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CVF2003 - Day 2 (Saturday 6/21)

The short version: a couple of lectures, pretty scenery, formal dinner, and a show.

Saturday we spent sailing the Inside Passage. This is supposedly the highlight of round-trip cruises, but we were a one-way cruise. Better was Yet To Come. The Inside Passage is basically a route between islands that means the ships don't have to go into the open sea, making for quieter waters and less seasickness. It is, apparently, entirely in Canada, but the sailing between islands applies quite a ways up into Alaska. Of the whole trip, we only spent about two days of it truly at sea, and even then we were seldom out of sight of land entirely.

Saturday was also the summer solstice, and thus the longest day of the year. I had been looking forward to this since about the time we booked the trip - since Alaska is one of the places that gets the Midnight Sun, I thought it would be really cool to be there, even if we didn't get that far north. It was really brought home to me later in the trip, though, because although the days in a particular location were starting to get shorter, we were moving north faster and the days we experienced got longer.

Anyway, we slept late. I don't remember if I even made it to breakfast, which ends about 10:30 (although you could still get donuts and stuff until lunch opened at 12). At lunchtime we ate at the grill by the pool with Jeff's parents. They had been interested in the same lectures I had, so we all went together. The first one was called something along the lines of "Alaskan Gems, Jewelry, and Native Crafts." That could have been a really fascinating talk. Instead, it was basically a sales pitch on how to buy diamonds. About ten minutes in, Teresa, the twit giving the talk, said "Now, men, I know you don't know how to buy diamonds. Think of it this way. If you have the choice between a Volvo and a Porsche, obviously everyone would pick the Porsche." This was after she'd spent the first five minutes being snotty and patronizing to her assistant, who clearly was pretty new. Julie (Jeff's mother) and I exchanged glances across Dave (his father) and got up, the menfolk following with alacrity, and left. Very obviously and abruptly. I kinda wished we'd been more toward the front instead of the back, to make more of a point.

The second talk we went to was better. Dr. Ken was the local expert. He and his wife live on one of the little islands we had passed this morning. They get their electric from solar panels and their water from collecting rainwater. He was talking about the Inside Passage and the Canada/Alaska border. His presentation was mostly talking about his slides (a Powerpoint presentation or something similar to that, not real slides), but there was some interesting stuff in there about border tensions. Did you know that the US/Canada border is hotly contested, and there have been blockades and even armed skirmishes within the last couple of decades? I left intending to go to his other talks, but I didn't manage to make it to any of them. I did watch a couple of them replayed on the TV, though.

When he finished, we were just entering the narrowest part of the Inside Passage, so the scenery was incredible - and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Like everyone else, we fought our way up on deck and started taking pictures. Jeff and I managed to run through a roll of film each, pretty quickly. After about 45 minutes, the wind was getting to me and I went in and curled up on my bed with a book for a little while.

Saturday was the first Formal Night. I wore my long purple gown, veteran of several Holiday Balls at Drew. It still fits, basically, or I wouldn't have taken it, but after seeing some pictures, I've decided it makes me look as fat as I actually am, and I need to stop wearing it until I lose weight. This isn't likely to be a problem, since I don't attend many formal events and I now have a Little Black Dress which will work nicely.

All six of us met in the Rendezvous Lounge (appropriate, yes?) for a drink before dinner. We then proceeded in, with a little hesitation at the table as we re-arranged seating so Sara wouldn't be in the seat she'd been in the night before when she spilled on herself. Julie took that seat, and spilled on herself, so the chair was promptly dubbed The Spill Chair. Most of us went out of our way to avoid it. I am proud to say that I not only did not sit in The Spill Chair for the entire cruise, I also did not spill on myself for the entire cruise! Anyone familiar with my lack of dexterity will understand my joy in this.

After dinner, Jeff and I and his parents went to the show. It was... interesting. It was basically just songs and dance from a variety of musicals, stuck together without much rhyme or reason. The orchestra was adequate but not outstanding. The vocalists were not adequate. The dancers were quite impressive, especially in comparison to the vocalists. And many of the costumes looked like they had been imported directly from the eighties, based on the copious neon. After that, we went to the so-called coffee shop for coffee and/or hot chocolate. We caught the very end of an a cappella group. Then we dispersed to bed.