Monthly Archives: August 2011
Again with that over exaggerating. I can’t help it. It’s a seriously built in response to everything I see in life. I have absolutely no desire to change it either.
Now I have hinted about it for quite some time now but on day5 of the cruise the boat docked in Skagway, Alaska and I has no idea what horror lay ahead of me.
I was booked to go on a pleasant three-hour train ride through the mountains to see the beautiful scenery of Alaska.
All was well. The train would go up the mountain, stop at the border of Canada and come back down the mountain. No biggy.
Ok, it was a little biggy when a 1/2 hour into the train ride the train began edging along the mountain ledge with a sharp 1500 foot drop on one side and a rock wall an inch away from the train on the other side. Not much room for error, I’ll say.
This wasn’t that big of a deal. I stayed on the side of the train where I didn’t have to observe that (minimum) 1500 foot sharp drop off the side of the train and told myself that this train runs a billion and one times and there is nothing to worry about.
Then everybody on the train looks over and sees a train that has fallen over the edge a few years back
It’s ok. I’m ok. I can get through this.
Yay! The top! We have reached the border and there is solid land on both sides of us now.
The two engines then detached and made there way to the opposite side of the train so we could make our way down. Down that step ledge again. Over the crickity bridge again. Through the un-lit dark tunnels again. Around those sharp turns with a 2000 drop to view beside us. It will be ok.
And it was ok until we heard a loud banging and popping noise and find out that the brakes have failed. YES! THE BREAKS HAVE FAILED ON THE WAY DOWN THE MOUNTAIN!
Thank goodness for emergency brakes because they were quickly turned on and we were stopped. With a 2000 foot drop off one side of the train.
I was panicking a bit. But I saw the conductor some out of the land side of the train and try to fix things for a 1/2 hour. The most nerve-racking 1/2 hour of my life because did I mention that there was a 2000 foot drop off one side of the train?
The conductor comes back on the speakers and says, “We are having break trouble but hopefully it’s fixed. We will give this another try.”
What!!!!??? Hopefully, and try!!! These are two words I could have lived without hearing.
And they tried.
And all was well for a minute until we proceeded to ride through that pitch black tunnel I mentioned. The train nor the tunnel were lit and the breaks decided to fail again. And the emergency brake decided to go on again.
Everyone was using their cell phones to light up the place.
The tour guide was walking through the train cars when I stopped her and asked her why they were putting our lives in jeopardy like that. Seriously, I asked her that.
And guess what she told me! She said that this happens 2 or 3 times a season. What??!! Did I hear her correctly? Is it not time to get a new train?!!
The conductor came on and told us that they cut out one of the engines and that hopefully that would solve the problem.
But my fear didn’t go away.
I was excited to get on the airplane.
I mean the rest of the trip. Just in case you didn’t know what I meant by “The Rest”. You may have been thinking I was talking about resting as in the verb to rest. But I am assuming you are really, very smart people, the smartest in the world actually, so I am sure you knew what I meant.
You have seen the first day of the cruise, the second day (which was the wedding), the 3rd day (1st port of call) and no other days. That leaves me with the remaining 4 days. 1 of those days was at sea and I took no pictures, mainly because I was really sick. That day, specifically, deserves its own post. So I leave you with 3 trip days in this lovely post: Glacier Bay along with Juneau, Skagway and Victoria (in B.C…yay Canada!).
Here is how the days went down and the plane stayed up (oh, I’ll save the awesome plane story for another awesome post as well).
This is not Glacier Bay. I told you it was Glacier Bay but I was wrong. This is very close to the bay though. Apparently, the cruises takes turns going to the bay and we happened to be on one that had to go somewhere else…it wasn’t our turn . This is actually Tracy Fjord Arms or Tracy Arms Fjord….I think.
The ship went into this fjord and spun around so we could get a breathtaking view…the most breathtaking part was waking up at 5:30am to see it.
We sailed very, very slowly from 5:30 am until around 7:30 through this Fjord before we turned around and left. We were completely back at see by 10am.
I am really sad that my picture-taking abilities are not up to par with my eyesight. So I am going to show you some mediocre photos that do this fjord no justice…
The pics are in chronological order from beginning to enter the fjord until the last pick (above) which is in the fjord.
Honestly one of the best things I have ever seen!
Ok, moving on. We sailed for another 4 hours after the fjord and eventually arrived in rainy Juneau.
By far, the best stop on the trip was Skagway. This is probably due to the great, sunny weather that we had for the first time on the trip and partly because I had a train ride that I will remember for centuries (I will dedicate a whole post to the train ride and you will see what I mean.)
Here are some fond memories from Skagway…
These first few pics were all taken from the train ride and then I took some when I went into town.
That waterfall can only be seen from the train ride and is 1500 feet or something like that. I love that it is running on such a horizontal angle and visible even though the trees are so abundant around it.
We rode up 3500 feet and at the top we crossed the original border that the Alaskan’s took to get to Canada to mine for gold. Check out my beautiful Canadian flag. And in case you were thinking I crossed over into the Yukon (like I thought) we only crossed over onto a very northern area of B.C.
Now it’s time to go back down the mountain…
And in the town of Skagway, I captured this pretty good shot…
Once again, moving on.
The nest day of the cruise was entirely at sea. I got sick…I’ll save that story for later (seems like I am doing that a lot in this post but don’t worry, I’ll come back and link everything up for your convenience).
But day 7 was a great day. As we were sailing very south towards Victoria Island, the weather was very warm and the sky was crystal clear.
I didn’t get any great shot in Victoria because I took a bus tour and by the time I had my camera ready to shoot, we drove on…
But I did get great pics of dinner! It also happened to be my little sis’ 13th birthday!
Here is a toast to her birthday…
We exited the boat so, so early on Sunday morning, headed to the airport and the flights were all booked.
Another 2 days in Seattle followed but I am home, safe now.
I loved this experience.
I’ll definitely, definitely do it again! NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!!!
Cruising is not about staying on the ship and the ocean all day for seven days. Thank goodness. I would be very ill if that was the case. We had 4 ports of call during the voyage. Ports of call are ports that the ship docks at, lets the passengers off and then leaves the same day to sail again.
After constant sailing for a day and a half we were all very ready for dry, solid, non-moving land. And Ketchikan welcomed us with…fog and rain.
But quite honestly, fog and rain could NEVER, EVER take away from the beauty of Alaska.
We arrived at 7 am but after a hefty wedding the day before, I wasn’t going anywhere until noon.
I headed to a balcony (not mine, I had an inside cabin) and look what view pleasantly awaited me…
Interesting fact about Ketchikan: You cannot get to it by roads. The only way to access this city is by boat or plane.
And I looked right…
And I looked left again…
And I decided it was time to face the rain and get off the ship…
I headed into town. It was small.
I walked around for a half hour, bought a chocolate bar, took 2 pictures, bought a pair of fluffy Alaskan socks for FBF (no worries, he knows), got cold, headed back to the ship, went in the adult only hot tub…the benefit of cruising.
Oh, p.s. Alaska is FREEZING! Even in August! Ketchikan was the coldest because it was the most northern city we visited on the adventure.
People also had the option of going on excursions at the port of call. Some of my sister’s friends took a float plane up the mountains for a huge crab bake…yum!
Everyone else I spoke to decided to save the excursions for the other ports of call. And since you choose the excursions waaaay ahead of time that was pure luck since this city proved to have the worst of the weather.
One more interesting thing about Ketchikan: Some people were able to glimpse a real “The Deadliest Catch” boat!!
Welcome…I have been awaiting your company. I am sure you have also been anticipating mine because your mind will never be the same after seeing this series of pictures. You will never go back to those dull, lifeless visions in your head but instead revert to these pictures.
(only one pic per post as to not blow your brain…)
Prime rib…oh so good!
I am back! From outer space! I just came in to find you here without that look upon your face. I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you give your key, if I’d had known for just one second, you’d be back to bother me…
Sorry, stuck in my head from a few nights ago…
Anyways, in honour of our reunion from being apart for a few days, I am showing you some pictures from my first cruising day, starting with me standing outside the humongous ship…
The ship didn’t take off for quite some time so everyone was exploring the cruise while it was still at the port. Here is what I found…
It was definitely I nice view in starting the cruise, than followed by 24 hours of rain, fog and nothing but ocean.
And this is the very front of the boat…or at least close to the very front of the boat.
The boat started to leave the port after a couple of hours and here are some awesome pictures I took as we started to move away from Seattle. The boat moved quite slow for the first few hours, but by night, we were in open water, speeding ahead…
The night ended with a mini-comedy act. This performer was on a few night later for his “full” act. He was quite funny. Others in the group couldn’t stand him.
He made a lot of fat jokes…and jokes about him lack of knowing lyrics in songs…which was funny at the time…and totally relate-able.
Oh! And one more wicked pic of the”grand foyer”. This is not actually what it was called, it’s just my own personal name for the place. It looks so grand!
Oh and I am adding a food section to this “Alaskan Adventure” category on this blog, so stay tuned for some mouth-watering photos of the food I have been eating. I am sure you will book your cruise after you see the first one.
I don’t have long to write you because in a few minutes I am leaving this hotel and heading aboard the cruise ship!! Finally this moment has arrived!! And I am excited!! As you can tell…
I researched internet for the cruise and the verdict is: I will have 120 minutes of internet for the seven days. I will continue to post but sorry folks, it will be one a day…:)
Anyways, got to go but before I do, I will leave you with this photo…
Yesterday my sister, her fiance, their friends and I went to a very, very fancy dinner and this is the dessert my sister was surprised with…a little wedding surprise! Don’t mind that guy in the background. He is the best man and my sister, not wanting him to feel left out, decided she would spoon feed him some of the ice cream. She ended up spilling chocolate all over his good shirt…
I haven’t stopped shopping since I got here. It’s just that everything is so, so inexpensive.
In total I have been here for 3 days and purchased:
- A pair of shoes
- A book
- A top
- A cardigan
- A nightgown
- A blue jacket
- A pretty scarf
- A pair of flip flops
- And I had a manicure and pedicure done
You see! I must leave asap!
Speaking of the blue jacket and pretty scarf…look at them! They are just so wonderful! I’ll tell you the prices too!
Did you see those prices?! This is why I have been buying so much!
Oh, and check out the cardigan that I am wearing with the scarf. That was from Target for $11.00
Welcome to my new “Book” section of this blog.
I love reading. I read a lot and when I come across a great book, I want to share.
This post is not a book review, but I assure you, the review will come shortly.
Yesterday I went to the Flight Museum here in Seattle. I was pleasantly surprised to find a book section in the store at the museum. I quickly scanned all of the books, looking for the words “overcome” and “fear” and “safe” in any of the book titles. I didn’t see any, mainly because I was heavily distracted by what I did find.
The book above is called Wind, Sand and Stars. The author of the book is Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Have you heard of him? No! Where were you the last many important years!!!
Antoine De Saint-Exupery is a French pilot and also a philosopher who wrote the extremely famous story Le Petit Prince, or in English The Little Prince. The Little Prince was the first story I read in French. I read it in English too because after reading it in French, I realized that there were a few really important messages to get from the book.
It was amazing, heart-warming, and a book to remember for a lifetime. It was about following your dreams, about living simply, and about understanding the meaning of life. It was written as a children’s’ book but clearly made for adults.
In this book store at the flight museum, The Little Prince was displayed brightly on a shelf and I got a tingle inside! Beside it lay two other books from the same author. I couldn’t resist! I was curious as to what else this pilot/philosopher has to say about life.
On the cover of the book you will see it says it is one of National Geographic’s top ten adventure books of all time. The plot summary on the back looks great too! I am quoting a sentence that captured my attention: “Wind, Sand and Stars is unsurpassed in capturing the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight.”
I will let you know all about the book as I read it. Wanna read along?
I am not really going into this book with expectations. Maybe just one: I’m hoping that the reality behind the author’s voice will hit home. Before I finish the book I want to accept my fear, embrace it and let it go. Or better
Last night I promised a post on the flight museum I visited. The post didn’t happen after I wrote about the mountain and fell asleep.
So here is the (wonderful, amazing, exciting, interesting) story about the flight museum!
As you know, because I have mentioned it in a million posts, over and over again, I am slightly fearful of flying. I was extremely scared to take the flight over here to Seattle but I had a really pleasant experience on the flight. Because I am so determined to overcome this fear, I prepped myself for the flight, relaxed and talked myself out of any anxiety I was having.
When I arrived safely in Seattle my mom kind of gave us the scoop on what we were going to be visiting while here, before we aboard the cruise to Alaska. One of the things on the list was the flight museum!
I was so excited to find out that I was going to this museum! In my opinion, education is a great way to overcome a fear. I wanted to know EVERYTHING about flight (except the bad stuff). I went on skype with FBF yesterday to say hi and I was so excited about this museum I told him like this: “GUESS WHAT!!!!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEE ARE GOOOOOING TO THE FLIGHT MUSEUM TODAY!!!! YAY!!!!!” Yes, that is how excited I was.
First stop was the space exhibit. After all, getting to space is a pretty significant part of the flying thingy.
After visiting the moon, this is how the Russians came back to earth. Each astronaut had their own little ball. Don’t quote me on this. Please
Check out the inside of that baby. Or…as much of this inside that I could capture on camera. It was hanging from the ceiling. It’s not bad photography skills, I swear..Seriously, I am an awesome photographer…years of experience…seriously…
Chicken and rice anyone?
Oh look! Now it’s the airplane part!!!!
Only seven hours!!!! Hey, I’m taking a Boeing too!
This is the state’s president Kennedy’s actual airplane, now at the flight museum…
Oh, and the best part of the day…The museum is attached to an airline and on the way out, we got to watch a 747 land!
Pure Grace. Like Princess Diana.
By the way, the museum helped a BUNCH in me getting over this fear. Flight is just so normal and incidents are just so rare. Before I logically knew this, now I am starting to really understand this.
And quite the coincidence in the choice of activity!
I bought a book about flight at the museum too! But more on that later…