Monthly Archives: September 2016

20160923 – Yosemite National Park – Americas Best Idea

Friday – hot and sunny.

Yosemite from the meadows.

Yosemite from the meadows.

Up early for a 5 hour drive down to our next home exchange slap bang in the middle of Yosemite Valley. Drive out of California into a casino strewn Nevada. One small town we drive through must be called Trumpville, judging by the number of posters for him.

Some horrendous road works with 20 minute delays. Even the lady in the most expensive gas station in America gets held up each morning for 20 minutes and has been 20 minutes late for work every day this week. Obviously either bone idle or a taco shy of a combination plate, FSM forbid she should leave 20 minutes earlier.

Quite lucky as we have to drive all the way across from the East side of Yosemite over to the Yosemite Village so we get to see more of the park. We’ve done this drive before, but this time we don’t get a bear dashing out in front of us. It’s still one pretty amazing drive.

You get all this amazing park for just $25 for 7 days. Amazing. We buy an annual pass for $80 which gives us free access for a year to all the NP and any area with the title “National” in it. Worth every penny of it, unusual – nay rarer than a bible seller in Iran – for me to say it.

More meadows views.

More meadows views.

Arrive in our next home which is a NP Employees home, in the secluded off limits area of the village, so no tourists, just us and Rangers. Because we’re surrounded by Rangers the homes unlocked – something we’re not used to even though Belthorn is quite remote. The homes lovely. An awesome location and has to be one of the most hospitable and well organised Home Exchanges we’ve been in. They’ve thought of everything to make a guests stay pleasant, unlike some home exchanges where they’re just playing at it and haven’t a clue about hospitality.

Yosemite falls. Dry at this time of year.

Yosemite falls. Dry at this time of year.

Meet our new host. Then we get settled in. Have a pleasant stroll down to the visitors Centre to get information on our walks.

Amazing we have Internet here. It’s free and 10Mbps, I’m orgasmic after being the equivalent of the dark side of the moon for over 10 days. Perhaps the shakes will disappear and my fingers will now stop hovering over an imaginary keyboard. There’s no TV but that’s no great loss, as we’ve the Internet, BBC iPlayer and Netflix all on my iPad – civilized.

Wave header

 
Well despite all the rants and the ravings about the religion of pieces and permanent offense, I think it’s about time to include some of the brighter sides of life. The daily highlights and items of good news that help ride the wave of life, as recommended by my guru, Hal, from Park City. It’s certainly going to be a challenge, but new rule is no good news – Ride the Wave of Life – then no blog for that day.

Today’s highlight was the pretty young lady holding a stop sign on the road to Yosemite. “You’ll only be a few moments. Would you like one of these candies?”. How nice is that. A simple attempt to make even the most frustrating travel hold ups pleasant.

religion header

 
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary may proscribe an organisation if he believes it is concerned in terrorism. For the purposes of the Act, this means that the organisation: 
commits or participates in acts of terrorism;
prepares for terrorism;
promotes or encourages terrorism (including the unlawful glorification of terrorism); or
 is otherwise concerned in terrorism.

On the basis of the evidence since 9/11 and the contents of the koran isn’t it time that islam was designated a proscribed organisation?

Saturday – hot and sunny.

Inspiration Point.

Inspiration Point.

A somewhat lazy start to the day, as usual. Then we do a lovely Meadows loop walk. Wendy’s knee has decided to play her up just when she most needed it.

Waterfall from Glacier Point.

Waterfall from Glacier Point.

We call back home for coffee and lunch, it’s oh so handy. Then after lunch we take thre 2 hour guided open bus tour of the valley. Yes it’s a Wallace Arnold moment, but this tour is amazing; worth every penny of it – there I go again; so informative and entertaining; for once I don’t regret this Wallace Arnold experience.

Call in at the village store for some vitals and then it’s back home for a pleasant evening with a good beer (rare for America) and some Zinfandel.
Wave header

 
Today’s tale of inspiration comes from the aptly name “Inspiration Point” in Yosemite. An awesome view down the whole of Yosemite Valley, breathtaking, no picture can possibly do it justice. Thanks to the National Parks of America, who celebrate their centenary this years, for looking after these magnificent places and protecting them for the generations to come. Truly “America’s best idea”.

I think perhaps I have to revise my favourite National Park from Zion to Yosemite, it’s a close thing.

joke header

 
Carlin on how to speak English:

religion header

 
Fairy Tales and Fables – The Quran

If Allah is a supreme being, creator of the universe and all that codswallop, how come he could not send simple messages that could not be misconstrued, distorted, perverted and would stand the test of time. Look at the 10 commandments, fairly simple, straight forward, have stood the test of time and fairly difficult to pervert to some fanatics own agenda.

Instead we have pronouncements that are so confusing there’s a whole industry surrounding their interpretation and true meaning. Yet surely all these experts, inmans and soothsayers are guilty of blasphemy, by attempting to interpret the word of the supreme being.

The best dhimmi interpretation I’ve ever heard is that “kill them…..”, doesn’t mean physically kill them but to “kill them with kindness”. I’m still waiting for a benign interpretation of “chop off….”.

Sunday – hot and sunny.

By the river.

By the river.

Usual lazy start and then we catch the free shuttle – how nice it is not to use the car for 4 days and rely on shank’s pony and a shuttle bus – to the start of the Mirror Lake hike. Mind you the shuttles chocker block and we get the dubious pleasure of 10 minutes trying to decipher what this fat arsed woman’s knickers say – it’s “absolutely” but we can’t quite make out the 2nd word. There’s nothing like a nice pair of thongs outlined or revealed beneath some tight trousers, or better still shorts, on a pert young fanny (I’m using the the American definition of this word here), to set the day off to a good start, but an aged fat arse with knickers and shorts stretched tight as a drum leaves a lot to be desired – oh shallow me.

Half Dome from mirror lake.

Half Dome from mirror lake.

We’ve done this walk before but it’s a lovely hike – sounds so much more macho than the stroll it really is. There’s no lifeguard on duty, as with most of the park this time of year the lake and the waterfalls tend to be dried up. Stop for an extravagant lunch of an apple and water by the lake. Amazing that even out here we get 3G and the joy of our kids messaging us. Fortunately there’s no wants, can I or will you’s Involved. Whilst the tree huggers are always wanting to “be off the grid”, give me 3G signals penetrating my body anytime.

Get some great photos of half dome. I’ll probably need a week to cull the hundreds of photos we’ve taken. Every view is so awesome and precious that you really begrudge deleting any of them.

Call in for a coffee in the village Deli. It’s oh some warm and sunny out. Then it’s back home for a good old stag chilli, beer and Zinfandell.

Then to finish the day off on a dirty raincoat brigade view we encounter a young piece of eye candy flouncing down the street in only shorts and a see through bra, fortunately it wasn’t a cold day!
Wave header

 
We’re both fans of Patagonia clothes. Yes, they’re expensive but they last and last. We were quite surprised to see a stall in the visitors centre advertising Ptagonias repair department. Apparently you can send any damaged or worn Patagonia clothes back and they will try and repair them in a bid to stop waste. There’s a charge but what a great way to stop waste.

Down the valley.

Down the valley.

Also came across this. As discarded clothing piles up in landfills around the country, a handful of companies are trying to save some of those garments and give them new life.

The Renewal Workshop is one of these. It takes shirts, jackets and other items damaged during manufacturing, then repairs and resells them for 30 to 50 percent off the original price, co-founder Nicole Bassett told The Huffington Post. Its goal is to prevent imperfect items, which traditional retailers can’t sell in stores, from being tossed in the trash.

Wave header

 
This weekend is cleanup weekend in the National Park when thousands of volunteers come up here and go round picking up litter.

How great is that. They deserve our thanks for such a great job.

What a pity that any scrot can even consider littering this place.

rant header

 

In my opinion artificial intelligence, the singularity – when AI exceeds human intelligence, mind you we’ve encountered quite a few humans with less intelligence than a Sinclair Spectrum – represents the 2nd biggest risk to mankind this century.

A dome from Glacier Point.

A dome from Glacier Point.

Interesting article https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_on_Artificial_Intelligence.

You may well be asking, so what does Victor think is the 1st and 3rd biggest threat this century. Well here goes:

1st threat – Islam the religion of pieces, permanent offence and world domination.

3rd threat – climate change.

Monday – hot and sunny.

One of the many deer.

One of the many deer.

Thanks to our ranger friend Michael we’re staying an extra night in this awesome place.

After my early morning stroll I do my blog, sat out on a rocking chair on the front porch with a coffee. Watching the deer grazing around me whilst the squirrels are either frolicking or perhaps it’s a male trying to perpetuate it’s genes, but it seems that perhaps the female has an headache. Talking of which, there I am soaking up all this nature and suddenly I’m struck on the head by a low flying acorn trying to sow it’s oats. Ow that hurts, perhaps I have concussion – should I sue?

Wendy in Mirror lake, under Half Dome.

Wendy in Mirror lake, under Half Dome.

We catch the shuttle down to Bridal falls. It’s still got a trickle flowing over it and results in yet more photos.

Catch the shuttle to the world famous Awahnee Hotel, now renamed by some scurrilous greedy marketing executive as the Majestic Hotel. There I sin and have an afternoon beer. Very swish, very expensive but can you believe you can’t get a snack with your vintage champagne priced beer.

Catch a couple of great NP films in the visitors centre then it’s back home for two weary foot soldiers. Coffee on the front porch with a Flying Spaghetti Monster spaghetti strainer on my head to protect me from randy low flying acorns.

In the evening our host comes home and we go out to dinner at the Yosemite Lodge. Have a very interesting and pleasant evening.

Wave header

 
Out for an early morning stroll to Yosemite falls. Wow it’s awesome here. Nature in all its majesty. The sheer scale of this valley is mind blowing. How lucky can we be to experience it.

joke header

 
THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY “THOMAS COOK VACATIONS”
 FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS: 

Bridge.

Bridge.

“We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.” 

 “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.” 

 “I was bitten by a mosquito.  The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.” 

 “My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were
 placed in a room with a king bed.  We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant.  This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.” 

Remember they vote and walk amongst us!

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

The valley from Glacier point.

The valley from Glacier point.

Out early again for a 90 minute Ansell Adams photo walk – it’s free. Interesting stroll around the meadows and some useful pointers to some great photo opportunities along with background on the World famous Ansell Adams – Ansell who?

Pack the car and we’re of for our next adventure in Madera, just outside Fresno. But before we leave we must take a 1 hour detour to a Glacier Point. Awesome, rad, narley there are not words or photos that do the vista from it justice. It has to be one of the most stunning views we’ve ever seen. Well worth the 1 hour detour.

Wendy at Glacier Point.

Wendy at Glacier Point.


It’s goodbye to Yosemite. Hopefully we’ll be back.

In the afternoon we arrive at our next home exchange. Our most stunning home exchange ever, more on that in our next blog.

religion header

 
WE ARE AT WAR.

Early morning reflections.

Early morning reflections.

WHEN will our leaders – and the progressive, liberal, lefty, do gooder, politically correct, multicultural stormtroopers who got us into this mess – accept that militant islam is at war with us. They cling with destructive obstinacy to their cherished policies of mass immigration and cultural diversity.

WHEN will our leaders acknowledge that militant Islam is the problem, not housing, poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of education or mental illness. 

WHEN will our leaders start to tackle the problem. Prayers, candles, all night vigils, flowers, days of mourning, laser light shows, kind words and moderate muslims will not solve the problem.

WHEN will our leaders realise that Sharia and this barbaric 7th century ideology are totally incompatible with Western democracy. If they’re in any doubt that the ideology of peace and permanent offence is the problem, go read the quran.

WHEN will our leaders realise that the nonsense word islamaphobia is the shovel to dig our own graves with. A phobia is an irrational fear. It would be irrational not to fear islam.

By the river.

By the river.

WHEN will our leaders do something before we have such an extreme right wing reaction that will make Nazi Germany look like Disney land.

Let’s hope our leaders wake up, smell the cordite and blood stained pavements, before it’s too late. It’s time for some action, some practical steps to defeat militant islam and it’s barbaric ideology. “You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog.” Buddhist saying.

Clinging with destructive obstinacy to their cherished policies of mass immigration and cultural diversity, they refuse to face up to the lethal Islamist threat in our midst.

20160930 – A letter from the British Home Office to the People of America

image

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light, by your own admission, of your abject failure to even choose two suitable candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchial duties
over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Oklahoma, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Theresa May, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. State governors will continue to exist but they cannot be ex movie stars. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Then look up “aluminium”. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it, along with words like tomato and pecan. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour’, skipping the letter ‘U’ is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter ‘Z’ (pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’) and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise”. You will learn that the suffix ‘burgh is pronounced ‘burra’ e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsberg’ if you can’t
cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your
vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary”. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up “interspersed”. There will be no more ‘bleeps’ in the Jerry Springer show. If you’re not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn’t have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won’t have to use bad language as often.

There is no such thing as “US English”. We will let Microsoft know
on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of “-ize”.

You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn’t that hard. English accents are not limited to Cockney,
upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents – Scottish dramas such as “Taggart” will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we’re talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is “Devon”.

If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become “shires” e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as “Men Behaving Badly” or “Red Dwarf” will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can’t cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The
Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

You should stop playing American “football”. There is only one kind
of football. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty
seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2025. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the ‘World Series’ for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls’ game called “rounders” which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons
if they give you any merde. The 97.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. “Merde” is French for “shit”. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don’t believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will
require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public. The NRA will be declared an illegal organisation

July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 7th will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called “Indecisive Day”.

All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French
fries are not real chips. Fries aren’t even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called “crisps”. Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat.

The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to
all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not
actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer”, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager”. The substances formerly known as “American Beer” will henceforth be referred to as “Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”, with the exception of
the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be
referred to as “Weak Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

From December 1st the UK will harmonise petrol (or “Gasoline” as
you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2018) prices within the former USA.

The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the
Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $8 per US gallon – get used to it).

You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.

Yellow standee line revoked.

Lines to become queues, yes we know it is a bit more difficult to spell.

Passport control will forwith have 80% of the desks open for British Nationals, the remaining 20% can be used for Americans and the rest of the world.

All restrooms will be relabelled and referred to as toilets. If you need to rest so much then they should either open lounges with beds and settees – you can look this word up and then use it as the replacement for the word sofa.

All prices will be displayed including the tax, rather than your ludicrous habit of displaying the price without the tax and then asking for the tax inclusive price. Anybody found flaunting this rule will be deported to an EC country where they can really appreciate the meaning of pointless bureacracy.

You will learn how to brew and serve tea properly. Boiling water and milk, anyone found serving cream in a cup of tea will be sent to our penal colony – Australia. All coffee, apart from that served in specialised coffe shops, will be labelled WWWBW – weak wishy washy brown water. Americans are not really coffee conniseurs – look it up.

Food portions will immediately be halfed, lets try going for quality not quantity. This should also help with your obesity problem – look it up.

Finally to global warming. You will immediately sack all your environmental scientific advisers, sign up for and implement the Kyoto Protocol, all members of congress and the senate will appear in the adverts admitting that global warming is a reality. In addition you will all acknowledge Darwins theory of evolution and stop bending science to meet your political ends.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776). Thank you for your cooperation.

20160918 – Lake Tahoe. Plague alert – bring out your dead.

Sunday – hot and sunny.

Our home for the next 5 days.

Our home for the next 5 days.

Well we’ve survived 10 days at sea and finally managed to escape, no thanks to the decrepit inhospitably and inefficiency of Homeland Security – NSA I don’t care if you’re listening.

Pick the Hertzmobile up and then it’s a very pleasant 4 hour drive, over the Golden Gate Bridge, up to Sacramento and over the mountains to Lake Tahoe.

Arrived at our luxury home. We’re 4 miles down a single track road that looks like the San Andreas fault runs down the middle of it. Last paved when Macadam was a lad. 10 miles to the nearest supermarket / wifi and 16 miles to nearest Taco Bell and Starbucks. How do people cope!

Lounge

Lounge

It seems that the colonials have not quite heard of mobile phones yet, there is internet but it’s even pricier and slower than onboard ship. Piracy is not confined to the high seas. $15 a day, and then runs at a MAXIUM blistering speed of a knackered donkey, all 1Mb per second, about as useful and expensive as a diamond studded condom. Don’t think we’ll have any problems with noisy neighbours, traffic or noisy red knecked scrots on Harley’s – bears might be an issue though.

Oh well looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time in Starbucks.

Dinning area.

Dinning area.

It’s a gorgeous home, with a great deck, views over Fallen Leaf Lake and of course the obligatory all American barbecue, big enough to roast an ox on. The silence here is deafening and oh so relaxing. As well as no internet there’s no TV, so we’ve not had the pleasure of the Trump versus Clinton pantomime – how sad. To keep us amused though they do have blue rays; a pool table (sadly not a clue how to play); sauna; bikes and a leaky kayak; a wonderful selection of whisky and enough different vodkas to enable me to hibernate all winter; there’s even pot and pipes provided – perhaps it’s standard hospitality in all California homes.

TV must be all of 60″, but sadly you’re sat only 6 feet away – fortunately we have no TV signal, Trump and Clinton that close up would be so scary you wouldn’t be able to drive a wet watermelon seed up me butt with a sledge hammer.

rant header

 

Kitchen.

Kitchen.

You know you’re a geriatric when a young women comes up to you. Wow you think you’re lucks in, but no she offers to help you carry the groceries up to your cabin. How very kind but oh so cruel.

joke header

 

Just lately I’ve been giving this Illegal immigrants and economic migrants (AKA refugees) issue a lot of thought and have come up with a simple solution. Ship them in batches of 200 to Belthorn for 3 days. By the end of 2 days of Belthorn’s weather they’ll be begging to return hence from where they came.

Monday – hot and sunny.

Games room.

Games room.

A lazy morning while Wendy unpacks and does battle with the giant washing machine, don’t forget it’s America and everything’s bigger.

Finally we toddle off into South Lake Tahoe. First stop Starbucks to communicate with the World and publish a long overdue travel / rant blog.

Drive down to the lake to park up and then have a pleasant stroll around.

Master bedroom.

Master bedroom.

Wow Tahoes changed from when we skied here. All very swish but wot no snow? If I stick around long enough I’ll be able to use my Park City Epic ski pass for free skiing. The most noticeable thing after 10 days on a floating calorie factory is the lack of blobbies. Most people look fit, healthy and capable of walking 10 feet without the need of an electric wheel chair.

rant header

 

TV room.

TV room.

It must be karma. Yesterday I facebooked (it’s a new word) how we’re out in the wilds but at least there’d be no noisy Harley Davidson scrots gunning there engines to compensate for having a small dick. Today we end up travelling at the speed of an arthritic tortoise behind two such noisy scrots down the 4 mile single dirt track to our cabin. No doubt we’ll be awakened at the crack of sparrows, as they share their macho excess decibels with the whole neighbourhood, in the hope of convincing everyone of what a big dick they are – are they red necks?

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

Have a wander down to the village store, beach and boat dock. Then set off to the Tallac Historic Site.

Well we're we've encountered warning signs for Falling rocks, bears, rattle snakes, mountain lions, even carcinogenic chemicals, but this has to be a first - plague bearing fleas.

Well we’re we’ve encountered warning signs for Falling rocks, bears, rattle snakes, mountain lions, even carcinogenic chemicals, but this has to be a first – plague bearing fleas.

I’m so glad we’re in a civilized country, who gives a dam about the risk of plague if you venture into the Tallac Historic Site, after all it’s nowhere near as virulent or dangerous as Ebola. Glad to see there’s a picket fence around the site. That’ll keep the plague ridden fleas in!

Despite the plague it’s all very picturesque and best of all free.

Log cabin in plague land - probably going cheap.

Log cabin in plague land – probably going cheap.

Then we encounter the road works. Sat for 15 minutes whilst a man with stop sign holds everyone up despite the road being clear. There’s more of these men with stop signs than there are tea towels ridden with dandruff in Afghanistan. I can’t begin to explain the stupidity being demonstrated on 89 down the side of Lake Tahoe. Who ever’s in charge of this is certainly a few fries short of a happy meal.

Call in at Raleys for some wifi.

Wendy takes a driving lesson.

Wendy takes a driving lesson.

Then it’s back home for coffee on the deck, amongst the shimmering silver birch and watching the boats on the lake.

religion header

 
George Carlin: The islamic extremist will win.

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

North Lake Tahoe.

North Lake Tahoe.

Off for a drive around Lake Tahoe. It’s 72 miles round and with all the road works and side trips takes us about 5 hours. The shades of blue in the lake are amazing. Some awesome scenery and as soon as we cross the state line into Nevada then it’s casinos galore.

Call in at some of the ski resorts we skied way back when, including Squaw Valley and Heavenly. Wot no snow.

religion header

 
Fairy Tales and Fables – The Quran

Squaw valley.

Squaw valley.

If Allah is a supreme being, creator of the universe and all that codswallop, how come he suffers from indecision and memory loss? In the Quran, allegedly the pure unadulterated word of Allan, he constantly contradicts himself and changes his mind, even more than Donald Trump. In fact it’s such a feature of his fables that there’s a recognised term for it, abrogation. His later pronouncements, usually more violent than his earlier ones (that’s convenient for the extremists), are deemed to override his earlier pronouncements – abrogation.

You’d think a so called supreme being would be able to make his mind up, or was he starting to suffer from Alzheimer’s, after all he would be 13 billion, or at least by his reckoning 4,000, years old.

joke header

 

THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY “THOMAS COOK VACATIONS”
 FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS: 

Bought Ross's ski boots here al those years ago.

Bought Ross’s ski boots here al those years ago.

“The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the
 bus ride to the resort.  Because of this, we were
 unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.” 

 “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England.  It took the
Americans only three hours to get home.  This seems unfair.” 

 “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours
was significantly smaller.” 

 “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort.’  We’re
 trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.” 

 “When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there.  The
receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish.  No one told us that there would be so many
 foreigners.” 

Thursday – hot and sunny.

Fallen leaf lake

Fallen leaf lake

Down to the supermarket for wifi and last minute vitals. Then in the afternoon we tidy up and pack for our next adventure – hopefully with wifi this time.

Managed to get a brief FaceTime with Jasper. Wow, he’s such a happy sole, bubbling over with all that he’s done at nursery etc.

I was going to have an exploratory walk around the lake but rain stopped play.

Now I know I like a bit of salt on my food but Wendy's bought 26oz. She's only jealous of my low blood pressure and trying to get even.

Now I know I like a bit of salt on my food but Wendy’s bought 26oz. She’s only jealous of my low blood pressure and trying to get even.

To better appreciate the up and coming presidential election pantomime I’ve lashed out on an esubscription to the Wall Street Journal. Cost all of £1 a month for the 1st two months, by which time it’ll all be over and the mass exodus to Canada – like a Caraboo crossing – will have commenced.

rant header

 

When you’ve no wifi it makes you appreciate how much you use it.

Our cabin.

Our cabin.

Especially as a retired nerd, but even Wendy has been bemoaning the lack of Internet. There’s just so many things throughout the day that you use it to refer to; saying nothing about missing the online newspapers – even the daily blood boiler like the Mail and Express; then there’s contact with the kids; TV such as Netflix and BBC are sorely missed; preparing my daily blog without internet is dire. The withdrawal symptoms are worse than a crack addict going cold turkey, my fingers keep tapping away at an imaginary keyboard, like Elton John playing an imaginary piano.

Pool room.

Pool room.

But the one good thing to come out of it is I’m being weaned off Facebook. It’s just like giving up East Enders, you just don’t miss it and it frees up time to do more productive things like watching paint dry or reading. It’s such a pity that there’s no way you can suppress all those inane likes of trite little sayings being shared with you.

religion header

 
Qur’an Gangbang episode 6: Daughters of Allah

20160911 – Alaska – Part 2

Sunday – hot and sunny.

Oh look our first glacier.

Oh look our first glacier.

Breakfast, lounge around, lunch and then off to catch our tour to the Mendenhall glacier. It’s a lovely sunny day which is rare for Juneau as they average 22 days rain a month and can have up to 20″ in one day. Makes Belthorn seem like a desert.

Mendenhall glacier.

Mendenhall glacier.

Good information centre, great views of the glacier and waterfall but unfortunately the waterfall walk is closed off due to flooding so we end up hanging around for an hour.

Have a wander through Juneau, more diamond and grot shops than taliban at a stoning. Then it’s back to the ship for dinner. As we’ve missed our fixed dining slot we defect to the anytime dining. Interesting table as one of the geriatrics is a 90 year old state Supreme Court judge. Very interesting and she still has all her wits about her, more than can be said for some of the other geriatrics at the table. Conversation with some of them who have 5 minute pregnant pauses between each sentence as they wrack their memory for a word – could come to all of us anytime soon.

Early night after all this sightseeing.

joke header

 
Rather appropriate for this floating old folks home, George Carlin on getting old.

Monday – cold and wet.

Dramatic calving in Glacier Bay.

Dramatic calving in Glacier Bay.

Well it’s cruise Glacier Bay National,Park today.

Rangers come on board – how neat is that. They give a talk on the the park and then I nip upstairs to buy a baseball cap. Amazing isn’t it this boat sells more crap than there was junk in Steptoes scrap yard, yet when it comes to something sensible like NP items they’re in short supply because they have to drag them aboard. Any I’m lucky and get a cap to add to my collection.

Glacier bay glacier.

Glacier bay glacier.

Ship positions for photo opportunities at two glaciers and I’m lucky enough to capture a great calving – see pictures.

Evenings another round of fixed dining. By now I’ve weakened and resorted to 2 glasses of Zinfandel from happy hour and have them over dinner. We’re lucky in that we’ve got a good group on our table but I can imagine 10 dinners with people you don’t get on with must be dire.

Then it’s some sort of entertainment, I’m being generous with that word, and then try a quality bourbon to help me cope.
Please

Wendy endures Glacier Bay

Wendy endures Glacier Bay

rant header

 

How perverse are the habits of your average cruiser. You have those drinking at 09:00 in the morning; the sun lounger hogs who have their towels out by the crack of dawn on the same deck chairs, and even though it’s freezing out there spend all day on them and in the nearby jacuzzi; of course there’s always the gluttons who seem to be attempting some sort of “how much can I pile on my plate” competition; there’s the escapees from Las Vegas who spend all their time in the casino, throwing money away like an 8 armed Hindu god on steroids, rabidly milking the slots or shouting at the little white ball on the roulette table; for the ultimate in the money burning braggarts on board you just have to go to the art auction; finally there’s the snoozers who seem to be nodding off by 10:00 in the morning and spend the rest of the day snoring away, gobs wide open like some Venus fly trap.

Tuesday – warm and sunny.

Start of our Wallace Arnold coach trip in Skegway. My 16 year old's brain is struggling to cope.

Start of our Wallace Arnold coach trip in Skegway. My 16 year old’s brain is struggling to cope.

Today it’s Skegway. We’re on a crack of dawn Wallace Arnold tour. Train up and over Whitepass; coach into Yukon, Canada; lunch at Caraboo crossing, they also have the most amazing collection of stuffed bears, mammoths, moose and other Alaskan mammals; photo opportunity at Emerald lake; brief wander around Carcross, quaint local town; then drive back down Whitepass with a photo opportunity at a bridge ? waterfall.

Now a train over White Pass to Canada.

Now a train over White Pass to Canada.

Very expensive ($219) but I have to admit it was worth it, as we did pack in a lot. But I can’t help feeling sad that it come to this. I’m too young – 16 year old in the mind – to be on one of these Wallace Arnold extravaganza. They’re full of geriatrics, people our age. The ultimate for those with no sense of adventure, imagination or risk. Oh what has it come to. Still I suppose we’re the lucky ones, so much better than the alternative.

Tours late back but they have to hold the ship.

Yukon terroirity Cnada - spectacular.

Yukon terroirity Cnada – spectacular.

Then it’s straight to the dinning room. By now I’ve abandoned all hope of sobriety and as we missed the cheap wine at happy hour I succumb to buying a bottle and will just have to try and make it last.

After dinner we catch some more orgasmic entertainment. Including an Elton John show, somehow I end up doing a French test on my iPhone and then nod off. Yes it was that scintillating.

Emerald Lake in Yukon.

Emerald Lake in Yukon.

Can’t persuade Wendy to have a cocktail but I finally get to try a Vodka Martini, shaken of course. Well I won’t ever get to be a spy at this rate as that was my first and certainly my last Vodka Martini.

I suppose the best entertainment on board has to be people watching, especially on peacock evening. I’ve come to the really sad conclusion that there must be a major opportunity for an enterprising young lawyer to put his shingle up and create a web based law firm of DivorceMyFatWife.com. He could hand out posters on the cruise as I’m sure there would be rich pickings. These floating gin palaces are a magnet for the clinically obese. Unbelievable I know but at least 60% must be blobbies.

joke header

 
THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY “THOMAS COOK VACATIONS”
 FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS: 

Wow it's big. Fortunately it's stuffed.

Wow it’s big. Fortunately it’s stuffed.

 “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand
 as white but it was more yellow.” 

 “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the
 afternoons.  I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.” 

 “No-one told us there would be fish in the water.  The children were scared.” 

 “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no
 egg-slicer in the drawers.” 

 “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store
 does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.” 

Wednesday – warm and sunny.

Ketchikan red light district. Wot no propositions.

Ketchikan red light district. Wot no propositions.

Day 6 so it’s Ketchikan today, so it’s a lazy morning as we don’t dock until 12:00 then a spot of lunch before we set off to explore.

Have a wander around. Head off to Creek Street, the red light district, but alas, unlike Carl no one offers me a blow job for $5, despite wondering up and down for hours. Quaint little town, obviously more diamond shops than prostitutes. Oh how things have changed from gold rush days.

Quite nice to just wander around under our own steam.

Fixed dining yet again followed by more drinks and people watching in the piano lounge.

Our American dinner friends. Spot the democrats, spot the republicans!

Our American dinner friends. Spot the democrats, spot the republicans!

Crown the evening off with a brandy nightcap in our cabin. Wow, certainly helps me get a great nights sleep.

I’m starting to loose the will to live. 7 days on a cold weather cruise is enough. Geriatrics, blobbies and crazy people – moose racers certainly fit the bill, along with the art auction buffs – are starting to get to me – depressing. Why is it that these geriatrics – I know where well on our way there – seem to zig and zag about in front of you. Problem is they zig when you zig and zag when you zag, almost as if they have hidden rear view mirrors in a bid to stop you overtaking.
rant header

 
Don’t you just love those PC progressive duckies in the Guardian.

Met police to start using spit hoods on suspects within weeks

Critics say hoods to protect officers from suspects who try to spit at or bite them are ‘primitive, cruel and degrading’.

Perhaps they should try being spat at, after all they’re witless enough to deserve it. Then we’d get to see how they feel about them.

Thursday – cool and cloudy.

Day 7, just 3 to go. It’s a sea day. I used to cope with these but no more.

Go to a naturist talk, not very good, followed by a mediocre quality video of our Glacier bay experience. Somewhat ironic that I normally complain – yes I know you’ll find that difficult to believe – that there’s not enough talks / lectures, yet this cruise has had quite a few and yet I’ve not bothered to attend. Perverse.

Evenings another peacocks parade so great people watching. My Rohan, trainers, white shirt and tie barely pass muster as the Maitre De looks at me like something he’s trod in and got stuck on the sole of his shoe – never mind little does he know that we’ve cancelled our fixed gratuities to ensure that leeches like him get no tip. You may feel this is a bit harsh on Maitre De’s, but we’ve yet to encounter one who isn’t a complete waste of space, you see nothing of them for the first three quarters of the cruise and then starts to smarmy around you as you approach the last evening and the hopes of a big tip.

Friday – warm and sunny.

Victoria on Vancouver Island.

Victoria on Vancouver Island.

Up at the crack of sparrows as we dock at 07:00 and depart at 13:30, so by the time we’ve had breakfast we’ve only about 4 hours in Victoria.

Walk into the city and catch a hop on hop off bus tour, just 90 minutes, but a great way to see Victoria. Then it’s a wander around the city with a very welcome dirty chai at Starbucks to defrost the frozen blood in my veins. Boy was it cold on that open top bus. Call in a few tat shops and Wendy manages to get the mandatory fridge magnet. Then it’s a gentle stroll back to the ship. It’s oh so nice to get out and have a walk.

Victoria’s a lovely city, so relaxing and laid back with plenty to enjoy. We really must think about coming back for a couple of weeks, it’s quite mild in summer and we’ve had a couple of home exchange requests for here, but I’d always dismissed them as being too cold. The real pity is we didn’t get a whole day here.

Empress hotel Victoria.

Empress hotel Victoria.

Of course you might question why the hop on / off bus doesn’t stop at the cruise terminal gate, I did. The cynic in me expects it’s another marketing department plot to extract the maximum out of us by charging for the bus into the city and encouraging everyone to go on the cruises more expensive hop on / off tour. I bet they black mailed the city council into banning a stop at the cruise terminal or they wouldn’t visit Victoria.

By way of a change we escape fixed dining and sneak into anytime dining, no one bothers to check on you. We have a good group at fixed dining but it is nice to meet the range of different people offered by anytime dinning. This time we get an interesting table of 6; one guy just recovered from chemo, so an interesting slant on life; yet again we encounter a judge – conclusion is that this cruise must infested with judges.

Vancouver Island might be ideal for 2018 Canada trip. Fly into New York; drive up through Niagra; Ottowa; Montreal; Toronto; then drive or train across Canada and the Rockies; Vancouver Island; then fly back from Vancouver, or vice versa.
religion header

 
Sexy Justice Warriors and the Truck of Peace

Saturday – cold and foggy.

Yet another sea day, the last one thankfully, they’re getting a tad boring now. Highlight of the day is people watching, blogging, exercise, a fandango with the shower curtainand then it’s time to put on my fodder bag and head down for dinner. I would say dress for dinner but jeans and jumper hardly meet the Downton Abbey standards of sartorial etiquette.

After yet another lunch Wendy packs whilst I get a well overdue espresso fix, write me blog and watch people buy gold chains as if there lives depended upon it being a lifeline to heaven.

Two of our fellow diners decide they’re celebrating their wedding anniversary, it being 3 months away doesn’t seem to deter them, and of course they get a chocolate cake and card from the crew.

Booze evening with our diners.

I think the highlight of the day has to be walking and chatting with this old couple, 90+ years, married for 60+ years – earlier in the lounge they managed a 2 minute dance together, not sure who was holding who up. They both walk with a walking stick, backs bent over double like a tree bowing to the wind, the very epitome of a Disney geriatric. The old guy congratulates us on BREXIT, about time he says, smart move. Then they proceed to walk up the stairs. Yes, they walk up. No lift, no wheel chairs or scooters, even though they can barely walk. Puts the youngsters – everyone on this ship is younger than them, to shame. Awesome.

Good news is that despite Princess’s best efforts at turning us all into blobbies, we’ve survived 10 days of rampant gluttony all around without gaining any weight, despite the wine, brandy and not forgetting the all important vodka martini. Mind you weighing yourself in a what seems like a major maelstrom is an exercise in understanding of Newtons laws of motion and gravity.
rant header

 
Cruising the good and the bad:

Good – Wendy likes a change, with the luxury and no cooking or housework.No change for me!

Good – get to see a lot of places without unpacking. Sadly it can be too short a visit and you’re up against a deadline to get back to the ship on time.

Good – entertainment allegedly. Especially people watching.

Good – a gym.

Bad – too relaxing. The lack of mental stimulation is enough to turn your brain to jello.

Bad – food, Food, FOOD every where you turn and every minute of the day. Just a floating adipose tissue factory of calories and cholesterol.

Good – More super blobbies than there is blubber on a whale, providing a superb incentive and motivation to have your gob sewn up and go on a permanent zero calorie diet.

Bad – more geriatrics than fans at a Vera Lynn revival concert.

Bad – geriatrics provide a depressing visual reminder of what’s possibly in store for you in the years ahead.

Good – formal nights are now anything goes, thanks mainly to Americans bucking the trend. Thank the FSM penguin suits are now in a minority.

Bad – wifi is so extortionately expensive that you’ve no internet access.

Bad – it is Wallace Arnold afloat, designed for the timid with no imagination or sense of adventure.

Bad – depressing watching people throwing money away on trinkets, booze and food, to say nothing of the senseless gambling.

Bad – cold weather cruises.

20160905 – Alaska – Part 1

Monday – grey and miserable.

At the hotel.

At the hotel.

Leisurely drive down to the Leonardo Hotel at Heathrow. The less said about the usual road works and delays between Manchester and Stoke the better. It’s been like this for at least 20+ years. Now they have 12 mile long road works with orange hi-vis jump suits swilling tea and passing the time of day. Does anyone bother working.

Check in and then seek out some dinner. It’s only 0.4 miles to terminal 3, but you can’t walk or cycle down the road so it’s either catch a bus or do a 6 mile hike.

Terminal 3 has a dire choice of food, either Costa or Weatherspoon. By now my stomach thinks my throats been cut so we catch the bus to MacD. Happy meal here I come.
joke header

 
THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY “THOMAS COOK VACATIONS”
 FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS: 

 “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant
served curry.  I don’t like spicy food.” 

  “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach.  It was very
 distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.” 

 “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all
 Spanish.” 

 “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own
 swimsuits and towels.  We assumed it would be included in the price.” 

“The beach was too sandy.”

BE AWARE …

THEY WALK AMONG US and THEY VOTE!

rant header

 
Well I’ve 6 weeks of pent up rants to get off me chest. Boy have the PC, remoaners and common senseless half-wits got up my nose since we’ve been home, so please excuse my rants. At least they’re colour coded to help you skip past them.

religion header

 
The 2nd biggest threat of the century - no it's not a TV programme.

The 2nd biggest threat of the century – no it’s not a TV programme.

Well the gloves are off from now on. This picture just about sums up the reality of what we’re facing and the nightmare for our grandchildren.

When will our politicians realize we’re at war.

When will our politicians realize that Islam is the problem.

When will our politicians stop telling us that Islam is a religion of peace. It’s not, if you doubt it go read the Quran, with it’s 109 verses of violence.

It’s a complete political and societal system that will not rest until it has World domination and Sharia rules.

Islam is at war with us.

Islam is the problem.

When will we admit it.

Wake up before it’s too late.

Tuesday – grey and miserable.

Great breakfast and then we spend the rest of the morning doing what us geriatrics do best, lounging around; reading the papers; drinking coffee; and putting the World to rights.

Picked up by a taxi for the 0.4 mile drive to terminal 3 Heathrow. Hang on how I miss a Blackburn taxi, where’s the furry dice; where’s the slimy threadbare leopard skin seat covers; what no antique 20 year old Nissan; no odour of fag ash or stink of curry; no screeching brakes or sea sick invoking pitch from lack of shock absorbers. Instead we have to put up with a Series 7 class BMW with TV screens, pleasant driver and shear luxury.

Then we’re through screening and all that palaver and ensconced into a lovely lounge complete with the usual free booze and food. Wendy attacks a bottle of brandy with all the gusto of a thirsty camel.

Well if anyone ever wanted an incentive to loose weight this blobby, sat opposite us in the lounge, who takes up 3/4 of a Chesterfield settee, is enough to make you want to have your mouth sewn up for life. His wife looks like she’s competing with his girth. God help anyone sat next to him on the plane as he oozes over into 3 seats.

Flight great. We’ve booked exit row seats so it’s very comfortable, 3 films and a load of food. We land on time. Only one complaint on the Virgin flight as their only red wine is Syrah.

Well we knew we’d arrived in San Francisco when we encountered a male weirdo wearing a mini skirt and some mauve colored curtains as a cape; then we’re nearly run down by two skate boarders towing one another; followed by a guy in a Stetson arguing with himself and bursting into incoherent catwauling. Full of fruitcakes prancing about.

Then we encounter the urine stinking stairs outsideof the BART station, mountains of chewing gum gob’d out on the pavements, you need crampons to negotiate them, followed by streets full of homeless sleeping rough. Their bedrolls lining the pavements – sorry sidewalks – like rows of the graves in the Somme.

Welcome to San Francisco.

Plan A is to get a Uber from the BART station to our hotel. Our first encounter with the Uber App, surrounded by the prancing weirdos, is not exactly the best introduction. The Human Computer Interface is not exactly the most easy to comprehend, but eventually I crack it. Wow what a great system, you even get to see the taxis whereabouts.

Hotel’s a Comfort Inn, clean, very comfortable and very expensive.

rant header

 
When will we ever start to employ common sense and profile. At Heathrow we witnessed this disabled geriatric couple, 90 if a day old, be treated like Jihadi Johnny’s great grandparents.

They, the UK equivalent of the TSA storm troopers, confiscated a whole bathroom cupboard full of their toiletries; shouted at the husband, which had zero effect as he was deaf, his hearing aid was screaching like a teachers playground whistle; disrespected them; just because they’ve never travelled before and we’re totally confused by it all. Then to add insult to injury they’re the only people they made take their shoes off. But never mind they’ll be able to buy replacements toiletries airside.

Good god if these old dears had a bomb on them they wouldn’t have the strength to press the button, and the thought of 70 virgins would probably give him a stroke.

religion header

 
Truck of Peace: Induction Day

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

I think I can, I know I can make it.

I think I can, I know I can make it.

Up at the crack of sparrows ready to cook my first waffle of this trip.

Inside Alcatraz at last.

Inside Alcatraz at last.

Then we set off for a walk down to the ever popular pier 39. Wow, eating lunch and a healthy one at that with two fresh figs. At last we get to go on the Alcatraz tour, good job we booked over a month ago as there’s no availability for 5 days. What money spinning business this is.

Audio tour’s very interesting and well done.

Dinner’s a sandwich at Boudins. Make the most of it we’ve got 10 days of food, Food, FOOD and rampant gluttony to cope with.
rant header

 
lPat Condell on Europe’s last chance.

Thursday – hot and sunny.

Goodbye Alcatraz.

Goodbye Alcatraz.

Leisurely start to the day. The hotels been infested overnight with Italians. At breakfast they’re like a plague of noisy locusts.

Leisurely morning then it’s a Uber to the Ferry Terminal. Horrendous queues, sorry lines, to drop luggage off, but I’m approached by a young lady who tells me to follow her – wow I’ve pulled, my lucks in. We cut the lines – as they say – drop our luggage off and 10 minutes later we’re walking on board. The slickest boarding ever, spoilt only by the creation of a short queue to have the inevitable, money making photo taken. Appalling, greed and profit before customer service.

Healthy lunch. On pier 39. Don't worry there's junk food for dinner.

Healthy lunch. On pier 39. Don’t worry there’s junk food for dinner.

Our inside rabbit hutch, sorry stateroom – sounds a tad grand doesn’t it – is perhaps the smallest we’ve ever had, but it’s neat, clean and comfortable.

For the first time ever we’re on fixed dining. A table of 8, fortunately they all speak English. All Americans, but a pleasant interesting group, so I guess we’ll stick with it for now.
religion header

 
sexy justice warriors and the truck of peace:

Friday – cool and sunny.

A loving couple.

A loving couple.

Our first full day at sea, so what scintillating entertainemnt do they have for our amusement and edification.

There’s the usual range of talks and seminars. The trick is to figure out what they’re going to try and sell you. I venture to the history of art, all very interesting and you get a free limited edition print. Mines certified as the 435,684th copy.

Off to the gym. Must be the youngest place on the ship / boat.

Oh it’s time for another meal – lunch.

Afternoons spent lounging around and blobby watching.

Then we opt for some intellectual stimulation. A talk on Juneau, our first port of call, given by a young guy whose mono tonal, expression free monologue has me asleep in seconds – a defense mechanism against ending up suicidal listening to him.

Oh and now it’s time for another over dose of cholesterol and calories with our new fixed dining friends and our waiters who so want to be our best friends for life. As to be expected wine on board is extortionate – only exceeded by the wifi rip off – but we’ve found a superb wheeze. Happy hour, buy one get a second for a $1, so two glasses of $7 Zinfandel comes out at $8, and adopting your best drunks stagger, not difficult with the pitch and roll on board, you just slink into fixed dining with two glassed in hand. First wine for nearly a week on the wagon.

Dinner’s hilarious as a couple try a special offer Baileys and coffee, complete with free shot glass, only to find that there’s no coffee with it. 10 minutes later everyone’s wet themselves with amusement and the waiter’s ready to slit his wrist. Food not so good, Wendy has gristle pie and one couple have desiccated salmon.

Then it’s off to the show. An irreverent, PC incorrect black (yes, you can still say black herein the colonies and they’ve not yet come up with another ridiculous word replacement) dreadlocked comedian. He’s hilarious.

Top the night off with a nice brandy night cap, so much the nicer because we managed to smuggle it onboard despite all the dire warnings and the risk to security
religion header

 
Christian versus Muslim:

Saturday – cool and sunny.

Our floating calorie and cholesterol palace.

Our floating calorie and cholesterol palace.

Coffee in the lounge as I do my blog to help me retain my sanity. Wendy’s watching a vegatable carving demo. Mean while I do some people watching, plenty of entertaining pickings. Then I consider why in the name of the FSM would you want to attend such a negative seminar to “learn the real reason why we can not get a flatter stomach and why crunches aren’t working”?

Boy it’s rough out there.

After lunch it’s a trip to the gym. Located on the top of the ship at the sharp end it gets the benefit of any rough seas, it’s like trying to exercise on a cake walk. After 20 minutes I’m ready to shout for Hughie and Ruth. I descend to our rabbit hutch (Princess’s marketing department describe it as a “stateroom”) and just about manage to keep the diced carrots down – have you ever noticed that whenever you pewk, no matter what you’ve eat in the past week, there are always diced carrots in it.

Quickly get ready for the “highlight of the cruise”, formal night, and to avoid pewking I dash down to the lowest level possible with a view of the sea.

After dinner we catch the comedian / magician. He’s pretty good but some of the best entertainment is provided by the smaller acts around the ship such as the guitarist singer, the classical group and the pop bands.

rant header

 
What a joke these formal nights are. A relic from a snobby past. It seems that my butler failed to pack my penguin suit so I’ll have to make do with trainers, a pair of Rohan combat pants – at least they’re black – a shirt, and as a sop to this archaic pantomime, a tie. Wot no jacket!

Why are the peacocks of the penguin suit brigade so up themselves. They seem to look down on us uncouth slobs, who are now the vast majority, who just don’t bother with it all. If they, the peacocks, weren’t so insecure we wouldn’t need formal nights, as they could just wear their penguin suits, or whatever turns them on, any night of the cruise. Perhaps it’s all driven by the women and their attempted catwalk displays.

Anyway nobody challenges my “sartorial elegance”. I think we have the Americans to thank for that, as their sartorial sarcasm ignores any pretense of finery. The Peacocks must now be in a rapidly declining 10% minority, whilst 100% of the females still entertain us with their finery, a mixture of titivating eye candy with alluring displays of tempting flesh and the revolting gross excesses of overflowing flesh trying to escape the constraints of skimpy dresses intended for young super models – mutton and lamb springs to mind.

But then again it’s all great people watching entertainment, so perhaps we should keep formal nights, purely for their entertainment value.