Alaska travel notes – 2Posted: May 22, 2011
The journey continues. As does the extremely slow and unreliable internet. So I will continue to batch my dispatches.
Friday was our first experience with Anytime Dining and our experience was much improved over our first evening's dinner. Much more what you want at dinner on a cruise. We were seated at a table for six. Also at the table were a couple from Ontario, Canada who were veteran cruisers and a couple from South Africa who owned a farm with a history going back to the Dutch colonial days. The conversation was lively, ranging from the national origin of each of us at the table to the Royal Wedding to the kinds of wines produced in South Africa and Canada. A thoroughly enjoyable dinner.
Terry and I are both fans of practitioners of the Great American Songbook, so we noticed right away that one of the acts was the Jean Mack Trio, tagged as singing exactly that. By the time we managed to see them they had been moved from one of the bars to the Cajun restaurant. Not the best of venues, but we thought we would still go. We arrived while they were on break. After waiting several minutes, three people walked in the door and headed for the stage. One of them, a not-terribly-young woman, appeared rather tired. But when she looked out and saw Terry and me waiting for her, she brightened up and came over to talk with us.
It turned out she was British, and most friendly and gracious. She asked what we wanted to hear and where we were from. When she found out we were from Northern California she talked about sticker shock over a dinner in San Francisco. All this while her husband, the pianist, and the bassist vamped till ready in the best jazz style. We thoroughly enjoyed her music and her husband's piano skills, despite the noise in the restaurant. Later on a a couple of her fans from earlier in the cruise stopped in, which really delighted her. When we got up to leave we waved and she blew us a kiss. Marvelous.
Saturday morning was rather chaotic, with a crew emergency drill on the ship, and checking voicemail to find Tasha had had a seizure back at home. But all turned out well. We're happy that the crew is trained in emergency procedures, and in fact the Coast Guard was on the ship to observe the drill. We just happened to run into them on the elevator on our way to breakfast. And we know that Tasha will have a seizure once every blue moon. The vet told us the first time this happened that that's just the way she is wired. Meaning, in effect, that we have an epileptic dog. The kennel was great (as they always are). We spoke to the owner on the phone and were much reassured. They took her to our vet and were keeping a close eye on her. So we felt comfortable relaxing and enjoying the rest of our trip.
Saturday afternoon we took a bus trip to the Mendenhal Glacier and saw an unusual salmon hatchery. Seeing the glacier was impressive and the science of how glaciers form is fascinating. The salmon hatchery is a non-profit operation which has an interesting way of helping to maintain the salmon population in the wild. I can't explain it all here, but if you use your search engine to look up "salmon hatchery" and "Juneau" I'm sure you'll find it.
At Saturday dinner our table companions included a couple from South Carolina and a couple and mother from Texas. Conversation ranged from previous cruises to the Food Network to barbecue to cooking rice and growing rice in Texas. An enjoyable dinner.
- How is it that I can forget a dress belt and Terry can forget panty hose, and we can find neither either on board ship or in port?
- There are those who are seasoned travellers who know how to pack for a long trip. Terry and I are not among them.
- There are those on the ship who don't care where you are standing if they want to be in that spot. Fortunately there are enough pleasant, friendly travellers to counterbalance that.
This afternoon: White Pass Scenic Railway. This evening: Dinner at Sabatini's, the premium Italian restaurant. Monday and Tuesday: scenic cruising at sea.
Next update: when it happens