Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Kodiak and the Trip to Homer on the M/V Kennicott

Landed in Kodiak early, so early I don’t know how early. We rise, dress and WOW, it is not raining, you can even see some sun, so we decide to walk into Kodiak. As we debark, we ask which way and the Terminal Manager Steve catches up with us and offers us a ride. It warmed my heart, this is exactly what I wanted AdventureMan to see, this is what I grew up with, the Spirit of Alaska 🙂 taking care of one another. Alaska is like one big community.

On the way, he gives us an overview of Kodiak and we talk about the big problem with the lack of ferry transportation this year with the Tustemena out of service. Tustemena is the M/V ferry that runs down the Aleutian Islands all the way to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, another trip we want to make. It’s been a big loss for all tour related businesses on the peninsula and for Kodiak. The Kennicott will make a run down in late September to help get people, goods and vehicles out who are waiting for transportation.

We told him we wanted some breakfast, and he dropped us off at the Shelikof Lodge, full of locals. I actually asked where he eats breakfast, and he said “at home” and we learned why – this is a very busy man. He runs back and forth between all the terminals, solving problems, making sure everything is going smoothly. In Kodiak, people work hard.

At the Shelikov, AdventureMan has biscuits and gravy, and I have reindeer sausage for the first time, with a hot, spicy aftertaste I love. Even though it is very lean meat, I only eat half.

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Shelikov Lodge Breakfast Specialties:
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AdventureMan’s Biscuits and Gravy
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Reindeer Sausage
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We hike to the Russian Orthodox Church, passing a tidal wave marker on the way. It is scary – it seems rather high on the island. That tidal wave came a long way up.

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We walk through Kodiak, past all the processing plants, to ship. It’s not a very big place, but you can see a lot of pride in what they do.

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LOL, loading the cars and trucks and containers and R/Vs takes hours and there is a long long line of walk ons, first the Kodiak football team, all in their jerseys, and then the Kodiak high school cross country team in bright lemon yellow wind breakers. Maybe 150 students, good kids, full of energy, whooping it up.

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We leave Kodiak late, but these late departures seem to be built into the ferry schedule – they never know where they will need more time.

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These meadows look so Swiss to me.
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Just like Life of Pi! Fish jumping out of the water in tens and hundreds, flying!
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Whales to feed on those crops of fish
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Approaching the Barrens, as the sea passage gets a little rougher. This is one of the windiest, roughest areas to traverse
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There is a whole new dynamic on board with the high-schoolers. They are hilarious! All that teenage energy! We hit rough water just after going through the Barrens, and the kids are standing on the forward deck waiting for huge waves to break over the bow. When the huge waves break, it is like in a movies, a sheet of water, and the kids hang on and come up laughing.

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We go through rough waters about an hour, then things calm down and . . . the sun comes out! Gorgeous scenery, all the way to Homer.

Approaching Homer Spit on M/V Kennicott:
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Docked almost exactly at 9, as scheduled. We waited for the kids to all get off, then walked to the terminal, where there are NO taxis waiting. When I made reservations, I had asked the hotel if they send a shuttle to the ferry terminal and they said no, they didn’t have a shuttle, but there are always taxis waiting. No. No, that is just not true. There are not always taxis waiting.

We see a couple we had met onboard, they ask where we are going and we tell them the Driftwood Inn and he says “that’s where we’re going!” and offers to split the cab they have already called with us. Perfect! Except when we get to the hotel he discovers that he is NOT staying at the Driftwood Inn, and he has to call the taxi driver back again to take him to the Heritage Inn.

It’s sad, I think this is a generational thing, he kept calling himself a dummy. We are raised in a different generation, to call someone a dummy is just so negative and so degrading that we would never do it, not to anyone else, not to ourselves. We might say “How could I be such an idiot!?” but we were horrified – and a little heartbroken – to hear this really nice man berate himself like that.

What was cool is that we ran into them again – twice – before twenty-four hours had passed, once at the car rental agency, and once again at the Homer Farmer’s Market. They had settled in quickly, only a couple blocks from where we were staying and were having a wonderful time, heading out that afternoon in route to Prudhoe Bay. (I’m impressed.)

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Our room is lovely, spacious and welcoming, with gorgeous shared spaces and a view to die for, maybe 230 degrees of glaciers, mountains, Kachemak Bay and driftwoody beach. The sun is setting, the air smells clean; sea, salt and pine, the skies are clear, and oh, life is sweet.

Sunset from Driftwood Inn, Homer, Alaska:
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September 6, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Environment, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Hotels, Living Conditions, Photos, Public Art, Restaurant, Sunsets, Travel, Wildlife | , , | 2 Comments

Happy Anniversary from WordPress

LOL, WordPress even sent me a congratulations

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September 6, 2013 Posted by | Blogging, WordPress | Leave a comment

Happy 7th Blog-iversary to Me!

Once a year I get to troll the internet looking for cakes. It is so much fun. I had no idea there is so much creativity out there, so much daring. I found a wedding cake that is tilted! Something in me loved it, loved the spirit of a woman who would marry knowing life is often off-kilter and messy.

I love white roses, so this year I have sent some to myself:

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Come on by, have some virtual cake with me to celebrate seven years of blogging:

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And here, an elegant combination of cake and white roses:

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Seven years ago in Kuwait, I started blogging. There was a wild blogging scene in Kuwait, a lively community. Blogs were candid, and many were substantial, dealing (carefully) with political and economic issues in Kuwait. I remember reading and learning, and finally gathering up my courage to write my very first entry, and it has been a recurring theme, cross-cultural communication. I learned so much from my life in the Middle East, Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. I made the most amazing friends. It changed my life and my perceptions utterly.

Of the three Kuwait female bloggers who inspired me to start blogging, Jewaira has gone private, 1001 Nights is a good friend, a mother, and an author 🙂 and Desert Girl is still going strong. Mark, at 2:48 a.m. is also still going strong, so strong that he has been able to leave his full time employment and operate on a consultant basis.

Of course, as any blogger will, I sometimes think of quitting. There are days I find myself with nothing to say, nothing in my life so interesting that I think it is worth sharing, not even a news story worth noting. So I’ve had to ask myself why I continue.

I do it for myself. When I started, I had a reason and that reason still stands. I forget things. This isn’t age-related, it’s busy-life busy-world related; we forget the details.

My Mother saved all my letters from Tunisia. I remember reading them and laughing because at three, my son’s best friend in his day school was a boy he called Cutlet. I know his real name is Khalid, but Cutlet was as close as this little American boy in a French-Tunisian school could get. I had totally forgotten, until I read the letter. So my primary reason for continuing to blog is documentary – just plain record keeping, like an old fashioned diary. Noting things in my daily life or the life around me.

Even now, sometimes I see a post written long ago, usually one of our Africa trips, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Zambia – will start getting a rush of stats. It thrills my heart. It makes it all worthwhile, knowing something I have put out there is helping others, even years later. Perhaps one day, I will quit blogging, but leave the blog up, with these informational articles.

My stats make no sense at all, one of my biggest stat gainers this year was a news article I tossed off about the prank on the South Korean pilot names after the plane crash landed in San Francisco. It just made me giggle, and I couldn’t resist printing it. It ended up with a life of its own, as many entries do – and you just never know. Someone pins an image and you get a million (ok hyperbole here) hits you never expected.

In the end, I believe that those who keep blogging do it because as Martin Luther once said, “I cannot other.” We do it because something within needs to be expressed, even if it is just some kind of daily record. I know it’s why I blog.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Blogging, Botswana, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Jordan, Kuwait, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Travel, Tunisia, Zambia, Zanzibar | | 8 Comments