alaska, bagpipers, bar, booze, crab, dog sled, fine cheese, fish, fishing, food, friends, geography, good odds, Grundens, Guinness, hand map, kilt, Larkspur Cafe, map, moose skinning, ocean, odd goods, pelt trapping, photography, pub, rain gear, seasonal affective disorder, sitka, Stella Artois, tattoo, tequila, totes, tropics, veggie burrito, warrior, wine, winter, writing
People ask me many of the same questions about living in Alaska. They’re difficult to answer without prefacing: “Well Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, so there are a lot of regional variations.” (See size domination in photo below).
They ask me: a)Is it light all the time? b)Is it dark all the time?
Like the sun on a winter horizon, I think someone has dropped the ball in the educational geography department. I explain that because of Earth’s axis and tilt it is very light in the summer (about 18 hours of daylight) and very dark in the winter (under 7 hours of light). I then make an Alaska hand map:
I live about 3/4 of the way up my thumb.
…and show that Sitka and Anchorage and Barrow are in very different locations, climates and landscapes. This spurs the question about snow cover and freezing weather. Because Sitka is on the open ocean, it snows less, and the temperatures are moderate.
The next frequently-asked question is harder to explain. What the hell do you do there in the winter?
Combing through photos from the past week, I have prepared the following photo lecture to illustrate:
We weigh live crab as a pastime, so when we talk to people who don’t live on the ocean, we can exact the properly-measured amount of jealousy.
We eat fresh Alaska Bush Lice. This one’s too crunchy.
We drink decent wine and eat fine cheese.
We tally the male to female ratio but remember the Alaska proverb: “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.”
We tattoo our skin with fish, so we don’t feel separation anxiety in the off-season.
We cope with our Seasonal Affective Disorder in unique ways.
We wear full-body protective rain gear (sometimes only because we’re afraid of our hoopty’s leaky “sun”roof.
We eat mind-blowing burritos at the Larkspur Cafe.
(Ok – so this one wasn’t in the past week because they were closed. But they reopen Friday 2/26!)
We drink tequila and dream of the tropics.
We drink Guinness and listen to men in kilts play bagpipe music. Wait…what?
As you can see, in addition to our pelt trapping, moose skinning and dog sled racing, we keep our schedules full. I hope you enjoyed the presentation, and stay tuned for next week’s lesson: “Stop Asking Me About Sarah Fucking Palin.”