We docked in lovely Ketchikan this morning. We had tours booked so we left quite quickly off the boat this morning. I got up at about 8 am so that we could leave for our 10 am tour. Ketchikan is billed as Alaska’s first city. It has a population of about 14,000. Like Juneau, the only way in or out is by boat or air. This is definitely a tourist town or at least the areas we were in.

The first thing we did this morning was to go to the Saxman native village. We watched a short video about their culture and way of life. I had already heard a fair bit about the Tinglit nation. Our ‘lovely’ bus driver Eric then took us on a totem pole tour.[1] He told us the story of one totem pole that had a sad ending and he very mockingly pretended to rub his eyes and say ‘boo hoo.’ I seriously disliked this man. He is only up here for the summer and I am not sure why as he clearly has very little regard for the native culture here. We then went to the beaver clan house. My mother astutely noticed the totem pole looked like a woman giving birth to a beaver while she gritted a stick between her teeth. When I get the pictures up that is indeed exactly what it looks like. Eric then took us to the lumberjack show.

Touristy and kitschy are the words I would use to describe the lumberjack show. The audience was divided into 2 groups, corresponding to a team of lumberjacks. Thankfully we ended up in the Canadian group. They participated in various events including logrolling and pole scaling. It really did not do much for me. I found it way too loud and obnoxious.

I am very curious about the culture that develops on cruise ships amongst the crew.[2] I keep asking questions and have learned a fair bit. However, I will be on the lookout for books, blogs or anything else that will explain how it all works. For example, I found out yesterday that the crew has their own mess where there are two chefs; one from the Philippines and one from Indonesia. There is also separate activities set up for them. There are also different types of crew. Holland America’s direct employees are allowed quite a lot less freedom than the contractors like the photographers, tour directors and entertainers.

Tonight we are opting for a less formal dinner. I have to say I have not been overly impressed with the food or maybe I just don’t have much of an appetite. I am also not used to eating 3 meals a day and it has caught up with me today. I could not eat breakfast and then I ate something small around 3pm. There have been a few standout meals. I really enjoyed the duck and all of the desserts have been pretty good too. I think I will be more than ready to get off the ship on Wednesday. It has been a really good vacation and I certainly needed it. My mother said today that no one has ever looked after her the way I did on the trip. I am glad she had a good time as well. She wants to do another one!

[1] Eric was a pill. A big fucking pill who has no respect for the culture he is supposed to be interpreting.

[2] This will not surprise anyone who knows me well. Just don’t get me started on prisons!


2 thoughts on “Day 6 – Ketchikan

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