She-“Take me back in time“
He-“OK love; let’s take the White Pass & Yukon train
Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush despite harsh weather and challenging topography, this marvel of engineering transports its current passengers:
⁃ geographically: across magnificent panoramas, domineering mountains and deep gorges
⁃ historically: the narrative behind its construction will convey the difficulties faced by thousands of railroad construction workers and later by thousands of gold rushers some of them doctors, lawyers..
“Give me enough snoose, and I’ll build you a railroad to hell” – Mike Henry, Railroad Builder.
Sure he did! A man of his word, he delivered a railroad to hell for the stampeders who left everything behind in the eternal quest for riches.
However, 121 years later it is now a railroad to heaven for legions of starry-eyed tourists in awe with Mother Nature
She-“I don’t want to go back in time, no more“
He-“Say a grace for living in the right century“
The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway was built in 1897 and opened for business in 1898. It was once known as the finest bordello in town during the Klondike Gold Rush.
Unfortunately, the gold rush turned out to be pretty much exaggerated and the stampeders sadly realised that potato-size gold nuggets were only found on the pages of newspapers…However, one person made fortune in Skagway and left the premises, arms, fingers and teeth laden with diamonds
“Diamond Lil” Davenport, Red Onion’s most famous madam !
A guide in period costume led us on a tour of the now museum and explained the practical side of the “business” :there were 10 dolls behind the bar, a doll representing each of the 10 working girls upstairs. When one was busy, the bartender would lay her corresponding doll on its back until he hears the $5 coin rolling down a copper pipe from a hole in the the girl’s floor connected to his cash register : she was paid and available again.
From the $5 – a working man’s weekly wage back then- the madam would take half, the bartender a quarter as “protection fees” and the WORKING girl was left with $1.25. However, it wasn’t the $2.50 that filled the madam’s coffers and made her wealth… she accepted customers for no less than $100…provided the client declared his line of work and handed out a health certificate and his bank account.
Tropical islands with palm trees have long been promoted as “hot” destinations, the ideal romantic getaways for honeymooners , and heaven’s stereotypes for other holidaymakers..
However, as I’m sitting now on my lounge chair at the cruise ship’s 16 years + Solarium a single sentence keep resonating in my head : ”Paradise on Earth “ .
Yes, I’m enjoying this Alaskan cruise in the inside passage more than last year’s in the Caribbean Sea for the below reasons:
-I live by the sea in a “ hot” country with palm trees : no drastic changes be it weather or scenery
– Every morning , whenever I open the curtains of our stateroom’s balcony, I’m greatly surprised by a totally new panorama, an absolutely different landscape…the crescendo of spectacular sceneries and magnificent fjords culminated today with the much anticipated glaciers.
-We are kept entertained with the multiple impromptu sightings, always on the watch for the ever elusive whales the playful dolphins and the occasional seals…and when totally focused on my book thus oblivious to the enthusiastic shouts of excitement spurred by an interesting spotting, my attention was put back on track where it should’ve belonged by a sympathetic neighbour… thou shall not peel your eyes from the glass window !
Isn’t it “Paradise on Earth”?
Well, according to the Captain, it is such for a growing number of people:
⁃ there are many old timers …for some, it’s a yearly ritual. The question that we are constantly asked : is it your first time?
⁃ there are 40 honeymooners
⁃ there are 239 celebrations- 106 anniversaries and 133 birthdays
Taku Glacier, a tidewater glacier largely within the Tongrass National Forest, is the deepest and thickest alpine temperate glacier known in the world – 1,477 m (4,845 feet) thick and 58 km (36 m) long
And we had the best salmon ever at Taku Lodge. It’s caught in the Taku River and is truly worth the trip:
⁃ Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles ( 16-hour flight )
⁃ Los Angeles-Seattle (around 3-hour flight )
⁃ Seattle-Juneau (two nights cruise)
⁃ Juneau- Taku Lodge seaplane (50 minutes)
With these complicated logistics I know I’m not going to enjoy this feast again in the near future and my only consolation is that I don’t need to satisfy any pregnancy cravings
I got the recipe online but I’m certain it wouldn’t taste the same without the beautiful scenery and atmosphere
Taku Glacier Lodge
The whale watching cruise ? Ours could be aptly named “tail watching “ cruise. All the hype and the buildup proved to be mostly for a glimpse of the back and the tail of the gigantic mammal…and of course the water jet.. I assume the passengers’ excitement was ignited by the feeling that the enormous mammal is somewhere swimming around us. ..
It wasn’t like any previous animal watching excursion I’ve been on. The last one, 2 days ago, was a bear safari in Whistler, BC , and we were quite lucky to spot one. The ranger saw him, did a U-turn and the considerate Teddy hadn’t budged, graciously waiting for us.
We looked at him, through the glass of the Land Cruiser, and he returned the favor and then disappeared into the woods. We saw all his body parts and took a photo.
The same with the other safaris in South Africa and Sri Lanka…In the latter the leopard eluded us during the two excursions, however we didn’t have high expectations from the beginning , it is all a matter of luck…either all of the anatomy or nothing…it’s not like this “tail only” formula !
However we “hit “ it big during the Alaska cruise. It was unplanned, the view unobstructed, and was greatly enjoyed.