Thursday, August 11, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Alaska has the most beautiful wild flowers, plants and trees. I assume because they get so much sunlight. I've been told that in another month or so the flowers and vegetables (if anyone is growing any) will be GIANT! For now, here is the purple flowers that line the road to and from work.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Alaska is the polar bears and the penguins. I was so excited to see them as soon as I got here. Of course I thought they must roam every where in the wild because it's Alaksa. Wrong! I know. I know. I should have thought that one through a little more. It's probably due to my intense love for Madasgascar (the movie) in which the penguins hang out on sand that I got a skewed image of cold climate animals also living in warm climates. But in the real world that doesn't happen. Just as in the real world, I obviously wouldn't sign myself up for a summer in temperatures/ice/snow that could support living polar bears and penguins.
Supposedly these animals are only found much further north and even if you go much further north you still can't see them unless you fly into some small village on the middle of an iced over lake and trudge around in the winter wonderland that is home to these animals. So basically you have to have about 5.2 catrillion dollars or work for discovery channel or something to see a polar bear in real life. And if you make it all the way there and you find a polar bear he will inevitably be the last thing you ever see because they aren't very fond of humans. (Correction: they actually are fond of humans....for breakfast.)
Luckily, even though I'm not able to see a a live polar bear in Alaska I was still able to see one as soon as I landed at the Anchorage airport. Who cares if it's alive? I saw a polar bear in Alaska! Plus, since it wasn't alive I had the fortunate advantage of walking away to see more of Alaska.
***Note: There are really only 2 polar bears in the pictures above. The other hairy faced animal is just my boyfriend, Bryce.
We can all get on the internet or visit any gift shop in Alaska to see pictures of moose. However, not everyone is able to take their own moose picture and most people wouldn't want to get close enough to one to do so.
If you ever visit Alaksa you'll hear at least 1,000,501,435 times to not approach the moose. In fact, if you see a moose it is in your best interest to head the opposite direction. Especially if it's a cow with a calf (aka mama and baby moose).
I have seen seen around 8 adults and two babies since I've been here. I've approached them or had a camera readily available ZERO of these times. Luckily, my phone takes okay pictures but not the best from far away while on a bus. The picture you see is my only success and not such a good one at that.
The people who get excellent pictures of moose have one of three things: a super zoom camera, no fear of being mauled, or moose magic.
Here's hoping for my own moose magic. I'll keep you posted. ;-)
Friday, May 20, 2011
During the six hour bus ride here I learned a lot about various things in Alaska including the fact that like most other parts of the world Anchorage has a seriously bad part of town. The difference is that the bad part of town looks exactly the same as the regular part except that it's crawling with hookers and drug dealers. Where I'm from the bad part of town is pretty obvious and can be noticed by run-down buildings, sketchy vehicles and general trashiness of the area. I can't describe how much this doesn't apply in Anchorage.
In fact, it looks so friendly that the hookers could easily be mistaken for just another woman walking down the street. My friend from Anchorage experienced a rather unfortunate situation because of this. On his way home from work one day he saw a girl walking in the rain and thought he would be a good guy and offer her a ride. He asked where she was going and she said just down the road. It wasn't long before he was suspicious that she wasn't telling him where to go. Finally, she asked if he wanted a date. He quickly told her he made a mistake and dropped her off. Yikes!
When we rode by on the bus, he also showed us where the drug dealers hang out in downtown, which I would never have noticed. Even after I saw them for myself I still wasn't convinced that they were out there dealing because they looked so nice, clean and professional.
The funniest part of it all was him pointing out the "really bad part of town" where people get shot, etc. All I saw was a Bed Bath and Beyond in a pretty nice shopping center. hahah. Even though my friend continued to insist that I wouldn't believe how bad it is there I couldn't imagine it. All I can picture is Will Ferrell in Old School. "Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time."
Alaska Word: Eskimo Ice Cream- Made of whipped berries, seal oil and snow.
THEY SELL MOOSE POOP HERE! Yep that's right. And they don't just sell it as is. They also sell it with faces with googly eyes, they build other animals out of it, they paint it, make jewelry and more. Supposedly moose poop is the state poop of Alaska (That may or may not be a joke). They also sell packets of moose poop with flower seeds inside so you can grow the Alaska state flower, Forget-Me-Not, at home. And here's a really interesting gift: the moose poop soap. It's literally a bar of soap with a visible moose nugget in the middle. For the holidays, they sell moosel-toe aka mistle toe with poop attached to the leaves and puff paint poop ornaments.
My personal favorites are the shitheads (poop wearing a top hat) and the weather forecaster, which features a nugget at the end of a thermometer. If the poop is dry it's sunny, wet means rain, when it rolls it's windy, if it bounces there's an earthquake, if it's hard it's freezing, and if it's soft there's a moose nearby.
Alaska Word: Muskeg- Grassy swamp land.