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Showing posts from October, 2009

Monterey and Catalina

We started our Monterey stop with a walk through Cannery Row, immortalized in the John Steinbeck classic (you guessed it) “Cannery Row.” Which I read once and thought was about canaries. No, no, while it’s true that I did read it, I actually don’t remember anything about it. I told Sarah’s parents, “I think it was about fish and sadness.” Which gave Sarah’s dad a chance to tell us an old Woody Allen gag: “I took a speed reading class and read War and Peace in forty-five minutes. It was about Russia.” All the old canneries have since been changed to shops and restaurants, but many of the facades have been maintained, and it made for a nice walk as we made our way to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

We expected that Teddy wouldn’t be too jazzed by canneries or banners emblazoned with Steinbeck quotes, but we were pretty sure we could catch his attention with giant fish. And we were right. When Teddy gets excited, he gets shouty, and let me tell you that Teddy shouted at a whole lot of fish tha…

San Francisco

Let me start by admitting my big San Francisco fail: I didn’t have Rice-a-roni once in the two days I was there. Otherwise, it was a marvelous stop. I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my favourite things about cruising is opening the stateroom window first thing in the morning and seeing a brand new city outside. Well, this morning I’d slept pretty terribly and I was more invested in getting Teddy fed and changed, so I took a very token look outside. Right in front of us were three rooftops (part of the pier, I guess), that had all been just hosed with bird shit. Beautiful, I though. It wasn’t until Sarah took a peek out and said, “What a view!” that I finally looked beyond those rooftops, and there was the Golden Gate Bridge just beyond, and Alcatraz to our right, and the San Francisco skyline to our left. It was the best view of our trip.

Our first stop was a short walk down the way from our ship, to Pier 39. It’s an area that has become a hang out for a huge number of seals and se…

Seattle and Astoria

It’s funny how you can see remarkably little of a city and still—within that short time—decide that you love it. But that’s what cruising is all about after all: getting a small taste of a five to ten cities all at once, deciding which ones you have to come back to (Sydney and St. Petersburg) and crossing some others off your list for life (Pisa, Auckland… pretty much all of the Scandinavian countries). Seattle is one of those places we will come back to, for more than just the length a cruise stop-over. I can’t easily say why I liked it so much. It’s not a single trait of the city, there isn’t one experience I can pinpoint—I just really enjoyed the time we spent there. The shops, the vendors, even just the lay of the city (what little I saw of it); it was all excellent.

We left the pier and navigated our way to Pike Place Market. It’s a multi-level, part indoor part outdoor series of shops, with tons of flowers, fruit, and other foodstuffs for sale. The vendors there actively hawk the…

Nanaimo and Victoria

Here are a couple of reasons why Dr. Aunt Beth is awesome: she blocked off a whole ton of time to hang out with us while we were in town, she’s hilarious and great fun one hundred percent of the time, she’ll zoom you around in her futuristic cyborg car, and – if you’re lucky – she’ll recap the events of your stay. (Thanks, Beth!)

So let’s jump ahead to the single worst port I’ve ever been to: Nanaimo. This is not to say that Nanaimo is the worst place in the world, or even a bad place at all, it’s was just the most underwhelming stop on any cruise I’ve done. (Both Sarah and her Dad place Ketchikan at the bottom, but I missed the Alaska cruise.) Nanaimo has a decent waterfront, but otherwise it’s just a city full of condos. Which makes it a hard place to photograph. I’m instinctively drawn to shoot the largest buildings on a city’s skyline, so that’s what I did. And every time after the shutter went click, I realized I’d just photographed another goddamn condo.

It was alternately cold an…

The next in a series of posts about Sarah on her birthday

-- Last year’s entry --

I didn’t mention this last time, but Sarah is so very beautiful. I probably left that out before because it’s just so obvious. A few years ago, a very close friend of mine said to me, “Man, you’re really lucky. Sarah’s got it all.” I didn’t say as much at the time, but I remember taking that the wrong way—as if this friend was telling me in a fairly gross way how hot my girlfriend was. But reflecting on it even the next day, I understood what he was saying: she’s got everything. She’s smart, hot, fun, funny, sweet, loving—and while you can get most of those things in a girl, it’s so rare to have all of them.

Another trait that didn’t make the list last year: she’s excellent with money. That one’s not nearly as sexy-sounding as the first, but trust me: it’s a fantastic skill to have in a partner if it’s something you suck at yourself. This girl can sock away money like mad – but not in a scroogy, you-can’t-have-any-toys, no-fun kind of way. There’s nothing I’ve re…