Sunday, October 16, 2005


The cruise ship was supposed to arrive at 9 AM. Okay, I cut it a little close, but I figured arriving down at Pier 1 by 8:30 would be fine. We just needed about 5 minutes to unload the car to get it back outside the security gates before the ship arrived. It's all about Homeland Security, etc., that no cars be on the dock when the ship arrives. I'm not terribly sure just who this is supposed to protect ... us from the cruisers, or them from us, but that's just the way it is.

Arriving at 8:30 sounded very good in theory, but as we hit the intersection of Bond St. & Marine Drive at just about 8:35 AM, there was the cruise ship, just about to dock. I am not prone to panic attacks, but I was on the verge of one, anyway. After all, I had paid my hard-earned $35 to vend on the pier, and had a car full of tent, photos, tables, chairs, etc., and I really didn't want to think I had been dumb enough to be late for an early arrival.

All was well, however, as the ship had not yet docked by the time we hit the gate to the pier, and we did unload in about three minutes flat, so at least that crisis was resolved. However, things did not brighten from there.

My significant other had to take the car to pick up someone, so there I was on the pier with all the tent-stuff, and a stiff breeze immediately blew up. I would swear it was waiting for me if I didn't know better. I actually got the tent semi-assembled when a gust blew by and blew the whole top of the tent off. Not a good omen.

Fortunately, my fellow sturdy marketeers came to my rescue. We had to start from scratch, and between the four of us, we got the tent up, top intact. Bungee cords and clamps were brought forth in profusion, and as much stability as can be established in a gusty wind was established.

Then the rains came.

When the tourists finally poured off the ship, they were greeted by some rather unpleasant weather, but cheerful marketeers. It is difficult to be cheerful when you are wet and cold and windblown, but I think Oscars should go to all of the vendors. And special mention should go to the SweaterHead Hat lady, who pulled me through the day with a wonderful hat.

Not a successful sales day, by any means, but it makes me wonder ... if the Port of Astoria wants us to vend down on Pier 1 and welcome the cruise ships, perhaps they should do something to welcome the vendors! We need wind-breaks of some kind. Our tents, while festive looking, are only aluminum and canvas, which is no match for a 45 mph gust of wind. We have cement blocks and buckets to tie down to, but the frames of the tents get torqued in the wind. Especially those of us (like me!) who are at the end of the line on the west side!

At the end of the day, fortunately, a huge bowl of won-ton soup and a few beers at the Golden Star defrosted me. I was even able to move my fingers again after about fifteen minutes.

My cocker spaniel is snoring at my feet as I write, and I think he's setting a good example. I think I'll bundle up under some quilts and do some serious snoring myself.

Astoria Photografpix

No comments: