Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back from the Wilds of Alaska

Hi everybody! I've returned and am slowly getting used to Eastern Standard Time. What was the most difficult, however, was stepping into 90 degree heat after more than a week of cool, sweater-wearing temperatures (not to mention the 11:00 sunset). My ride from the airport was commissioned to put in my AC toot sweet once I saw my melted cats in the apartment. Feels good in here.

So, I thought I would write down my impressions over several blogs. I have been saving up some goodies for you and I have pics since I bought a dig cam right before I left. I just need to figure out how to upload the pics but that shouldn't take too long once I decide to try it.

The few days before I left was a frenzy of activity. I had a to-do list that stretched two-columns down a legal pad. Making to-do lists is always a opportunity for hilarity. I like the fact that items can range from the minute (pack extra memory card) to the very broad (finish that revision before you leave and e-mail it!). I think I got nearly everything done. I suppose I did all right to let people know I would be in the middle of the water and without internet (or internet for muchos bucks). My e-mail was not inundated with screams of "where are you?"

I will also try to put this in some semblance of order though it will descend in chaos on whim and frustration. I was very fortunate that my neighbor agreed to take me to the airport at the god awful time of 3:45 am so I could catch my 6:00 am flight to Toronto. I even got a couple hours sleep which was a miracle. That's at least one good thing about having another person drive, there is a failsafe alarm system if for some reason I set my alarm for PM rather than AM. Good thing I got there when I did because fifteen minutes later, they would not have checked my bag. I think I would have thrown a world-class fit.

Now, for those of you who know that I travel a lot, I like to have a lot of control over what airplane I fly, what seat I select, what time I set off, etc. I know the tricks of the trade and can talk airlines into doing things for me that they don't do for anyone (I've gotten them to waive fees for ticket changes -- for a small fee, I will tell you how I did it and no, I did not have to debase myself in any way that your dirty minds are thinking). However, for this flight, I did not have control over anything. It was booked through my mother's travel agent. I flew Air Canada (see Miss Kate's numerous rants about this airline) on a tiny, microscopic, walk on the tarmac, I was sitting on the wheel hump airplane. It was so small (how small was it?) that if we needed anything, we had to ask the guys in the cockpit. I was tempted to pull aside the curtain and ask them if I could have a martini and to complain that the inflight entertainment of the harmonious snoring throughout the cabin was not what I was expecting. However, I restrained myself. For all I knew, the other ten passengers were Air Marshalls.

For all my complaining, the flight went smoothly. Even though I had expressed some trepidation over the fact I was on an Indiana Jones era plane with propellers (no curtains in the windows), the guy behind me assured me that it would be a good flight (though he didn't get my reference to Indy -- and I thought I was being clever). He was right that the hum and noise of the plane just knocked everybody out and we slept most of the two hour flight to Toronto.

In Toronto, I had an easy time through customs and to my plane. I even browsed a really good bookshop and picked up yet some more reading for the ship. I ended up reading Dickens' Little Dorrit most of the time I was there, finally finishing it when I returned to Connecticut. My family, however, had to run for their connection, especially since they had to pick up their bags and run to check them again -- and they had overpacked.

All right enough airport logging. I know that you are just so fascinated by it. Next blog -- Vancouver.


K. A. Laity said...

Yeah, yeah -- I think Air Canada cornered the lot of those Indy planes. That's the same model I flew on between Albany and Toronto. It's a bit odd when you're so used to the FAA mandated locked door between cabin and crew. Our captain was very brusque, telling us we could look at the safety brochure for details, then telling us to buckle up -- and then it was hey ho, let's go.

I'm still laughing at the picture (in my mind) of you smoking your way through the pristine Alaskan wilderness. Can't wait to see real pictures!

Having never been on a cruise, I am looking forward to vicariously enjoying your experiences.

A. Hunt said...

Welcome back! I too am looking forward to imagining far-off locales through a Wendy filter.

Wendy said...

Alex: Just wait until you hear about my kayaking adventure.

Cranky Yankee said...

Welcome back!