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French Toast in Alaska

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Vacation. Alaska. Cruise. Right.

That odd feeling I got in the beginning of our cruise is not fading away. From day one I felt that we are in some odd dimension where we are forced into a small, inadequate space with mean spirits instead of people. That’s what confinement on a ship does to you: your world shrinks, your obnoxious side comes out, and nothing else matters.

What People Repeatedly Like to Do On a Cruise

  • Cut in front of you in the main dining room line to be seated. A family of five walked in front of the line, pushed us to one side, and requested to be seated. I understand that this family did not want to stand in a line of thirty people. Beaker, who is generally a mellow guy, yelled in a strangely low and intense voice “You just cut in line, people! We were here first!”
  • Push you away from food at the buffet line. Just because you are older than me, it doesn’t mean you get to push me around. Or budge in with your plate and start piling French toasts on it, ignoring my astonished looks.
  • Slowly walk in front of you with their three mean spirit friends, in a narrow hallway designed for only one and a half person, stopping abruptly, making you bump into them. Then, for some stupid reason, everyone takes a long time to stand in that hallway, creating a traffic jam both ways, and obviously not caring. We stand in that claustrophobic space what seems for hours, me breathing on their necks, and them, contemplating where to eat.
  • Pretend to be deaf while their children howl in the main dining room. I don’t really understand how you can have a meaningful conversation when your child is reddish blue from continuos, uninterrupted shrieking, eyes bulging and saliva dripping off the chin? Who are these parents?!

What to Expect On a Cruise

  • Cheesy entertainment. You might even get embarrassed for the things people do on stage.
  • Wintery cold weather. Don’t be naive (like us) and think that you will be able to sit on the deck and enjoy Alaska’s scenery. The rain will pour. The wind will blow. Your five layers of sweaters, warm gloves, your winter hat and even a shot of whiskey will not be enough to protect you from Alaska’s cold.
  • Eating more than any normal, sane, intelligent person should ever do. You will gain weight. I promise.
  • Not enough time in ports. You will not be able to explore your destinations in depth. You will have to get up early, run fast, and cram a lot of things together. You will miss a lot of sightseeing because you cannot do it all on a cruise.
  • If you are 5’8 feet or taller, your feet will be hanging over the edge of your bed.
  • Communal dining. It is really communal. You will get to know your neighbors whether you want to or not.
  • Tacky ship decor. Think in terms of Las Vegas on acid in the late 80s. I wasn’t in the states yet in the late 80s, but I’ve seen it in real life. On the Norwegian Jewel. A week ago.
  • Jewelry stores at every port. Do you think Alaska is known for tanzanites and diamonds? Do you think instead of oil rigs, salmon, and bears, Alaska is a synonym for diamond mines? You might believe it when you see all the jewelry stores lined up outside the docks. Naive tourists do not realize that the stores are owned by the cruise lines, and shed their money on the same stuff they can buy at home. Sad.
  • 15% auto gratuity on drinks. The service is not always good. Some waiters are rude. Some just don’t care. I got a glass of wine once that was deluded with water.
  • People don’t follow any rules. Beware.

All The Things I Loved

  • Alaska, and its locals.
  • Bears
  • Whales
  • The ocean
  • Bald eagles
  • Glaciers
  • Icebergs
  • Waterfalls
  • Flight on a seaplane over the Misty Fjords
  • Emerald Lake
  • Beaker losing his temper and yelling at people
  • Being back home

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