Catch Me, Ketchikan

I’m disappointed. I mean, here we are in Alaska, and Ted Stevens has not stopped by to say hello. That’s the least he could do for me, considering CNN put the InterTubes bLaugh in one of their segments the other day! I was sorting through my spam remotely (through VNC to my home computer) when I saw a message from Mitch which claimed that the comic had appeared at the end of a “Situation Room” segment. Sure enough, Crooks and Liars captured the video for me to see it second-hand. The quality isn’t amazing, but it seems that in the broadcast, they kept our sponsor’s message (the GoDaddy coupon code “bLaugh”) intact. Freakin’ sweet! I wonder if we’re anywhere near Ted’s place today?

Ponzi couldn’t wait to hit Ketchikan today, although her window for shopping will be relatively short. We docked in the early morning hours and will be departing before 1pm. I’ve been playing the “lazy card” for most of this week, and today is no exception. I could hear the seaplanes buzzing a few hundred feet away, but that wasn’t enough to wake me from my slumber. It’s a bit overcast in this port, which is exactly how I like it. I’m chilling in the ship’s library right now (though it’s far from quiet here). Ponzi’s on shore, no doubt looking for sales and specials and more ways to ensure that our suitcases will get the honorable “HEAVY” tag slapped upon them before transport. I’m just glad she didn’t force me to tag along; I really can’t stand shopping if I don’t know what I want or have nothing specific to attain. She, on the other hand, has some kind of “buy” instinct. Is there a pill for that?

We’ll be back in Seattle on Saturday morning. The concierge asked if the latest departure time would be okay. 10am? Fine by me. We’re honestly in no rush. That said, I’m very much looking forward to returning to an “always on” Internet connection. I’m thankful that Pluggd stepped in to sponsor our connectivity while on board Holland America’s Oosterdam, but those moments are fleeting. It’ll be far better to post photos after I’ve had a chance to sort through them and pick out the best ones. The text summations are sufficient, considering we really haven’t done many touristy things in Alaska. I almost wish we could stay another week. Almost.

Sitting in Sitka

I can’t remember falling asleep last night. It’s not like we had a very active day (though I did crash early the night before after another round of fine cigars and cognac). Ponzi was up late, ordering chocolate cake and a club sandwich from room service after Midnight. I woke up to the sound of the ship’s activities director, telling us that we had finally arrived at Sitka. I didn’t want to get out of bed – it was too comfortable. What’s there to do in Sitka? Not much, as we would come to discover.

According to reports, there were a few stores in town – and Ponzi’s sale magnet was spinning wildly (she had it implanted a few months ago). We finished watching the morning movie, ate our breakfast in bed, and prepared ourselves for a small adventure in Sitka. This is where Alaska became a member of the United States – a good reason to go ashore via tender. We didn’t even grab a cup of coffee before heading out!

On the streets of Sitka, we found several stores. Before too long, however, we found ourselves dining at the Raven Room. I ordered the reindeer sausage sandwich and an Alaskan ale – and I’d heartily recommend both. We stopped by the post office to mail a few postcards, moseyed down the block to pick up two breve mochas, and continued to window shop our way to exhaustion. Two hours seemed like four, and I was ready to head back to the ship for a game of Scrabble and leisure time on our verandah. Didn’t get to tour Castle Hill, but at least we can say that we were there.

Spam checked, bLaugh read, reports written (courtesy of Pluggd). Time to play afternoon bingo and snack on some gourmet cheese.

Do you know Juneau?

Today marks the first day we’ll be stepping off the ship. We’re in Juneau, Alaska – ready to embark on our first dogsledding adventure! I hope to have a few good photos from that excursion. We haven’t quite yet docked for the day, though the views outside our stateroom window have been absolutely amazing. It’s been like watching a long, scrolling postcard from the time we woke up a few hours ago until now. It’s true what they say – the landscape is pretty amazing. The weather is pretty temperate right now, too – haven’t seen a single iceberg float by. I’m a little disappointed that we won’t be touching the Arctic Ocean before turning around and heading back south. It would’ve been “cool” to say that I had been there.

I guess Alaska loves tourists – given the amount of primping and priming the cruise shopping director is giving us through the ship’s closed-network video channel. Ponzi can’t wait to hit the shops, if only to find a totem pole “face” that we can hang on our wall at home. She’s also looking forward to finding a few tanzanite pieces. I think I’m spelling that correctly? I guess it’s a gem that’s native to the area. Maybe I can convince her to go panning for gold at some point during this trip? I did it once in Colorado when I was a kid, turning up a gold flake or two (planted for the kiddies, no doubt).

Thanks again to Pluggd for giving us the opportunity to get online during this cruise on Holland America’s Oosterdam!

Pluggd Keeps Us Plugged In

Expect to see plugs for Pluggd in the near future: they’re sponsoring our Internet connection on the cruise next week! As it stands, I’ll be checking in at least once a day from the Holland America cruiseliner – text and photos, guaranteed. I’ll post daily audio experiences as well – so long as upload speeds aren’t capped at 2400bps! Drew Olanoff made the cruise connection for us – and for that I’m damn thankful, period. Alex Castro (Pluggd CEO) and I are getting together at Caffe Vita this evening – and I’m bringing the iRiver Clix podcast recording device with me. The audio quality may not be outstanding, but at least it’ll get the job done.