And we're back! With my shiny new 1GB memory card, I managed to take 500 pictures in the course of 9 days. Not a bad average, I'll say. Once I trim the fat and fix some redeyes, they'll be on Flickr for mass enjoyment. I'll also be working on a play-by-play of sorts for you guys with more details about each day, but in the meantime,
Cool Stuff About Our Alaska Cruise That I Don't Have Pictures Of:
I can't believe I didn't take a picture of this, but they had onboard what they call a "Hydrotherapy Pool", which was an approximately 15'x15' whirlpool. Not hot tub hot, more like bathtub hot, with jets EVERYWHERE. One entire side was this sort of half-submerged chaise lounge made out of chrome bars with jets underneath, so you could recline in the water with bubbles coming up beneath you. In the center there was a round enclosed area with even more concentrated jets where the bubbles came up so fast if you didn't hold on you could find yourself floating out of the circle. It wasn't totally chlorinated like a regular pool, and the lady who showed it to us said it was mineral water. Evan and I bought cruise-long passes for this and the rest of the "Hydro Suite", which also featured this room with heated ceramic tile lounge chairs that overlooked a big panorama window. Heated chairs, soft music, tinkling fountains, and snowcapped mountains outside = naptime.
One of my favorite lines from the movie Clueless is when Dionne's boyfriend is trying to tell Cher that Christian is gay, and calls him "an Oscar Wilde-reading, Barbara Streisand ticket-holding, Friend of Dorothy". Every day on the itinerary there was at least one Friends of Dorothy event. I had no idea that this was a common or widespread gay code term, I just thought it was a funny line from the movie. They also had Friends of Bill W. events, which I only learned today is code for an AA meeting. Cruises must be rough places for folks in AA.
On the first day, Evan and I ate at the Lido Buffet, the casual Caio Hall dining area, where standing at the line, a friendly staff member hands us our tray and asks us how we're doing. I say we're doing great and ask how he's doing. He sort of singsongingly replies, "hunky dory." I giggle and marvel at the rarity of the response, and make a mental note to start using it more. He asks me my name, and Evan's name, and then points at his name badge, which clearly reads, I. HUNKY DORY. For the rest of the trip, we'd see him and ask how he was doing, and you guessed it, he was hunky dory. I tried googling a picture of him, hoping someone else has one, and wouldn'tcha know it, Hunky Dory is a bit of a cruiseline celebrity.
I have converted Evan to the Church of Craps. I told him a while ago he'd take to craps well, considering that like his other favorite game, it involves complicated mental probability calculations and rolling dice. We played a decent amount over the trip, and won enough some days to cover losing on others, both ending up less than $10 in the hole. Craps tends to draw it's fair share of characters, and this table was no exception. There was a woman who looked sort of like Cathy Moriarity who waltzed up to the table, tossed out a $5 C/E with a $1 chaser for the crew, and nailed the yo on the comeout. Twice. Then there was the guy at the end of the table who sounded like Yosemite Sam, who only played the minimum $5 pass bet, and then would put upwards of $60 and $70 on the hardways. He'd shout awesome stuff like "Gimme tha hawd ways! C'mon, naw! Gimme sumthin' haaawd! Shootuh, apologize to daddy for that roll, now, give us the hawd stuff!" It's that sort of commitment to the game and the eccentric joie de vivre that makes craps the best game in the casino. I dare anyone not to get wrapped up in the fun with people like those around.
I guess that's enough to read for now. I'll be giving this trip the full recap it deserves, so it's going to be a big week of entries for me. Good thing my boss is out of the office until Friday - I've got a lot of surfing and chatting to catch up on.