Juneau has a lot of flavors. And we like most of them. It hs something of the feel of San Francisco in the 1950s in its construction and proximity to the sea. It has book stores and coffee houses. It is the state capital which also means it has appropriate federal government offices. This is probably the core of the employment. Next there is the cruise ‘industry’. Today was a slow day--only three large cruise ships so the town didn’t feel so overrun. On a busy day 10,000 to 12,000 passengers arrive and the old town can’t absorb the surge. Then there are the tourists who come in by air or the ferry. There is a active small boat harbor.
We visit all the book stores looking for a locally written book. Susan spends more time in the knitting shop than I do reading and playing on the internet at the Juneau Library which I thought was impossible. The library is conveniently located on the 5th floor of the multistory car park in the middle of old town.
We were blessed yesterday with the first sunny day Juneau has had in weeks, we got to the glacier and went for a hike. The Park Service does a remarkable job of taking the hordes of passengers from the ships and transferred to busses for the ‘glacier experience’. But just literally hundreds of feet away off on the trail is a very primitive world. We see bear scat on the trail. Part of the trail is a series of wood plank boardwalks, platforms and suspended sections to be able to get through the rain forrest. Later after our hike we actually see a black bear fishing for salmon in the creek. The ranger knows them all, he says this one is two years old and not very good at fishing. Just keep the appropriate distance and there is no problem.
Later that evening when the cruise crowds are back on their ships they leave the town to us, its pretty dead so we head into the Red Dog Saloon for the ‘tourist’ experience and it is really a hoot. There is a piano player with his own schtick, saw dust on the floor and mounted animals all over the wood walls.
One of the nice things about having our own car is that we get to explore on our own all around town and out of town. We drive up and down the back streets of Juneau, hills like San Francisco. We drive out of town, not all that far to the end of the road. We drive over the bridge to Douglas island and see what the community feels like. We visit the local mall, not impressive by southern California standards. While it has a full range of services like a Gottchalks department store and a Sears store, the Sears store actually has a sign that it is for sale. And things just cost more up here: the 99 cent stores are $1.49 stores. Even within the town, in the local parks there are fresh running streams of glacier cold water.

No comments: