Ketchikan, Alaska...People we meet...Ketchikan photos tomorrow...Land of the midnight sun...

Tom took all of these sunset photos last night at 9:30 pm as we made our way to Ketchikan, Alaska.
Each time we arrive in a new port of call, we deliberate over getting off the ship early and deal with the long lines and considerable waiting time to get ashore or hold back for awhile after the crowds thin.

With our motto of "Wafting Through Our WorldWide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity, waiting always seems to make more sense.  In most cases we complete and upload the day's post before we disembark the ship, posting the photos the following day.

On some other occasions, we may wait to post until later in the day after the visit to the port of call, including the new photos later in the day.  Over the next several days, we've decided to hold back until around 10:00 am while attempting to upload a post before we go.  That doesn't always work when many days it takes into the afternoon to complete the day's post.
Tom took all of these sunset photos from Deck 5.
There are five massive cruise ships in the port right now and Ketchikan will be mobbed with thousands of passengers doing the "shop until you drop" thing we try to avoid when visiting ports.

Even in these short years of sailing, now on our 19th cruise, we've noticed an evolution from quaint ports of call to massive, hopping shopping areas.  Many passengers bring along an empty suitcase to accommodate their purchases.  That's just not us.

Many passengers choose specific ports of call for the shopping more than any other reason.  I suppose, in our old lives, I, too, may have been enticed to shop.  But I no longer feel the desire or motivation to spend hours perusing shops for trinkets and pricey gems. Of course, Tom totally concurs. 
From the web: "Nearly one-third of Alaska lies above the Arctic Circle, but Alaskans are fairly informal about claiming they live with the midnight sun. All parts of the state enjoy long daylight hours in summer, even Ketchikan, the state's southernmost population center, where there are more than 17 hours of daylight on June days."
Nor do we enjoy fighting the crowds everywhere we may go as we walk through a port we've never visited in the past.  Our goal is simple...see the quaint features beyond the shopping and take as many interesting photos as possible.

Regardless, we still love cruising, mainly for the easy days and nights and the social interaction.  We both must admit, we're missing the outrageously friendly and fun Aussies and Kiwis who sure know how to have a good time and include us into their playful world.

There are few Aussies and Kiwis on this ship, although we've yet to get a count of the actual numbers.  So far, we've heard only a few Aussie accents, one this morning at Cafe al Bacio and another at breakfast yesterday. 
The waning sun creates an impressive beam of light of the sea.
No doubt, we were spoiled after almost two years in the South Pacific.  Never once, did we enter an elevator or sit at a shared dining table when the conversation wasn't lively, inclusive and filled with uproarious laughter.  We kind of miss that now.

Thus far, we've dined at a few dining tables in the past few days that have been very enjoyable but not quite the same as on the past seven cruises starting or ending in Sydney, Australia.

I don't mean to stereotype people from certain countries.  But, as we've traveled and lived in many countries, it's easy to spot cultural behavior as to a degree of openness, friendliness, and ability to laugh and cajole. 
The sun begins to fade away behind this bank of ominous looking clouds.
After spending long periods in many countries, this becomes clear during our first few weeks as temporary residents.  In some countries, we're able to immediately develop close relationships, many which become lifelong friends.

It's no coincidence we're excited to get back to South Africa, not only for the wildlife but also for the many friends we made during our three-month stay, more than in any other country thus far, all of whom we've stayed in touch via Facebook and email.

The quality of this nomadic lifestyle is definitely enhanced by building friendships. We're so grateful and humbled for the friends we made along the way, looking forward to more in the future.

Happy day!
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Photo from one year ago today. May 19, 2016:
Huge statue located in Negara, Bali near the main highway.  For more details, please click here.

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