Archive for the ‘Victoria’ Tag

I PROMISED ALASKA   19 comments

I hesitate to post these pictures, given the amazing photos presented by other bloggers. But this is what I have, and I promised it.

My son produces the beautiful photographs. Mine are just a record of where I’ve been. Fortunately for you I don’t take a lot of people pictures.

Anyway, let’s start in Ketchikan, the first stop on our Holland America Line cruise. I guess I should have known, but I didn’t realize what a powerful cultural influence is played by Native Americans in Alaska. (or should they be called, as in Canada, the first peoples? I like the latter.) Anyway, just off the boat, there was this totem, too tall for me to get entirely into the photo. Totem


So I took this detail photo.

Totem detail

And then a couple of casual scenes






Ketchikan 1









I made sure to get a shot of Dolly’s place. No longer officially an active occupation, but apparently she was a standout in the prostitution business back in the heady gold rush days – and a community leader as well.

Dolly's Place - Version 2



Along the way I discovered this Salmon by the artist Terry Pyles.  Dedicated July 4, 2013, it was named  “Yeltatzie Salmon” in honor of Halda Native Carver Jones Yeltatzie (1900-1976) whose wood carving (1963) it replaced.

Ketchikan Salmon








Later, because it was allowed, I took a shot inside the museum.


Ketchikan Museum



I won’t include photos of the jewelry I bought. Apparently that’s the thing to do in Juneau, but I did get a shot of the neighborhood around the jewelry stores.


Followed in the early evening by a seaplane flight over the glaciers.

Seaplane over Glaciers

I confess I was surprised to see so much green. A friend of mine says she has comparative photos of the glaciers with a five year difference that show how much less ice there is now.

from plane


ICY STRAIT POINT was the next photo op on the cruise. We paid to go on an excursion offering a chance to see bears on the first land-based half and a promise to see whales on the second half of the trip. On the first lap we saw no living bears — or animals of any kind. They just didn’t feel like showing up. So, this stump carving was the only bear we saw.

Only bear we saw


Then we headed for the whale watching piece of the tour, only to be told at the last minute that it was cancelled due to technical difficulties. Yes, we did get that portion of the fee back. No, I didn’t see any bears or whales while I was in Alaska.


One of my photos in Anchorage is of the flea market where I acquired sundry small items made from things like fossilized whale bone, fish vertebrae, moose hair. And some leather bags for next to nothing price-wise. What I like best about the flea market photo is the sky.

Flea Market


And then theres the area outside the museum.

Anchorage Museum

Inside the museum I managed to get a couple of shots — not the only things that attracted, but quick studies.

museum piece 1








6-29 museum piece









Next stop Homer and the amazingly beautiful Norman Lowell Gallery. I deprived myself of some lovely wandering by waiting until I could get this photo of a main gallery without any people in it. Not easy to do, because tourists love to get photos of each other in front of what they’ve seen. Anyway, here’s what I finally accomplished with much patience. That’s a painting of the northern lights in the center.

Norman Lowell Gallery

As a mark of the long way the artist has come since arriving in Alaska, we had access to the homestead cabin where he and his wife began their adventure.

Homestead Cabin








and two shots of the interior.

Homestead Cabin 2









I have to admit I learned something I should probably have known — how very recent was the homesteading activity in Alaska, as reflected by the materials in the cabin.

Interior of cabin











Approaching the ship on the way back from the Homer expedition I spotted a community of ladies and midwives waiting for delivery.




In Kodiak I learned something else I should probably have known  — the strong Russian influence as reflected in this Russian Orthodox Church, reported to be the oldest in the U.S., and the apparent faith of most of the Tlinkit.

Oldest Orthodox in U.S. 1794

Interior orthodox church








     And the interior


We spent July 2 slowly circling the Hubbard Glacier — a most beautiful day with an astounding view. Check the header of this blog to get a sense of it.


The display of Tlinkit dancing in Sitka was bright and colorful. First a photo of the stage, and then the photo op outside with the dancers  – of all ages. Many moms dancing with their babes in arms, but men, boys, girls, and us for a while (though without the colorful costumes.)

Dance Theater

Sitka dancers 03

We also got a clear view of Mt. Edgecomb. It hasn’t erupted in recent history, but there was the incident they tell about where practical jokers set a stack of tires ablaze at its top, producing a brief scare for the town.


Our last stop in Sitka was a totem park. I managed to get a couple of  pictures, but it’s hard without also getting a tourist in front of the subject. But again,with patience, I got a shot of one of them.

totem 2


And then Victoria, with a walk through the Agkhazi gardens and tea in the tea house.

Agkhazi Garden 7-5

Tea House, 7-5 Abkhazi Garden

Now the tour of Alaska is over. We disembarked in Seattle with some time to spare before the flight home, so we explored a bit of the town. First the space needle — an adventure in height (which doesn’t bother me if I don’t have to rely and my own feet to keep me grounded). The view was spectacular as expected.

And I got a shot of the work of art just outside the entrance.

Outside space needle

Because I got in the habit of photographing markets when we did the Asia/Pacific tour, I took a shot of the Seattle Farmer’s Market. Too bad we weren’t staying there long enough to enjoy some of the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, and the amazing flowers. The crowds, though! Oh, the crowds!

7-6 Farmer's Market

AND THIS IS THE END. Thanks for coming


It was a day of fun in Dalian, starting with a tour which took us to the farmer’s market and other places. As I’ve pointed out before, it was interesting to watch the progression of markets. This one was tidy and tempting, but I noted especially the following offering, one we wouldn’t find in the U.S. — at least I don’t think so. It did remind me that the one food I would not accept from my butcher father-in-law was pigs feet. Any other part of the body was worth a try, but pigs feet look like pigs feet. (For obvious reasons, of course.)

Dalian Farmer's Market


One thing that stood out was the activity in the public squares — people dancing, for example.

Dancing in Labour Park


As we drove past another square, we were told that people came out after dinner to exercise.

And then there were the kites. Part of our tour was the chance to fly our own and take it home with us. The kites were beautiful, but the wind was not cooperative. OK. If you haven’t already laughed at the header, let me tell you I forgot I’m not six years old and ran, as instructed by the girls who offered help at the park. Of course, as I probably did when I was six — spending my whole life as I did being physically clumsy –I fell down. No damage done, and I especially appreciated the reaction of the girls who simply offered help in getting up and assumed I would continue (as I did). No tut-tutting, “Are you alright.” Believe me, once one reaches my age, being hovered over like you’re fragile is not appreciated.

The fact is, no one — except for Doug — got a kite in the air. That orange flying object above the man’s head is Doug’s kite.

Doug's kite - Version 2


But there’s more to the story in Labour square. While I was assisted by girls who just happened to be in the park, there were also  young people who had shown up specifically to help us, hoping to practice their English — American English. They were students planning to become teachers. We met many such young people in China, eager to practice their linguistic skill with us. We also learned that children, when they start school, are given American names. The name of the young man in the next photo, conversing with Doug, is Kevin.

Doug talking with Kevin

Notice the man to the right, recording the entire encounter. No, he wasn’t a government spy. He was doing what people all through China seemed anxious to do — photographing Americans. Unfortunately our tour guides hadn’t told us that to have a conversation was the hope of the young folks who met us to help at the park, so we didn’t chat as much as we would have had we known.

Before I left the park, I gave my kite to the helper girls. It was indeed beautiful, but there wan’t much likelihood I’d use it, or display it, at home.

Speaking of conversing leads me to the next, and last, stop, for our day in Dalian. A totally delightful visit to the apartment of a retired couple. The entrance hall to their place was dark enough that I strained to see my way to the steps. Once in their place at the top of the stairs, we were escorted to their everything room. Six of us from the tour, plus Victoria – our student translator – met with an eager and happy-to-see-us Mr. and Mrs. Wong. Three mats were set on the bed and four chairs were arranged around the small table almost within touching distance of the bed. These were for us tourist guests. Mr. and Mrs. Wong then pulled up folding stools.

On the table was a plate of delicious small tomatoes and oranges that I would call Clementines. Although we had passed an outdoor food market on the way to their home, we were told that our treats had been purchased at a nearby super market.

I also discovered that the Wong’s were like my mother-in-law. With Mama, if you admired something, she insisted you must have it. (I learned early on not to admire things too often — unless it was food, of course.) At any rate, when I raised the question whether the food had been purchased at the nearby farmer’s market, everything was passed for a second time, with the insistence that we must take more than one.

But, back to our initial reception. The first question was, as you might expect, “Where are you from?” The couple from Canada were greeted warmly, as were the two from the Philippines, but when Mr. Wong heard Doug and I were from America, he leapt to his feet and took off his hat to show us it was from the states. He was clearly excited to meet us, as had been so many other folks we encountered in China.

With Victoria’s help we had a conversation of some 20 to 30 minutes. We learned that Mr. Wong had worked for the railroad, retiring at (uh-uh, I think it was 60) as required by law. Mrs. Wong had worked as a nurse at the RR station, retiring, as mandated, at 55. They had also raised a family there.

Upon leaving, we did, of course, take photos with our hosts. Mrs. Wong reminded me of my mother-in-law when she lovingly and enthusiastically caressed my face — and Doug’s — in saying an affectionate goodbye. All in all, it was a highlight of my trip.

Having paid that visit, I noted a bit of social psychology in action. I realized the reason for the communal activity in the parks. There one could engage in physical and group activity not even possible within the confines of a small apartment. The very size of the home directed folks to a life of community.

There is one very sad note, though. If anyone out there can help me, I’d be deeply grateful. I intended to send them a thank you note, including a copy of the photo. To that end, Victoria gave us a template of their address. The sad thing is, we somehow lost the template, so I haven’t been able to let them know how much I appreciated the visit. As a matter of fact, I even called the excursion folks at the Holland America Line to see if they could help. Declaring that this was a first ever request, the woman I spoke to didn’t offer much hope, but did say she would try. Sadly I have heard nothing from her.


Mr: & Mrs: Wong


Mr. Wong, Mona, Mrs. Wong, and (my son) Doug

Mr. & Mrs. Wong & Victoria

Mr. Wong (and his American cap), Victoria, and Mrs. Wong

The journey is almost over. Nagasaki is coming up. (Remember, you can increase the size of every photo by clicking on it.)

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