So little time…

Sep 8, 2011 | 3 comments

Playing Tourist

       The four of us met the Oceania cruise ship at 10:30 yesterday morning and waited.  And waited.  We had arrived at the Port in Astoria in time to see the very first passengers disembark and we were glad about that.  Within the past twenty-four hours we had been told the ship’s arrival would be at noon, at 8:00 a.m. and, finally, at 10:30.  It’s hard to tell with ships.
     We were meeting my high school friend Neil MacPhail and his traveling companion Halina.  They were on the return voyage to San Francisco after twelve days in various British Columbian and Alaskan ports.  With us were Neil’s cousin Malcolm and wife Ardell who spell their name without the ‘a’ in Mac.  (Apparently there is much discussion among Mac/McPhails about which is correct.)
     By 11:15 we were on our way to Fort Clatsop, the only “request” Neil had made when we talked last spring.  It was a whirlwind tour but we did catch one of the movies – new to us and from the Clatsop point of view.  The re-enactors who played Lewis and Clark:  too old, too fat, too clumsy and downright embarrassing.  Oh well.
     On to the Astor Column.  The day was absolute perfection and the view was magical.  I think this was the best part of our tourist day.  We did all our viewing from the parking lot overlooks.  We didn’t go to the top of the column – too old, too fat, too clumsy!
     And then on to T. Paul’s Supper Club for a late lunch.  I think the food was fine.  We were all too busy visiting to really notice.  Malcolm had brought the McPhail Book – the genealogy of the clan from the time they came from the Isle of Mull to Prince Edward Island in the 1806.  In 2006, 500 Mc/MacPhails gathered on PEI to celebrate the 200th anniversary of their ancestors’ arrival in North America.   Now that’s a Family Reunion!!  It was at that gathering that Neil and Malcolm (who are fourth cousins) and families met up for the first time – though I, as a mutual connection, had been carrying “greetings” between them for a good many years.
     Our final tourist delight (NOT!) was riding the trolley.  We “locals” had ridden it numbers of times with a variety of mostly good experiences.  We thought that the information about Astoria’s history and development along the waterfront would be interesting to Neil and Halina.
     Unfortunately, the trolley guide was into trolley restoration, not Astoria history, so the standing-room-only crowd heard all about where the trolley came from, how long the restoration took, how much it weighed, who worked on it etc. etc. etc.  (Like most of the passengers had come off the cruise ship to learn all about trolleys?)  Disappointing to the max.
     We returned to the port in plenty of time for Halina to make a purchase at one of the vendor’s tents.  There were handshakes and hugs all around and then they were on their way through the security gates and lost in the returning crowd.  It was a great day but Ardell and I were in agreement – next time we’d tweak it just a little… 


  1. Ann

    Is there ever a day when you are at home doing nothing? I hope so, but I doubt it!

    • sydney

      Home, yes! Doing nothing? Never! And why would I want to? There are too many great things to do, to find out about, to write about! And, as one of my friends often says “You’ll rest a long time when your’re dead.”

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Whew, I’m tuckered just reading about all that you did! Sorry about the Trolley. It was crowded when Dave and I went, but the conductors were very informative and we learned a lot about Astoria history. I am sure they were just pleased to have hung out with you all and the weather cooperated!


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