Thursday, May 31, 2012

Coming of Age in Alaska

So after a long, drawn-out, 18-month stint of unemployment¹, I am employed again. And not just anywhere, but on a cruise ship in Alaska's Inland Passage, on a ship that starts and ends its cruises in Vancouver. I leave first thing tomorrow for Juneau. My contract is for 8 months. Barring any total surprises, I'll be there until the end of the tourist season in September, then I'll be sent somewhere else.

Since I expect to be really busy, I don't think I'll have time to keep a real blog, so I'll be publishing to a Twitter feed instead. You can follow (or just occasionally glance at) me at If you're not familiar with Twitter, all you really need to do is just click that link once in a while to see what I've been writing.

As for this blog, I still hope to finish it some day when I'm not having all my time eaten up by a big job like this one or that panicked any-time-not-spent-job-searching-is-totally-wasted feeling. There's only about six entries left, some of which are especially good.

But anyhow, who knows what kind of wacky adventures, big surprises, and such things I'll have?

Let's close for now with a relevant-enough image that I swiped from Google Image Search that happens to look a lot like Blogger's "Insert Image" icon:

¹Not accounting for 2.5 months at the summer camp, freelance gigs, or a few temp jobs.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grand Samoan Adventure Grand Finale Part 5: Past the End

I awoke the next day after an incredibly good night's sleep to see that The Last Morning had come to Falealupo. I had breakfast with a very nice German couple that had been staying in the fale next to mine. They had spent the last several months working in a factory in Australia and were now exploring the South Pacific at the kind of super-slow pace that I would have loved to have gone by. They deserved it. They were spending quite a few days in Savai'i, and were going to get to do everything.

Spending the night there had been a deal- 60 Tala, or about 26 US Dollars, for the night, plus dinner and breakfast. Thing was, they only took cash, which was fine, because I had made a point of getting extra Tala the day before. Thing was, I only had a $T100 bill, which was fine, because they had change. Thing was, the change they had was only in small bills, so after the payment for the night and a few basic supplies,¹ I got around $25T back in $1T coins. I was blingin' for the rest of the day.

Anyhow, the taxi driver came and we were off on another day of exploring!

There was a lot of driving through beautiful Savai'i, a bit of wondering if I should have seen the very Western tip of the island, which is now all made weirder by the fact that its no longer the End of the World, but as it turned out, its probably better that I didn't go. More on that later. But for now I was heading onto the second half of that giant loop of road surrounding the island.

First up was the Pe'ape'a Cave. Pe'ape'a (pronounced "Pay-uh-pay-uh") are small bat-like birds that live in caves, also like bats. But they're not bird-like bats, they're bat-like birds.

Anyhow, the pe'ape'a live in an underground lava tube cavern. Like you might expect a cave in a tropical rainforest to be, the place was incredibly damp. The guide, who happened to share a name with my sister, led me down into the Earth.

Inside were a few lights, and a few pe'ape'a. They made clicking sounds in the darkness.

Pe'ape'a make nests, which look an awful lot like this:

"Where are your friends?" she asked.

I didn't quite understand. " American Samoa? And I have plenty on the mainland, too." She still didn't quite get it. A little more working with her limited English skills revealed that she was asking why I was traveling alone. The reason had been because this trip had been a last-minute spur of the moment kind of thing, and everyone else had to work, of course. But I guess Samoans don't travel alone much. I felt kinda lame.

Anyway, it was a pretty small cave, so we made our way out. And when we got back to the surface, I was told that I had to pay extra, because I had taken pictures (?). No matter. Just a way for me to dump more of those $1T coins.

The next stop was some fun at Raci's Beach Club, a resort that has things like snorkeling and sea kayaking. And they turned out to be closed, because it was Monday. Yeah. See, they wanted to take advantage of everyone else being closed on Sundays, so they were closed on Mondays instead of Sunday. Yep. Onward!

So I stopped at Jane's Beach Fales, a nice little resort of fales. The taxi driver had another group of tourists to pick up, but would be back. I had lunch at the restaurant/bar there and then relaxed on the beach. And it was good.

A great view of the water. And a bunch of pole-things that I don't quite see the purpose of.

After more maxing and  relaxing, the taxi driver (whose name  I really wish I could remember) pulled into the nearby parking lot. I brushed the sand off of myself and went on to the next part of my Adventure.

¹Samoa is a "Don't drink the water" kind of country, so I had to get at least a whole day's worth of bottled water. There's even a restaurant in AmSam that bears that name. "Don't Drink the Water," not "Bottled Water."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thoughts on Turning 26 1/2

Today I turned 26 1/2 years old. I swear that someday
Someday I'll get outta this basement and travel to a magical, far away place
Where the sun is always shining and the air smells like warm root beer
And the towels are oh so fluffy!
Where the shriners and the lepers play their ukuleles all day long
And anyone on the street will glady shave your back for a nickel!


Real post coming soonish. No, I don't know where I'm going next, if it will be that magical or faraway, but I can say that I'm currently being considered by one potential employer that would fit the bill.