Monday, August 4, 2008

Alaskan Cruise, Part Deux

Ok, so here's the second installment of the cruise adventures...I know you've all been on pins and needles wating...I think I ended on Day 4 (see previous post), so here we go... By the way this is a very long post and lots of pictures...

Day Four 7/29 (cont.):

We finished our dog sled excursion, went back to the boat to have lunch and arrived for our next excursion just in time. We decided to take a bus up to the Klondike Pass. So the excursion was called something like "Klondike Pass, Yukon Suspension Bridge, and Salmon Bake". Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, it was. Mostly. So, we got on the bus to head up to the pass, which was in Canada. The drive was really pretty. Our driver told us a lot about the area and a few funny things about how life is lived there. For an example...He and some of his friends he lives with (I think he said there were 16 in his house) decided to go to a movie. Not too exciting, right? Well, the drive just to go to a movie? 2 1/2 hours. Crazy!!! Again, I take advantage of how close I live to things!
Anyway, so we didn't know much about the Pass or Suspension Bridge. Well, I didn't anyway. I don't know how much Jenny knew about it. Well, we were driving up and we went over a suspension bridge that was only anchored on one side. It was kinda cool, but the guy said that it was only anchored on the one side because it was on a fault line and if the ground shifts at all, it will just adjust on the other side. Well, if any of you know my thing about bridges, you know that it's amazing that I even went over that voluntarily. Ok, well maybe not completely voluntarily, but I didn't have too big of a problem with it. So, silly me, I'm thinking "Oh, if that's the suspension bridge, that's not so bad! I did it and lived to tell about it." OH NO, That wasn't it...
The Suspension Bridge
We show up at the top of the pass, and walk over to this little touristy area. What do I see? The Suspension Bridge...Can I just say, Holy Crap! I saw it and didn't think there was any way I could walk across it. I decided that this was a trip about facing my fears, so I sucked it up and did it. The bridge was shaking the whole way. It didn't help that some lady behind me was JUMPING on it. I gave her the worst crusty and she stopped pretty quick. (I've heard my crusty looks are pretty good, but I've never seen one work that fast!) Here are some pics...I had to take some from both sides and from the middle to prove that I did it! I think otherwise a lot of people wouldn't believe me!
First view of the 'real' suspension bridge...Yikes!
In the middle of the bridge
The other side, I made it!
So, after I survived the bridge, we headed back down the pass to go to the salmon bake. As we were headed down, I had an interesting experience. Well, maybe I should say a disturbing experience...We were on a tour bus, similar to a Greyhound. There was this guy that must have just gone to the back to use the restroom or something. As he was walking back up to the front, he was using the back of our chairs to steady himself. Pretty normal, right? Well, I felt him stop at my chair, which I thought was kind of weird. I sit there for a second just thinking he must have had to steady himself. I was totally wrong! Next thing I know, the guy is rubbing my face with the back of his hand!!!!!! What in the WORLD!?!?!?! He does this for about two seconds and then continues to walk down the aisle and sit down. Not once did he turn back or acknowledge what he did. I saw him several times after that and he never even looked back at me. WEIRDO!!! So, as I'm sitting there, I'm completely stunned! I gasped and turned around to see if Jenny saw it. She was watching out the window, so no. I looked at the guy next to me and he was sleeping. The people in front of me were clueless as well. I could not believe it. I was looking at everyone around me to see if anyone saw it because there was no way this could have really happened. Well, it did and it creeped me out! A weird thing about it was that the guy looked completely normal. He was probably in his late thirties, well put together (on the outside, at least), and was sitting with what looked like his mom. What would you do in a situation like that? I decided to just pretend it didn't happen, but I'm still weirded out by it!
So after that moment, we went to this little town called Liarsville. It was pretty cool. It used to be a gold mining town and now I think all they do are these salmon bakes for cruise ships. During the dinner, there were two guys playing some old music, one with a banjo! How long has it been since you heard someone play the banjo?!?! So, we thought, "Salmon in Alaska, it has to be good, right?" WRONG! I don't know what was wrong with it, but the whole 'feast' was horrible. We had a few different things, but it was all so gross! The salmon was barbequed and had some sweet sauce on it. It was so dry and had a disgusting flavor! We were shocked! We decided to toss our whole meal and just hope that we would get back to the ship before dinner. Luckily we did and all ended well!
Looks tasty, right? NOT!
Day Five 7/30:

We arrived in Juneau early in the morning. I think we expected Juneau to be a little bigger because it was the capitol, but no. It was pretty small, but they did have a Wal-Mart, so that was something! Our excursion began at 8:00 a.m. and was called "Whale Quest and Mendenhall Glacier." We got on the bus and enjoyed the drive while our driver told us about the town. Pretty interesting stuff, but none that I can remember! We got on a boat with about 50-60 other people. It was kind of cool because our table mates ended up being on the same boat. They were so nice and let us use a pair of their binoculars, which totally helped! As we started out, we saw a few bald eagles perched on a little island. We ended up seeing quite a few throughout the day. Pretty cool. So, we continued on our whale quest and ended up coming into a pod of humpback whales. It was so cool because there were about 10 right in front of us, 2 to one side, 4 on another side, and others all around. The tour guides were really surprised, too. They said that although there are usually whales spotted, some of them had never seen that many together. We totally lucked out! We also saw some otters, so that was pretty cool also. Here are a few pics from that...

This whale must have been iritated...This is it slapping its tail.

On to the Mendenhall Glacier. As we were driving to the glacier, the driver gave us each a map and told us there was a trail that went around some wilderness, but because of the bears, half of it was closed. Well, Jenny and I decided to walk the part that wasn't closed. It was really pretty and we were able to watch salmon in the river. They were sockeye salmon. I guess it was their spawning time, so we watched as the females would slap the river bottom with their tail to create a nesting spot for their eggs. Pretty cool process.
If you look closely, you can see a bunch of salmon. (They're the red things in the water)

We were standing on a platform and one guy says 'Hey, look!' We look over, and what do we see? A bear. It was a cinnamon colored Black Bear Cub. It was super cute! And way cool to see so up close! Here are some pictures of it...I didn't have to use my zoom because this is how close it actually was...
After watching until the bear went back into the woods, we walked over to the lookout point to see the glacier. It was beautiful. Again, there was a lot of ice floating in the water, which is still amazing to me. Could you imagine falling in or something?!?! By the glacier was a huge waterfall.
Can you see the people at the bottom? This thing is HUGE!

That night was our second formal night. We got all dressed up and headed to stuff our faces at the dinner. I think it was lobster night. I'm not a fan of lobster, but the Beef Wellington was delicious! That night, they did a champagne waterfall in the atrium and had a big party, so we headed down to watch that. Our waiter was one that was helping, so he convinced us it would be a good time. Our assistant waiter promised us a dance, but I guess he found his wife first 'cause we didn't get our dance. ;)
Jenny & I, all dressed up and nowhere to go

Day Six 7/31:

Our next stop was in Ketchican. Our super exciting excursion for this port is brought to you by Misty Fjord Sea Planes!!!! Yep, we went on a float plane! A float or sea plane is one that takes off and lands on the water. Scary! As I said before, this trip was all about facing fears! We met outside of the boat with others that we'd be flying with. There was a girl at that was checking everyone in. I heard everyone stating their name and weight...OUT LOUD! I heard that and my first thought was "Oh, hell no!" It was my turn and I stated my name and whispered my weight to her. I heard some of the women behind us say, "Oh, that was a good idea." No Duh people! I'm sorry, but I am not one that likes to announce my weight nor does just about any other woman I know! Anyway, we proceeded to the take off area. Our plane had a total of eight passengers, a pilot, and a co-pilot (which was just one of the tourists, like us). I was a little nervous, but decided that I'd probably never get to do this again. It was soo loud, so we all had headsets to wear. They were super hot!
Obviously not our plane, but a neighboring one taking off.

We took off from the water and watched the beautiful landscape and waterscapes below us. Part of the tour included a water landing on a lake. I think the lake was called Big Frog or Bull Frog or something like that. That was the scariest part. The pilot pointed the lake out that we were going to land on as we passed it. To my calculations, I was thinking that if we just passed it, we'd have to turn back around to land on it. Sure enough, next thing I know we are turning around, almost sideways mind you, with my side down of course! I had to take deep breaths and remember that it would soon be over. The landing was a little worrisome because it looked like the lake wasn't long enough. Well, everything went well and we all lived. What a great experience!
Once we landed and headed back to the boat, we decided that we needed to get a little shopping done. We went into town and did some touristy shopping and got some fun souvenirs. It was a fun day!
Day Seven 8/1:

First and foremost...Happy Birthday, Mom! Day seven was a day at sea. We didn't do much, but hung out and were lazy since we knew our trip was soon coming to an end. We read, walked around, and I'm pretty sure we took a nap, too. Later in the day, we decided to try our hand at Bingo. The jackpot was like $1200 or something, so why not?
When we got into the lounge where the Bingo was being held, they had some horse races going on. They have these wooden horses and roll dice to see which ones would move ahead and how many spaces. The first horse to the end wins. Well, of course the horses have to have names. The host was calling out and asking what everyone's favorite thing about Alaska was. This girl yelled as fast and as loud as she could, "ATV!" It was all slurred together and the host had to ask again what she said. She said it exactly the same way and you could tell that he was trying so hard not to laugh. Well, he asked her what was so cool about the ATV. She, again yelling, said, "It was totally awesome to the max!" We laughed so hard. I mean, when was the last time you heard someone say that? 1980? The host was talking about it later and said something similar but not exact. She quickly yelled out again and demanded that if he was gonna say it, he had to say it right. This may not sound funny to many, but we had a pretty good laugh out of it. :) If you saw the girl, you'd laugh too!!

That night was our last dinner with our new friends and our awesome waiters. It was also the traditional Baked Alaska night. Baked Alaska is a dessert that is basically neapolitan ice cream, surrounded by cake, then topped with meringue. They light the meringue on fire and usually have a parade with all the waiters carrying it around.

Triche (tri-chay), Jenny, Me, & Carlos

This is kind of a funny sequence. I made them stay like that until I got my camera out. I think Jenny was starting to gag, but I couldn't get me camera because I was laughing so hard!I guess he wasn't done feeding her after the comes the ice cream. Open wide, Jenny!

Day Eight 8/2:

Our cruising has come to an end. :( We met in one of the restaurants with our disembarking group. We left the boat and were going through customs since we were now in Vancouver, Canada. As we arrived to the customs officer, he was questioning us on our plans. Well, our plans were to stay in Canada for a night and then head home the next day. He told us that we were in the wrong place and we couldn't get on the shuttle to take us to the airport. We were going to go to the airport, pick up our luggage, pick up our rental car, then go to our hotel. Fat chance was basically the consensus. The officer referred us to another customs officer, which walked us around to all the places that we had to go. She took us through another security checkpoint, then to another customs officer, which questioned us. They figured out that we weren't there to cause any problems, so they put us in a cab to go to the airport. Our luggage was on some bus, so we had to wait at the airport for it to arrive. While waiting, we exchanged some of our money to Canadian money so we didn't look too touristy. The bus with our luggage arrived about a half hour later, so finally we were on our way.

We walked about a mile or two to the car rental booth at the airport and checked out our car. We got this cute, black Ford Fusion. It was just the right size. We put our luggage in and were looking at the map (parked) to figure out where we needed to go. All of a sudden, we looked up, and SMASH!!!! Some guy had slammed right into us! Of course, I didn't get the insurance since I think my insurance covers me on rentals. I got out to assess the damage and the guy that hit us got out also. The damage wasn't too bad, but I didn't want to get reamed for it. I looked at the guy and noticed he was wearing a Budget uniform. Are you kidding me? The guy that brings the cars around 'didn't see us' and slammed into us? We went inside and the manager had me fill out an incident report, luckily not blaming me for any of it. I knew none of it was my fault, but who knew how things were handled in Canada? J/K, I knew they'd be fair. Anyway, the other manager came out and asked how comfortable I am with driving a big car. I told him I didn't mind as long as it wasn't bigger than an F250 or something. They gave us the keys, we got our luggage out of the other car, and then we were finally on our way. We got to the car and they gave us a Sport Trac Truck. K, so two girls cruisin' around Vancouver, Canada in a truck?!?! It was pretty entertaining, but SO NOT US! It was a nice car, but a gas hog! We noticed the gas stations there and they were 1.47. We were so confused for a little bit, but then I remembered, DUH...they use liters! $1.47 per liter, worse than the states and we had a gas hog, Ugh!

It's pretty cute though, right?

We got to the Marriott really early so we thought they wouldn't let us check in yet, but they did, thank goodness! We were starving, so we headed out to Burger King (we like to try the local cuisine) for some lunch. After that, we went back to the hotel and tried to decide what we'd like to do for the day. Well, we decided to check out the local Wal-Mart. I know, super exciting! We went there and got a few souvenirs for super cheap. Good decision, we decided! Well, by then it was dinner time, so we tried some more local cuisine (Boston Pizza). We took it back to the hotel with us and rented a movie (Made of Honor), and sat and ate and watched a movie. So, that was our Canadian experience. We actually had a good time and the rest was much needed after our exciting week. The next day, we got up and headed to the airport. Got on our flight with no extreme drama, a little flirting with the customs agent on my part, but not much else. Once we got home, Jenny's boyfriend, Alan, picked us up and took us home. We had such a great time and I would totally do an Alaskan Cruise again! I highly recommend it!!! It's much different than other types of cruises. Alaskan is more laid back and focused on scenery. The Carribbean is more of a party and island (obviously) feel, so that is definately great too, but a completely different feel. The Mexican one is also fun, but more like the Carribbean, but not as many partiers. All are super fun and highly recommended! My next will hopefully be Mediterranean...crossing my fingers!

Well, that's it for the cruise, hopefully this didn't bore anyone, but if it did, it's your own fault for reading on after you were bored!!! ;)


Nicole said...

Sounds like so much fun! Remember my little sister Janelle? She lived in Juneau for a few years because that is where her husband (ex) is from. We went up there for their wedding and it is gorgeous! I would love to do an Alaskan cruise sometime.

NW Harbert's said...

That sounds like so much fun! I am glad you had a good time. Thanks for blogging it, I loved reading about it.

Melody said...

K, I am so jelous! Those pictures were amazing! Will someone please let my husband know I would like to go there someday... soon ;). And you look gorgeous in the dress up picture! Love it!

Stephanie said...

I have several comments to leave on this section of the blog. 1. I think those pictures of Jenny with her mouth open are hot. 2. Those are amazing photos of the scenery. 3. Part Deux?--I had no idea you were bilingual! 4. I'm really wondering if the man that rubbed the back of your head was your soulmate...and you missed a great opportunity there. For your sake, I hope another great man such as this comes along. Perhaps on your next bus ride. You can join me on my regular route should you be so inclined. There are many hot men on my side of town.