Sunday, June 23, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ketchikan, Alaska

I'm in Alaska!  First time.  It's my 45th state.  Current travel count: 3 continents, 14 countries (including North Korea), 45 states. I am in Ketchikan for the Summer solstice.  Ketchikan is interesting and the food is good when it's fish.  More about that in a minute.

My travelling companion, and I disembark, proceed down the jet way, and go the the baggage carousel, to get my baggage.  Achut, has no baggage to speak of.   He is an accomplished world traveller, recently returned from an adventure to Antarctica.  Me, I travel like Redmond O'Hanlon, I need porters and bearers.  And a boatman.  Achut travels with just a bit of stuff and sandals.  My bags contain about 35 lbs of camera gear.  Surprisingly, Aschut taps me on the shoulder and points at the cart half full of luggage and runs off.

He's forgotten his laptop on the plane. 

The cheery girl behind the counter at the car rental place asks if we need tickets for the ferry.   I ask, "What happens if we miss the ferry? Will it wait for us?"  "It drops you off then comes back for the employees. so you'll get another chance."  The  ferry is $5 each plus 6 for the car.  We drive the rental car out of the parking lot to a sign that says "U-turn for Ferry."   Although there are only about 1000 yards of road on this entire island.  It appears we are lost already.   The ferry handles about 15 cars and comes out to meet every flight.  It takes maybe 10 minutes for the whole crossing. 

We have rented a house for our stay it's a three bedroom job, called plainly enough, "The Thomas Street Vacation Rental."  It's very nice and has a kitchen, "So we can cook the fish if we catch any, " so says Achut. Thomas street is a Boardwalk out over the Harbor.  The boundary between water and land here in Ketchikan is a board walk with a building on it and two wooden rails facing the water. 

It's easily nine o'clock P.M. by the time we get situated, and Ketchikan is already slipping into the doldrums of night.

Finally we find the spot we need <> and have a halibut fetticini.  We wander  empty piers designed for cruise ships, and then pass by the rowdy bar, with what sounds like a fight coming from inside.

We are seriously undecided about this bar, because it's rough.  We stop to discuss it.  We're are in Alaska, after all, so lets give it a go. we head back. 

A moment later the doors fly open and several people get shoved out, and turn toward us.  High fives, all around as we walk through them.  I have this feeling that I need to be really careful as they ask if we missed our ship.  We get to the door of the noisy pub and it's locked.  The bartender runs up to let us in. Sorry, "I had a problem."

"I think I just met your problem walking down the street."

It's the Arctic Bar, home of the Happy Bear, a beer, whose tap handle looks remarkably like two bears fucking.  Like almost everything in Ketchikan, this place is built on a board walk out over the water. Josie, the bartender, pours us a beer.