Onion prostitution museum. The latter has a sign in the window that said "Tours are $5 for 15 minutes- the same price as 1898."

For almost $180/person you can get a more detailed tour of the city’s prostitution history. The shore excursion guide featured quite a suggestive description of it, which I've included below.

(click to enlarge)

With a description like that, and for that kind of money, you'd think they could include at least a hand job. Maybe they do.

After boarding the Smorgasbord we went back to our cabin. There was a note on the door saying they’ll be doing “routine maintenance” on our balcony tomorrow. The way I’ve been eating I can only assume they’re reinforcing it.

The highlight of dinner tonight was Craig, Frank, and their cousin Greg linking Nintendos together so they could play each other. At one point all 3 of the gadgets beeped simultaneously, and my parents thought that was their cue to take vitamins.

Tonight’s shipboard show was a musical review called “The Big Easy”. It was okay, but was made spectacular by a mechanical failure. In one scene a female singer is wearing a wig that made her look like Maleficent (who in my opinion is STILL the greatest Disney villain EVER).

Anyway, a line was lowered for her to attach to her costume, and then, as she sang, lifted her high above the stage.

EXCEPT it didn’t quite work out. When she got hoisted in the air, for whatever reason, the cable rotated her away for the audience. So while she belted out the song we’re all looking at her back. She tried to turn around (without much success) by flailing her arms and legs wildly while singing. It didn’t help, but did give the odd appearance of an epileptic spider doing a musical number.


Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention the Prinsendam. If you speak Morse, you might listen to her distress call here:

That's David Ring's website. He was one of the Radio Officers aboard the Williamsburgh.

He's got some information there.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a photo of a flailing/flying Maleficent look-a-like. That would really crack me up. :)

Anonymous said...

a more authentic local restaurant that served dried fish, acorn paste, and camas root might not compete so well?

Anonymous said...

re: your twit- someone has to preserve the memory of prostitution for posterity.

a.generic doc said...

When the epileptic spider was having her problems, did anyone yell out, "Is there a neurologist in the house?"

Crazy Newt said...

Well, I'd hardly call the crashing of the Queen of the North a "navigation error", unless you count "Captain left the bridge to have sex with a crewmember, leaving junior officers in charge" a navigation error.

Still, welcome to my little neck of the woods! The Pacific Northwest is, just so you know, the best place in the world. Even ships that go all over the world do their best to stay here, any way they can!

The Bus Driver said...

LOL @ epileptic spider!

Layla said...

'Spine-chilling accounts of Lydia'??

From the Lower Mainland said...

I agree with CrazyNewt - the ship sank because the junior officers left in charge weren't experienced enough to know that the ship was veering off course. It was an entirely preventable event, IMHO, and nothing to do with conditions at sea.

Chrysalis said...

You're so bad. snicker

Anonymous said...

So is Lydia like Large Marge?

And just how many Grumpys are on this damn trip?

Anonymous said...

Interesting coincident coupling of the divine Sarah and the history of ... .

The Mother said...

We bunked the boys in a brothel in Tombstone one night. Now, THAT was fun.

RageDino said...

How do you feel about the Maleficent movie that just came out?

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