Alaska, An Excellent Choice ~ Day 5, Hubbard Glacier

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August 27th 2015
Published: October 19th 2015
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Photos from the Hubbard Glacier

Well, since this blog is primarily about the photos, this entry will surely be a short one. There were only a total of 25 exposures that were deemed worthy of entering the digital darkroom, and only 18 of those were forced into the gallery. You can imagine that the criteria of acceptance were drastically relaxed, and the results were again a day without wall-hangers.

We woke early enough for a fine breakfast, then lazed around the ship and socialized. By early afternoon we were testing the quality of each bartender’s version of a caipirhina. Surprisingly they were all made properly with all the right ingredients, and we felt much more at home after the tests.

Finally in the late afternoon we arrived at the day’s destination, the Hubbard Glacier. I was able to use the better 16-35mm lens for a few shots, but the wide angle was fairly useless against the distance the ship kept from the shore. Even if the longer 24-105mm lens would have been working, the hazy light wouldn’t have brought us any closer to cool glacier shots.

Maybe for this trip’s blog I should have ignored the photos and just talked about
the fun we had with my brother, the general and their wives. This night’s dinner was when we met our favorite server, Johnny, a young grandfather of 5 from the Philippines. What a magnetic personality. The ship’s dining arrangements had 3 categories: a 5:30 seating, a 7:30 seating and anytime dining, or something like that. We had the anytime anywhere category. We decided to try a different restaurant this evening, and eventually found the Maitre D, Greg From Hungary, whom we would now see for each evenings meal. He ushered us to a table for 6 out of the way yet near the entrance. Then along came John. He had our table, another larger round table, and a table for two. Often the other tables remained empty and we had Johnny all to ourselves.

When we first entered the dining room, Maitre D Greg hesitated because we admitted we did not have a reserved table. Being anytime-anywhere people we figured it shouldn’t matter. As he stammered while looking down at a seating chart, another fellow who immediately gave everyone the sense that he was in charge, domineeringly said to Greg, “What are you doing?” Greg muttered something, but soon
the condescending take-charge guy had him directing us to our seats.

Phil later went shoulder to shoulder with the black-coat guy, as we came to call him, in the men’s room. When he returned to the table, one of the things Phil said was, “We’re in. He’s the head guy overseeing the food and beverage of the entire ship. He’ll take care of us.” Well, we never saw the guy again on the whole trip, but we were more than adequately cared for nevertheless.

Johnny would work in this area that he called Johnny’s Cafe from morning till night every day and would never fail to be most pleasant to not only us and any other customers he seemed privileged to serve, but he was always gracious and understanding regarding his helpers. He lived by the Golden Rule, and his karma dictated that we should fall in love with his charisma or simply miss the best things in life. Johnny is the guy who gave us the title for this blog –at least the last part. At each meal we had the privilege of taking in Johnny’s Cafe, he would circle each of us as we read from
or pointed to the menu, and after each selection he would either say “Excellent choice” or “Healthy choice.” Since most of us got sick toward the end or after the voyage, only the first choice could fit. Excellent choice.

Greg from Hungary later explained to us his earlier confusion. Although there are anytime diners like us, the specified diners had reserved tables and he was searching for an open table for six. We asked if our table was open for both timed sittings, and told him we’d take both when he told us it was. Johnny overheard, and said, “Excellent choice.”

It was. Not only did we have the smiling face of Greg from Hungary, and the pleasure and amusement of Johnny and his crew for every meal, but we had some great table-side magic and card tricks every evening by another fellow from Poland. Joe was particularly interested in the card tricks. He was teaching Phil a few of his own for when Phil next saw his grandchildren.

Well, we saw the light, made our choice and saw that it was good. The morning and evening was the 5th day. So we saw a show or

…and yes, in spite of the layers of clothing most of us felt were necessary just to peek out our balconys, there was usually someone in one of the these top-deck pools
two and went to sleep with much hope for the morrow.


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