Posted August 3rd, 2012, 03:15 AM
One of the problems with writing “The Review that Would Not End” some two weeks after the fact is faulty memory, a problem that seems to get worse since I’m now 39+ (plus, plus, etc.) Anyway… I said all that to say this: I forgot the escargot! Yup, Alfredo mentioned the escargot as an “off-menu” offering on the first formal night and I snapped it up! I think I ate it after the two shrimp cocktails as kind of a “post-appetizer appetizer!” Let me tell you, those bottom-feeding little poop-eating snails make an excellent delivery vehicle for garlic and butter. My MIL, BIL and “Tony” (my SIL’s paramour) also ordered and scarfed the slimy little suckers. Yum!
Monday, July 16 dawned early for me and, as usual, not-so-early for the wifey. This was the day we were scheduled to arrive in Juneau about noon and stay until about ten that evening. While my DW slept I left the cabin and, after waiting what must’ve been 45 seconds or more for the elevator, bounded up the two flights of stairs to the Horizon Court for first breakfast. I must’ve been hungry since I can’t find photographic evidence of whatever it was I ate that morning (I usually take pics of my food – don’t ask me why.) I seem to recall British Sausage (some suspect animal parts ground up, seasoned and shoved into a casing, then boiled for an indeterminate amount of time) and scrambled eggs. You know the ones that go right through you in no time at all. I believe I added two slices of cantaloupe to convince myself that I was, indeed, eating healthy on this trip. I washed this all down with two of the world’s smallest glasses of orange juice and then headed down to the Promenade deck to look for whales and smoke my electronic cigarette on the non-smoking side of the ship -- just for fun.
I was on the Promenade deck when I first heard him speaking somewhere in the distance, droning on about how if I were just on the other side of the ship I would right now be seeing “more seals than we have seen on any trip thus far this year.” It was naturalist Michael Modzelewski or, as I call him, Michael Monotoneski – a staple of Princess cruises who always seems to be on the Golden whenever we cruise in Alaska. Some people absolutely love him and I am ready for them. Flame away! I actually enjoyed him for a day or two during my first Alaska cruise until I realized that every day we were seeing something better than any had seen thus far this year and how every pass near the glacier was closer than any ship had gotten this season and so on and so on and so on. Others I know have cruised with him and they too had these unique and special experiences on all of their respective cruises! I moved over to the other side of the ship (pocketing my electronic cigarette) and didn’t see a blessed seal, only to be told that now, on the other side of the ship a humpback whale was breaching at that very moment! According to Mr. Monotoneski that made it official: we had now seen “more whales on the approach into Juneau than any other cruise thus far this year.” Shaking my head in disgust, I dove into a waiting elevator and went back upstairs to wake my DW.
She was already awake. We had been sleeping with the balcony door cracked to hear the lapping of the waves against the ship (those that could be heard over the slight wheezing of my C-PAP machine, that is) and through this opening she had heard Michael’s commentary wafting down from the bridge above. She came out of the bathroom and uttered the six words that will strike fear into the heart of any man: “there’s something wrong with the toilet.” Seems that she had taken her morning constitutional and then realized that the toilet would not flush. Human nature being what it is, I couldn’t just call it in – I had to go take a look. At that moment, some 24 months and 27 days after we exchanged our holy vows, I can tell you that the honeymoon officially ended. How something like that emerged from my 120-pound-soaking-wet Missus is totally beyond me. I pushed the button a couple of times and nothing, not a trickle, nada. I was in such shock that she had to call maintenance to report the problem. Within minutes a maintenance engineer appeared and asked to take a look at our toilet. Seconds later he emerged, backing slowly out of the cabin (murmuring in Latin, I believe) before saying he thought he could fix it from the small room in the hallway. Within five minutes, no lie, we were flushing away! It was time to meet up with the IL’s and go into Juneau.
We took the blue bus to Mendenhall Glacier, buying our tickets from one of the booths near the dock. The normal price is eight dollars each way but my FIL played one little booth off another until our party of seven was traveling for six dollars each way. The guy in the booth next to him was yelling five bucks by the time we were through, but money was already changing hands and you gotta cut negotiations somewhere. After arriving at the bus stop, we hiked up to Nugget Falls (maybe a mile hike each way) and got some wonderful pictures of the beautiful blue Mendenhall Glacier. After our return we browsed through the shopping district where we bought a Rie Munoz poster from one store and a tanzanite ring and necklace from another. Yeah – we’re consumers. The ring had to be sized down to a size 5 so we agreed to return to pick it up after our early traditional dinner on the ship. My DW had the surf and turf (and promptly gave me her shrimp) and I had the tasty cod. Calamari steak was also on the menu so we ordered one for the table and tried it out. I guess they cut it off the side of the squid? It was tasty enough with a consistency similar to a scallop.
We returned to our room after dinner and got ready to go pick up the jewelry and had a disturbing realization: we had left the Rie Munoz poster somewhere! I seemed to recall laying it on the counter in the jewelry store (I always get a little nervous when she spends our money) and must’ve left it sitting there. Surely someone had picked it up and was now decorating their cruise ship cabin with it. Oh well… We skedaddled back into town and went into the jewelry store where we picked up the perfectly-sized ring and matching necklace and I hopefully asked if someone had found a cardboard tube with a poster rolled up in it. I’ll be damned if they didn’t have it behind the counter! Woot! Woot! (What does “woot” mean, anyway? When I was growing up it was always “woo hoo!”) We thanked the honest jewelers (is that an oxymoron or what?) and headed back to the ship where we made our combined twenty dollar donation to the casino en route to the late “adults only” show of the comedian Rollin’ Jay Moore in the Vista Lounge. This guy was &#[email protected]
(&*! hilarious and so ^%#[email protected]
! funny that my )(^*%#$! started hurting from laughing so #+%^&[email protected]
! much. My DW kept throwing back the mocktails and me – I carried-in a couple of Diet Cokes and, ahem, water. Yeah, I got no shame. Back to our cabin to sleep it off…
Note: In retrospect, I think I figured out what plugged the toilet. I disposed of two used condoms in there and they must’ve plugged it up. Next time I’ll have to find some other place to throw them…
~~ Dale & Liz ~~
"and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by"
Golden Princess - Alaska 08/09
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