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.
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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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
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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.

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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.