Friday, August 10, 2007

Let's Knock This Bad Boy Out

OK, Alaska, final update. (I know! Like, a MONTH since I started because I'm a little ADD and easily sidetracked and seem to lose my pla ---- hey, is that chocolate you have???)

I got a little sidetracked there, but I’m going to resume the vacation journal and finish it now because … dum dum dummmmmm …. I will be computer-less starting tomorrow until however long it takes the nice smiling boy at my local computer store to put a new hard drive thing-y something about internal gigs or ram or something or another and then transfer all the stuff from the old memory thing-y to the newer, bigger, shinier memory thing-y I’m not exactly sure I just know I’m tired of getting the flashing warning on my screen every time I log in about how I'm running out of disk space on drive C and iTunes, you know I love you, but how could you suck up all my space like that?

No computer for three days. I feel a little shaky and nauseous just imagining it. What am I supposed to do in the meantime, interact with my family?????

So, now, back to Alaska.

The day after our dogsledding excursion was a sea day, with sightseeing in Glacier Bay scheduled. Blaine and I had made arrangements to have a special champagne breakfast delivered from room service, but at this point, I was so full from my non-stop eating I had spent the majority of the evening before with my pants unbuttoned. I started to think a big breakfast was a bad idea, until I realized that by ordering it from room service, that meant I could sit around in my sweat pants, eating, and that thought cheered me up again.

That morning, once again terrified I would miss something, I was up at 6am, rushing out to the balcony to see the view. Luckily, no glaciers in sight yet, although the balcony was wet and cold and I knew immediately we wouldn’t be eating our room service breakfast out there today.

That breakfast, I have to tell you, was one of the most impressive meals of the entire week, even if I did have to put my napkin in my lap myself. First of all, we had the crab quiche again, which was just as excellent as the first time. Probably better, since I didn’t have to share, and Blaine gave me some of his left-overs. Honestly. I have to imagine people have KILLED for that quiche. We also each had a plate of fresh fruit, beautifully arranged, and there were bagels with salmon and lox, and an entire plate of breads, cookies, and pastries. SEVEN plates of food for the two of us, not to mention the coffee service, and the half-carafe of champagne. It was almost embarrassing, how gluttonous it was, but then I was so busy shoving crab quiche in my face I couldn’t even feel guilty about the poor starving children in the world.

Later that morning, we rode into Johns Hopkins Inlet to view the glaciers. It was misting, cold, and I was extremely grateful for my winter coat. Blaine and I ran around the ship, trying to get the best views from various decks … and wouldn’t you know, the best view wound up being right from our very own balcony as we pulled away. Because it was overcast, these pictures probably aren’t as vivid as I remember this being in real life:

The really cool part was the calving. It was extremely difficult to get pictures of this ... at least for an amatuer like me. You could hear the popping noise which meant calving was about to occur, but sometimes it was so small you couldn’t see it. If it was big enough to be noticed, by the time I got my camera swung around focused, I had usually missed it. (story of my life, no?) These were the best shots I got, and I must say, it was really neat to watch.

The one thing I wish I knew the answer to, was just exactly how much ice was that falling? We were quite a ways from the glacier ourselves, so it was very difficult to guesstimate how big that calving was. I overheard two couples at dinner talking, and one of them said they thought "the big one", which I have to assume was this one because this was the biggest one Blaine and I saw all afternoon, was as big as a small apartment, breaking off. I have no idea if they were correct, but I'd love to know.

After we left Glacier Bay, we went and had lunch in the Horizon Court Buffet. At this point, where we were putting the food is a digestive mystery to me, but it was there, it was plentiful, it was good, and by golly, we had paid for it so we were going to eat it, even if our small intestines exploded in the meantime.

Then, of course, exhausted from all that chewing and swallowing, we went back to our cabin for a nap.

And woke up just in time for dinner!

(No, I have no idea why I gained fourteen pounds on this vacation, do you?)

That night was our second formal night on the ship, and we enjoyed taking more photos with our friends, then having dinner and drinks afterwards. This was the one night of the cruise that we stayed up late drinking and dancing (some of us doing a little more drinking than dancing, not that I’m naming names ….. RENEE) and wound up in the Skywalkers Club until they kicked us out at 2am. I would have claimed it as beneficial exercise, considering how much I sweat dancing, but when you add in the calories from the booze, I’d be surprised if I so much as broke even. But I had a good time, and that’s all that matters.

The next day was another sea day, this time through the College Fjords. Since we weren’t scheduled to arrive at the glaciers until late afternoon, Blaine and I spent the morning just kind of bumming around the ship. We had room service breakfast again (I know, we were getting a little spoiled with having people show up to our room with food first thing in the morning ... shockingly, it hasn't happened again since we arrived home) and then walked around for awhile, looking at photos in the gallery from Formal Night, listening in on a Trivia Game in the bar, and just relaxing, enjoying the views. After lunch, acknowledging the sad realization that the next morning they were going to make us leave the ship (scoundrels!) whether we wanted to or not, we went back to our cabin to pack,and get ready for College Fjord.

As crappy as the weather had been the day before, it was *that* beautiful, and then some, for this, our final day at sea. The sun was shining, the temperature was mild (probably in the 60’s?) and people were running around in shorts and t-shirts. The views from both our balcony, and the back of the ship, were just unbelievable.

I had gone to the back (Aft? Stern? Port? Who knows?) to take pictures and met a gentleman who kindly gave me some photography pointers. Actually, what happened was he noticed me taking pictures, and I guess watched until he couldn’t stand it anymore, and walked over and said, “For God’s sake, woman, if you’re going to use that thing, use it properly!”

OK, that’s not exactly true. But it’s pretty close, and I assume is what he was really thinking. What he actually said was, “Excuse me, I can’t help but notice you’re not utilizing your UV lens properly and I wondered if I might show you how to use it” which I thought was very nice and helpful and not at all like a stalker who might push me over the side of the boat like I was worried about when he initially approached me.

I don’t know if his pointers helped any, but these are some the pictures I took. I must say, that this day, with its amazingly blue skies and puffy white clouds and glacier scenery, and the warmth of the sun on my face as I sat relaxing, will be one of my favorite memories of the trip.

And my pathetic attempt at a sunset shot, which I wasn’t ready for, because despite something like twenty hours of sunlight a day, let me just tell you that Damn! When that sun finally does go down, it happens fast!

OK, time to pick the kidlets up from school. I’ll finish the update tonight. Try not to be too excited.


Mrs. Who said...

Oh, yeah, baby! The room service breakfast. We made the mistake of waiting until later in the week to do this, not knowing the benefits of being able to wear sweat pants to a meal. Next time, we may very well do room service breakfast every day.

cakeburnette said...

What exactly is lox? I've always wondered. Is it yummy?

I am thoroughly enjoying your description of the food on the cruise. Of course, I have been known to have Mark take notes on the buffet at the Bellagio when he ate there while he was at an exercise for a week at Nellis, so there you go...

Anonymous said...

wow! I am so living vicariously through your pictures! lol! that's right- I didn't have a "real" vacation this year (or last year either- I took a new job instead of going on our honeymoon!) so I am vacationing in my mind using your pictures from Alaska to guide me and I have to say it's breathtakingly beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!

Leesburg, VA

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures! I'm so jealous - I want to go on a cruise, but not this year - I'm off to the beach which is where the kids want to go. Oh well, maybe for our 10th wedding anniversary in 2 years!!!


Anonymous said...

I think lox is thinly sliced raw salmon.

Denise Tidwell said...

I miss it, I miss it, I miss it! With the weather being so damn hot this week, I have had some serious thinking about a move to Alaska...the kids said it would be social suicide for them??

lizinsumner said...

Gotta chuckle {{{chuckle, chuckle, hee-hee}}} because last week my mouse decided it was too tired to continue and FROZE in the middle of my screen. It sat there that way for 3 ENTIRE DAYS while I frantically tried everything that I could, including running to Best Buy to buy a new mouse, to fix it. By the time I got back to work on Monday after a week-end of frustration and one of my engineers said "well, you stupid idiot, have you tried to boot it up yet into safe mode?" to which I indignantly replied "well, I would've but I couldn't remember how to" and he walked away, mumbling "F8 key, you stupid fool!", I went home, did a cold boot to safe mode, and doggone if the darn mouse didn't heal itself! Of course, now I have NO SOUND, but it's not stressing me out as much as the mouse problem did. After several days without the computer, I had the DTs by the time I had it working again. I am SO buying a MAC this fall!