Bright and early, at 6 am, we arrived in our first Port, Ketchikan. Ketchikan, for those of you who are unlearned in the ways of fish, Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world. It was neat to stop and look outside and be in the midst of the mountains. It is so beautiful here. There is something about this place that feels so comfortable and feels so much like home. I haven't experienced this before in my life. My soul fits here perfectly. I'm not sure what that means. But I guess time will tell.
Once we got off of the boat (and was forced to take a picture with a large eagle mascot . . . more on this later) we had about 45 minutes of great shopping time before our next scheduled event. Yes, Mom and I stocked up on souvenirs – Alaskan finger puppets, ulu knives, plush seals. Stores here open when the cruise ships dock, so these stores were open at 6 am. Isn’t that wild?
Mom and I were sad when it was time to go to our first excursion, as that meant we had to stop supporting the local Ketchikan economy, but it was worth it. We purchased tickets to see the Great American Lumberjack show. It was so much fun! 4 lumberjacks competed in lots of competitions such as log rolling, log climbing, sawing, stuff like that. It was done really well and was pretty funny. I enjoiyed it lots. I don't know, but there is definitly something about men in flannel cutting things that is pretty sexy. Plus popcorn and coffee were only $1 each! The cheapest thing I saw all trip.
We were on the "American" side of the bleachers and had to cheer for the Americans team against the Canadians. But it was all in good fun so we cheered with all that we had. Everytime our team got a point somebody in the audience got a wood chip to hold onto in order to count points. Below is a picture of me holding one of the wood chips.
After the lumberjack show, we had about 45 minutes until our next excursion. All of us girls were anxious that this wouldn't be nearly enough time to shop, which it wasn't. It was a flurry of activity as we ran through the town. Janessa was so good to me - there was a specific store that I wanted to find so that I could buy a soapstone carving (I had a coupon . . . big surprise!) We finally found it, and I am so glad we did. Not only because now I have a stellar (and cheap) soapstone carving, but because this little store was in this great little corner of Ketchikan that I wouldn't have been able to see if we didn't search this out. It was the original part of the town. Great boardwalk over this little river, beautiful old buildings. Awesome! What's funny about every Alaskan port we stopped at is that there were always numerous ladies on the side of the roads dressed like old school prostitutes. Brothels were big business back in the Gold Rush days, so there were a number of brothels-turned-museums (or turned restaurants) which the street prostitute ladies tried to get you to come inside for a tour. It's pretty random to see so many women with money stuffed in their boobies just hanging out outside.
No, I am not including a picture of them.
Once I found my precious soapstone carving, Jan and I were literally running so that we would be at our next excursion in time. We chose to take the Ketchikan bus tour. It was very interesting and very informative. We got to drive through the town, and went to Totem Bright, a collection of totem poles in the area. We had a great tour guide who told us lots about the totem poles and their meanings. Definitely very interesting. And, of course, a gift shop!
We were on the bus again by noon, because we had to make port the next day by 6 am. We boarded the ship, and spent the rest of the night going to shows, eating great food, and basically hanging out.