Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May 14 -- Juneau

Today was spent touring Juneau the Alaskan Capital and the largest city in southeast Alaska at 31,000. Of course, today the population soared when 3 cruise ships carrying about 2,000 passengers each pulled into port. Tomorrow we understand there will be 5 cruise ships in port. The tourist season has begun. Our first excursion was to the State Capitol, which might be the only non-domed capitol building. When one of the tour guides was asked why it did not have a dome, he responded that maybe they didn’t know how to build domes. A tourist’s retort was: “they’re just like building Igloos.” The Capitol is the brown brick building with a statue of a bear in the foreground. We then went to a Russian Orthodox Church, which is the white building with blue trim. There were no pews in the church--just a couple of benchs for the elderly. The Priest was there and we talked to him for about 30 minutes. We learned that their masses are between 90 minutes to 2 hours long and that everyone stands during the mass. We then went to the Governor’s Mansion, which is the building with the white columns. The current Governor is a Republican woman who must have kids or grandkids because there were trampolines and tree swings in the back yard. The next stop was the infamous Red Dog Saloon with its swinging Dutch doors. The floor was covered with sawdust. When we asked how often they changed the sawdust, the response was “Never. We just add more.” Lunch was reindeer sausage and tortilla soup. Jack had an Alaskan Amber beer with his and Joann had a “Duck Fart” with hers. A Duck Fart consists of Bailey’s Kahlua and Canadian Crown Royale whiskey. She liked it. Go figure! The Red Dog policy is: “If our food, drinks and service are not up to your standards, then please lower your standards.” In the afternoon we did a little shopping and then took a tour to Mendenhall Glacier, which is about 13 miles outside Juneau. It was sad to hear that the Glacier is melting at the rate of 100 feet a year and within 100 years, it will be gone if it continues at this rate. Our 68 year old Tinglit bus driver said he would have to find a new job then. In the picture of the Glacier you can see chunks of ice floating in the lake in front of the Glacier. When we returned from the trip, we decided to walk back to the ship versus taking a shuttle. It appeared to be just a short distance. About 3 miles later and winded, we arrived at the dock. We sail at 8:30 pm. We should sleep well tonight.

Dickie, the last picture is for you. These are the only Puffins we have seen so far although we have seen loads of bald eagles. There were 18 in on tree next to City Hall.


Jenn K said...

Wow, that's really sad that the glacier is melting so quickly. And there are people out there who don't believe in global warming or the fact that humans play a huge role in global warming--it's ridiculous.

I think you guys would have had a very hard time getting me to go to church if I had to stand for two hours! That's crazy.

Sounds like you got some good exercise today.

jeanine said...

Hmmm... I think I inherited my sense of distance from you. When I was in Temecula I made a coworker walk with me for an hour and half to get to a TexMex place that was "right up the block."

I don't think I could swallow a drink called "duck fart." Seriously, mom, that's gross.

Dickie said...

Well now there's a new drink for the Grand Dames!!! Can't wait to try that one!
Thanks for the pics of the puffins. I suspect you will see them if you cruise Glacier Bay on your trip. That's were we saw the most.
Truth about the glaciers....they have been growing and receeding for millions of years and this is just part of their cycle. True global warming doesn't help but there are places they are growing. Just enjoy them while we can! If you get to Glacier Bay you will have to watch for calving! That's the most awesome sight to see.
I'm with you Jenn I wouldn't stand in church for 2 hours either!

Jim & Nancy said...

I think we took a picture of that church on our curse. It was locked on the day we visited. Looks like you are having nice weather. Hope you are enjoying the evening entertainment on the ship.

Jim & Nancy