[Written at 4.10 P.M. (29th May) Singapore time, 1.10 A.M. (29th May) Vancouver time.]
This is going to be tough to write. You know, with too many mountains, glaciers, awesome food, blue skies, activities and (even more) funny happenings with the relatives – it’s hard to summarize all these into one entry. As such, I am going to be very selective and pick out only those that are worth writing.
On board ms. Volendam from 19-26th May 2010.
An extremely long, and image intensive entry up ahead! Feel free to read only the parts you find interesting and skip the rest.
I won Bingo!stand up – and I was the only one at that time.)
And two numbers later, it was BINGO! for me. Everyone in the theatre was staring, but all the relatives were darn excited. And of course, my sulks turned into bigass grins. Really, really unexpected. For the curious, I won $146 USD. (Barely enough to cover all the shopping I’ve done so far, but what the heck. (;)
Hoi, dudes! I am not a kid!
I don’t gamble, but the relatives loved to – so the Casino was a popular hangout for them. While they made their speculations at the card tables, I lurked around behind them and watched, amazed – though curious as I was, I absolutely refused to gamble. Still, it was fun to watch.
On the very first night on board the cruise, three different casino staff asked me for my age. A casino supervisor, a card dealer, and then the casino host (a pretty good-looking one, might I add). On the subsequent days, I was asked for my age an average of 1-2 times a day.
I am fast approaching 24. The legal age for casino entry is 18. I am almost 6 years above the legal age. It was enough to make me go whaaaaaa-t?!
It was amusing the first time it happened. It was bewildering on the second. On the subsequent times, it just became extremely annoying.
Recounting an experience on the final night on board the cruise;
(Me, post-shower – heading back to the casino late at night to rejoin the relatives and watch them play.)
Mum – Oh, you’re back! How come you’re here? I thought you were going to sleep?!
Me – (Grins) Well, why can’t I be here?
(Casino manager, overhearing our conversation, decides to butt in at that moment.)
Casino manager – Well, you can’t be here in the first place. How old are you? Twelve?
Me – Take that times two, and that’s how old I am.
Casino manager – … o.O
(Me thinking ‘major WTF’. Had to struggle to bite back a rude retort and responded accordingly as above, trying my darnedest best to keep my tone steady. Meanwhile, casino manager looks to my mum for confirmation, as if he didn’t trust me. Wow, thanks a lot eh, dude?)
Right, I should be happy that I have a youngish face. It is a gift. But this is just one of those times where it can work against me. And you really ought to see the expression on their faces when they realize I am way past twenty. Epic.
Awesome, awesome scenery
Because words alone aren’t enough to describe the awesome scenery – coupled with clear blue skies which made it doubly awesome – I shall let the pictures do the talking.
Think sailing down a water channel (called the ‘Inside Passage’ – a narrow waterway that leads from Vancouver to South-East Alaska) while being surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glaciers and icebergs. I remained rooted to the outside decks for as long as I could sustain the cold air, just so that I could take it all in.
View from the ship, while docked at Skagway, Alaska. Taken 23rd May 2010.
Snowcapped mountains at Glacier Bay, Alaska. Taken 24th May 2010.
Glaciers at Glacier Bay, Alaska. Taken 24th May 2010.
More mountains (and the younger cousin David) at Glacier Bay, Alaska. Taken 24th May 2010.
Stepping on snow (and later, falling into it) at Skagway, Alaska
The last time I had an experience with snow (snow as in real snow, not those from the ice-making machines at Snow City was when I was a wee little four year old. Needless to say, I had very little recollection of it apart from a particularly vivid memory of throwing snowballs into a large canal and nearly having my gloves fly off.
Snow fields at Yukon, off Skagway, Alaska.
As such, I was literally squealing in my seat when we were approaching the snow-capped peaks of Yukon at Skagway, Alaska. I was even happier when I learned that we could go out onto the snow to play. While the older relatives watched from a distance (they were too afraid to descend the steep slope that led to the snow fields), younger cousin David and I gleefully flung snowballs, took pictures and basically left our marks on the snow by walking all over the place. (Walking on snow … is an insanely awesome feeling.)
David flinging a snowball into the air.
Everything was peaceful until David and I began making our way back to dry land.
Well, I made the unfortunate mistake of suggesting we walk on the snow near the rocks, thinking that the snow there would be more firm and stable. (I’ve had my feet sink down a few centimetres a coupla’ times and so I wanted to be more cautious.) Turned out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because the next thing I knew, the younger cousin had fallen four feet deep into the snow.
He struggled to get up, only to find that he was sinking deeper and deeper. Panicking, I tried grabbing his arms to yank him out of the snow, only to end up falling into the snow myself.
Me, with one foot stuck in the snow.
Naturally, the older relatives who were watching from a distance were wide-mouthed in shock as they watched the events unfold, and Uncle Daniel scurried down the steep slopes (nearly slipping and falling in the process) in a mad scramble to get to us as quickly as he could.
My uncle tried yanking me out of the snow first … but he sunk in slightly as well – but not deep enough to get himself stuck, so he managed to wriggle out quickly and restart his rescue mission. He managed to successfully get me out on the second try. David – on the other hand – was slightly more difficult to save because he had both feet stuck in the snow. Pretty deep too, might I add. Plus, the dude was heavy.
After much pulling and tugging, David was out of the snow too – although sans one shoe.
David was pretty dismayed at the loss of his shoe. I would too, if I were him – it was extremely cold out, and the ground was damp so I can’t imagine continuing on with the exploration with only one shoe. That was when our tour guide (he drove us around Skagway and Yukon – otherwise, we wouldn’t get around ourselves) jumped to his rescue and practically dived into the snow, digging and pawing with his bare hands in an attempt to get to the missing shoe.
Tour guide to the rescue.
Fifteen minutes, an even larger and deeper hole, and a tour guide with numb fingers later, David’s missing shoe was rescued – extremely damp and slightly muddy. But hey, he got his shoe back!
By then, the younger cousin and I were damp, cold and angsty. We scurried back to our van and basically had enough of snow (but only for the next hour or so).
Meet my new beaver friend!
Well, its identity can be disputed. Most people think it’s a beaver. Whereas, it also bears some resemblance to an otter. I like to think it is a beaver though, because beavers are more huggable. Plus, this fella reminds me so much of my late guinea pig Squirt – who also happens to look like a beaver herself.
Without further ado, I present … Scruffy Muffy!
Hello, Scruffy Muffy!
Last but not least … more sick jokes
You know that you’ve had way too much fish when you start seeing them in a totally different light (mostly because it has come to a point where you are completely turned off ’em). It doesn’t matter what fish it is – salmon fish, cod fish, halibut or groupers. It’s still fish anyway. And after a while, they start to taste the same.
My uncle, younger cousin and I decided to add some hilarity by warping the names of the fish altogether. As a result, instead of salmon, cod fish, halibuts and groupers – we now have semen, cock fish, hairy birds and gropers.
Hmm, why do fishes have such sick names, ah?
It’s been three days since the cruise, and I miss it already. Well, there are snowcapped mountains in Vancouver too but they are so far away, out of my (and my camera’s) reach. I also miss my cozy bunk bed in my stateroom (with my own little night light), and the ability to run up to the buffet cafeteria to grab drinks, desserts and food anytime I want.
I’m left a little groggy from the cruise, though. There were some nights where the seas were a little rough and to date – I still feel as if I’m on board a ship, swaying forward, backwards, forward, backwards over and over again.