Sunday, 4 July 2010

I'm Back!

MP3 track off the day: Open your eyes - Snow Patrol

Weather: Very cloudy and raining

Okay so it's been two weeks since my last real blog; I'm slowly writing up my two weeks with Trekk America and I will post the whole lot up in one big go (currently only done day 1 so it could be a while). The only thing I need to say is that I've had an amazing time and, to add to my previous post, that I've seen Hump-back whales, sea otters and heard a glacier crack and seen parts of it fall into the water ... still more detail will be available soon.

Waking up today I felt better than the previous night (really gutted to say goodbye to the group of friends I had made) and got ready for my trip to Juneau. Today is the 4th July ... Independence Day and a Sunday, therefore I wasn't really looking forward to the 'no bus service' and horrendous taxi costs I was about to incur (if I had thought about it, I would have stayed in Anchorage for another two days and then travelled ... doh!). Still a stroke a luck occurred, when the previous evening at the Anchorage hostel, the owner said that he would give me a lift to the airport for $15.00 (£10.80) and so I took him up on his offer as a taxi would be $25.00 easily.

Arriving at the airport early I stopped in McDonalds for a pancake breakfast before getting on my plane. The journey was pretty uneventful and only lasted about an hour and a half.

Once I arrived at Juneau I could see why they say that Juneau is one of the prettiest state capitals within the USA. The airport was small and a little run down, but there were huge mountains located around the airport and, even though the weather was cloudy and raining, it still looked beautiful. Once out of the airport I had been told that, due to it being Independence Day, there may not be any bus services going from the airport ... However I decided to give it a whirl and I walked 20 minutes away from the airport to the closest bus stop (my plane arrived in Juneau at 2pm and my hostel didn't open until 5pm ... so loads of time to kill).

You won't believe this but Juneau has no bus service, on weekends, to the airport which is 14 miles away. It also has no bus service to the ferry terminal (the closest stop is 1 1/2 miles away) which is 40 miles away ... and these are the only two ways into the capital, how stupid is this?

I got to the local bus stop and met someone else awaiting for a bus ... maybe the buses were running after all. We had a long chat and I found out that she was a air hostess and that she was trying to visit every state capital within the USA (she had already done 23 capitals including Hawaii). She was really nice and we talked and talked until we realised that no bus was going to come to pick us up. Strangely it turned out we were both staying at the same hostel and so we decided to share a taxi (bonus ... instead of costing $26.00, it was $13.00!).

We arrived at the hostel with 40 minutes to spare; as we had our luggage with us we decided just to wait in the covered way outside the hostel. The hostel is lovely; it's owned by a woman and it seems to be apart of her house ... it only costs $10.00 a day which makes it really cheap and helps with the taxi costs. The downside is that you have to do a chore (which only takes 5 minutes so it's not that bad ... especially after cooking, washing-up and van cleaning from the Trekk America tour) and there is a curfew; you have to be out at 9am and cannot return until 5pm. Also you must be in by 11pm.

I unloaded my stuff and went into town to find something to eat; it being Independence Day the first few restaurants were shut ... infact everything was shut except the McDonalds, a beer store and hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of jewelry stores (all located for the tourists which visit via the cruise ships). I found it ironic that I could get drunk, buy hundreds of diamond's and have a BigMac but could not have anything decent to eat. I walked the entire length of the main street and turned around ready to head to McDonalds for tea (great) however, on my way back, I saw a Chinese restaurant and I went in there. I had a massive meal all for $18.00 which I thought was really good (might pop back tomorrow as they do lunch specials).

After this I headed back to the hostel; I might pop out later to see if there are any Independence Day celebrations but I doubt it (it's getting late). Tomorrow the plan is to walk around the city a for a while and just take a few photos.

So today didn't turn out to badly on the old wallet; $28.00 dollars on taxis, $10.00 on accommodation, $23.00 on food equals $61.00 (we shall forget about the $210.00 plane journey for now). I've booked my ferry to Prince Rupert ($141.00) and then there will be another Ferry to book to Vancouver Island ($170.00) ... budget is looking really bad at the moment (need to start camping again!).

Finally; as it's Independence Day here is a link to the greatest speech of all film history ... enjoy!

Toodle Pip

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