Wrapup

Trip home was uneventful. A little puddle-jumper airplane from Vancouver to Sea-Tac, then Alaska Airlines home. One nice administrative detail was that we went through US customs in Vancouver. The lines moved pretty quickly. Much faster than some others I’ve been in.

Of course if it wasn’t for that stupid law that requires non-US registered ships to stop at a foreign port at least once, we wouldn’t have gone to Vancouver, or through customs, at all. Could have gone to Seattle instead. That law was designed "to protect the US maritime industry" which there isn’t one of any more.

So how was the trip, overall? OK, but not fabulous. We learned that we won’t travel with such a large group again. Of the various tour company trips we’ve been on, this was by far the largest group. Took three busses to hold us all, and the largest we’d been on before didn’t quite fill one bus.

So how was Alaska? Big, nice scenery, but we don’t particularly want to go back. I’d much rather go visit things people have made rather than things nature has made. I appreciate seeing what deliberate human effort has done much more than what nature has done accidentally.

I’ve also found that I’m no great fan of "native cultures." There’s evidence that the Athabaskan and other tribes have been here maybe 7-8000 years. One of the speakers we heard said that the archeologists had recently discovered a 5000 year old woven basket that looked exactly like the ones being woven today. Her tone of voice implied "Isn’t that wonderful!" I thought to myself, no, that’s not wonderful. That’s terrible. After 5000 years, you are still doing things the same way? Other cultures in the world have made a lot of progress in 5000 years. Gone from figuring out writing in 3000 BC to the way things are today.

The Alaskan tribes did invent some things. They had big wooden fishhooks to catch 300 lb. halibut. They knew how to weave fibers into a mat (but not how to make a fishnet.) They had boats, but no sails. They had fire, but no metal, even though there was copper around. Seems like they had technology sufficient for them to just barely survive. Once they got to that point, everything stagnated. Didn’t anybody ever wonder that maybe there might be a better way to catch fish, or trap animals? Sure the climate is harsh. So go somewhere else. I guess my mindset is too 21st century to be able to understand these people.

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