Because I'm a ship nerd, I had a lot of fun watching them set the whole thing up, swinging the boats out and lowering them into the water.
|Yes, I know I'm pathetic|
In Ketchikan it rains 364.7 days out of the year (365.7 in leap years) and true to form, it was raining heavily. A number of locals made the point that what we had today was just a light rain.
So we went ashore, where you learn all kinds of interesting things about Alaskan liquor laws:
|Have another, Frank. We may not be back here until you can buy it yourself.|
At the corner of the bar was a wooden beam. Because it stuck out under the railing it received a lot of rain, with the result that plants had taken root:
We walked around. Standing at this point I overhead one of the other tourists (Mr. Macho) say: "They have handicapped people here, too? I thought this was Alaska."
Because of the rain the stores had rolled their giant stuffed animal photo-stops inside, but this place had replaced theirs with a plastic one:
|Pretend it's a stuffed moose, Marie.|
Again, we wandered around the usual selection of stores selling Alaska shirts, hats, baseball caps, jackets, ulu knives, socks, wood carvings of moose, Burt’s Bees stuff, ulu knives, selfie sticks, picture frames, keychains, and ulu knives. I sort of just follow along, and pay the bills. I mean, it’s not like you expect one store is going to have anything different from another.
Here's some examples of what you can buy:
|"Honey, do you think a Hog would fit in the suitcase?"|
|"Can't wait to wear this to singles night."|
After wandering around for a while we went on a Duck tour. For those unfamiliar, it involves being driven around the city in an amphibious bus, which then drives into the bay and boats you around the harbor (in some cities they’re called Seal tours).
The tour immediately got off to a good start when we encountered our favorite leather purse... Mrs. Bitchy. She had a bag full of souvenir shit on the empty seat next to her, and refused to move it so my Mom could sit down. Even when told to do so by the skipper she refused, arguing that, by paying for a ticket, she was entitled to an extra seat for her packages. Eventually she ended up leaving the bus/boat and getting a refund, but not before flipping all of us the bird.
We passed this place:
|"Screw you and your copyrighted name."|
As we cruised around the harbor we went by a fish processing plant on the dock. The water around the building was covered in white froth, which our guide explained was “leftover liquefied fish parts.” I thought Craig was going to barf. Frank's phone said "I've found 17 fish restaurants nearby."
We passed what looked like a closed fast-food place... As it turned out that's exactly what it was. The guide explained that corporate IQ types, none of whom lived locally, thought a waterfront fast-food drive-thru would be a big hit. Failing to take local warnings into account, they built it. The problem was that the drive-thru was located where high waterfront winds can blast through at 50-70 mph and carry a lot of water with them, making it pretty damn hard to hear orders, pay for them, or hand over bags of food. So it was a remarkably short lived venture. After dealing with them in healthcare, it's nice to know the corporate types are equally stupid elsewhere.
Ketchikan is also where Alaska's only recipient (to date) of the U.S. Medal of Honor lived out his final years, retiring to a boat in the harbor. He served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
Back on the ship that afternoon, they had a presentation by the chief engineer and his assistant on the engineering aspects of the ship. Being fascinated with this kind of thing, I showed up. Comically, there was a delay because neither of them could figure out how to work the slide projector. It got even better when the ship’s 2nd officer got lost on his way to give the “navigation at sea” talk.
My favorite question of the afternoon came after they explained how the ship distilled all it's own fresh water from sea water. Some guy stood up and said "how come they don't use this method in places like deserts, that are far from the sea?" The engineers looked at each other, pretended not to hear the question, and moved on.
Tonight at teen club they had a pick-up line contest. My boys, showing their remarkable skill at understanding girls, tried “Did you just fart? Because you blew me away.”