Thursday, July 11, 2013

God Bless (the libraries and parks and water fountains in) America

Since we have been back in the states (one month!) I have re-learned to re-appreciate the things that make life in America so grand. As I sit here in the library, hogging free wi-fi, thinking back on Desi's epic 3-point barrage on the court at the park on Tuesday, I count my blessings as a 'Mercan.

Then I get up for a drink at the fountain. Clean water, served ice cold. People, this is huge! (Of course, in Portland, it has no fluoride in it, thanks to the crazy hippies. But that's OK because democracy is, um, pretty good too.) Coming from China, where water and air and food

Anyway, enough politics. You all already know that this place rules. Now, on to the specific parts of it that ruled in the last couple weeks.

IN ALASKA:

We hit Juneau for less than one day. Flew there in a plane that was half-cargo. First row for humans was row 17. Kinda neat.

The main attraction for us was Mendenhall Glacier. Which sits in the largest national forest in the US: Tongass.





The water you see Emmett testing here used to be glacier. Thirty years ago, it would have been almost close enough for him to touch. (or was it 50 years? anyway, not that many). Before too long, the glacier (which is miles long) will be invisible from the visitors' center.



We walked and took the public bus, which was fine until it started raining. Which prompted us to go into the bus shelter, which smelled strongly of pee. I was jumping around to dodge mosquitoes, and in and out of the shelter to balance staying sorta dry while breathing non-pee-reeking air, and I thought: Mother Nature bats last. Nevermind the melting glacier I had just seen, which is as good a demonstration as any of how ocean levels will keep rising and drown us all!!! (Not that humans are, ahem, responsible for global warming, mind you. I promised No More Politics).

Nature could very well kick my ass in the next year. Which is why we went to the army surplus store today and tried on... 


a sweet flight suit... 


...and head to toe camo. Neither of which we actually bought. 

("Playing dress up in a store and then putting the clothes back 
on the rack is more fun than summer camp!" 
--Gary Pearlz)


RANDOM STORY OVER NOW


Anyway, Juneau was cool, and super small. Nice people, too. And that makes 2 state capitols we have visited so far, after Ho-HI.

From Juneau we boarded a ferry and had a great time floating down to Washington.

Here we are about to board. (Stefan and Jen--Note the duffel bag that saved our marriage. Thanks again!)



The views were gorgeous. 


We had lots of time to play. We did our new puzzle.


Saw a few other boats.


Helped out with the safety demo.


Gazed wistfully at the many islands in the Alaskan inside passage.


Did the puzzle again.


After we got off the boat, 3 nights later, we drove to Portland. Some of us tried to fight off the nap.


But sleep won out in the end.


Coming soon: Tales from the beach trip! Love you all.