AngiePen (angiepen) wrote,

Trip Report 4 -- Tracy Arm and Showbiz

Today we went up Tracy Arm to see the glaciers there, at a truly ungodly hour of the morning. [blinkblinkyawn] The lecture up top was supposed to start at like six or six-thirty or something like that, when we actually turned up this waterway that leads to the glaciers. Jim woke me up at about 7:30, which was around half an hour or so before we were supposed to actually get within sight of said glaciers, which was early enough for me and then some.

Once I woke up enough to actually see, it was pretty. We were sailing up this gorge that was like a thousand feet deep, similar to the Nordic fjords and for the same reasons. There were apparently a bunch of cruise ships waiting their turns to go in; we passed the Sapphire Princess on its way out while we were heading in, then the Diamond Princess (the same one we were docked near in Skagway) on its way in as we left.

The sides were steep and heavily grooved and scored. There was at least some vegetation (evergreen) on most faces, scrubby shrubs, and some places that'd been ice-free for a long time had trees, although some of the trees were pretty short. :)

There were dozens of waterfalls, fine lines of white tracing down the rock faces. Sometimes a couple would start up at the top and meet somewhere partway down. I can't really describe how beautiful they were, and I doubt even the pictures I took will show it; you have to see the water moving to really get it. They were all over the place, though, wherever there was ice and snow up above to melt.

There were icebergs in the water most of the way up, more and more as we got close to the glaciers. The ice was different colors -- some was brown and dirty, some was white and sort of dirty in patches, some was just white, and some was blue. I mentioned before that the blue ice is the oldest, fresh out of the inside of the glacier from a recent calving.

We got up toward the head of the arm and there were the two glaciers, one to the north and one to the south. Our naturalist said that they used to be all one, right about where the ship was when we started to turn around (slowly) but that as they receded they went up two branches of this valley, separating more and more each year. The captain usually takes the ship up closer to one of the glaciers, but unfortunately there were just too many icebergs and he couldn't take the chance. And no, we didn't have to worry about being the next Titanic; rather, the hazard was getting huge chunks of ice into the propellers and knocking something out of kilter, throwing off their balance. It was kind of disappointing, but at least we'd seen the Mendenhall in Juneau from closer up, so it wasn't too bad.

What it was, though, was cold. I finally got to wear all my layers. [grin] I spent most of my looking- and photo-time on the balcony off our cabin, ducking back inside to warm up a bit periodically. I took most of my pictures from there, too. I finally went up to Lido to get some breakfast and sat next to a big window. There were a lot of people outside so I didn't always have an unobstructed view, but I don't really like taking pictures through windows anyway if I can help it, and it was good enough for looking. I went out on deck for a bit after breakfast and looked around and took a few more pictures, then went back to the cabin and back to bed. :P

And that's about all I was expecting to have to write about today, until we went to the show before dinner. [facepalm]

Jim and I really like comedians, and they haven't had many on this voyage, so when the newsletter said "comedy" today we decided to go. First off, he was a ventriloquist, which doesn't really do much for me, although this guy did some ventriloquist-meta-humor that was funny -- once he had two puppets going at once and did the wrong voices for the two puppets, which of course stopped and stared at him. And once one of the puppets was talking and suddenly no sound was coming out. They both (puppet and ventriloquist) stared at the microphone for a second, then one of them tapped it and the words came out. :P Stuff like that was funny. Most of the regular jokes, though, were pretty lame; Jim and I both saw them coming a mile away. And the show was a weird blend of adultish humor with really, really juvenile humor. [sigh]

But I wouldn't have bothered telling you about it if I hadn't been lucky enough to be chosen for the Audience Humiliation segment of the show. [facepalm] We always sit in front somewhere, because Jim's legally blind and it's good to sit as close as possible so he has at least a chance of seeing what's going on. We get asked questions by various comedians fairly often, and once Jim got pulled up on stage to help a guy with a magic trick, although all he had to do was stand there. I got to actually participate, lucky me. [flee]

Our guy decided to have a joke contest, and I was Contestant #3, #1 and #2 being puppets. I'm standing there trying frantically to think of a joke, kind of worried because 1) the only joke I could remember, I sweartagod, was this longish story about three guys who show up at the Pearly Gates at the same time and if I'd told it we'd have missed the start of dinner, and 2) I can't tell jokes. Seriously, I start cracking up halfway through and can't stop, it's really embarassing. I shouldn't have worried. :P

The first two puppets tell their jokes, with suitable intervals where they made fun of me in various ways (Pecos -- tell Sidi one puppet held out his hand for me to shake and did the "Psych!" trick), and then it was my turn. Ahh, but he wasn't counting on my actually being able to tell a joke, which I should've figured out ahead of time and probably would've if I hadn't been up on stage in front of a couple hundred people and a lot of hot, glaring lights. First he pulls out a couple of black rods like he used to control the puppets' hands, only each of these had a handcuff on one end. They were for me, so he could make my hands move. (You see where this is going, right?) We practiced him moving my hands for a bit, and it actually does take some effort on my part. Then he put his hand on my shoulder and said that when he squeezed I should open my mouth, and he'd do the puppet thing that way. We tried that for a bit and he had me say hello and a few embarassing things, but it really doesn't work all that well. But fear not! He had a solution. He took my glasses off and gave me a puppet-mask and a hat to wear so he could actually control my mouth. [facepalm]

OK, yeah, I looked stupid. I know this for a fact because he called this lady named Janet, whom his dirty-old-geezer puppet had been flirting with earlier, to come up and take a polaroid of me, which I got to keep. But at least I didn't have to tell a joke [snicker] and he had to do all the work himself from that point on, and we got a lot of laughs all through. Then he took all his props off me and I got some applause for being a good sport and he gave me a bottle of champagne. I don't drink, but I'm sure Jim will enjoy it. I had several people congratulate me on the way out of the theater and a couple of tables of people in the dining room clapped when I walked by on the way to dinner [more facepalming] but despite audience acclaim, I think I'll stay out of showbiz from now on.

Tomorrow's a sea day, so I probably won't post anything. The day after we hit Victoria (in Canada, not Alaska -- we're heading back south now) and we're going to the Butchart Gardens, which are supposed to be really lovely. Talk to you later. :D

Tags: fun, travel
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