Anchorage, AK

01Jun02

Anchorage International Airport
Gate B8

In one hour, as I board my flight to Bethel, my stay in Anchorage will be at an end.  I have no complaints of the past two days.

The sun was still shining at 10:30 PM when I arrived in Anchorage on the 30th, and though I’m sure it set sometime after 11:30, the sky never went dark.  This fact, however, made jet lag slightly more bearable.

The Native Heritage Center
Yesterday was beautiful weather-wise, though my morning tour was beset with problems.  I was the youngest person on the bus by 30 years, with most of the passengers from cruises.  Because of technical and personnel problems, what should have been a tour of the grand highlights of Anchorage ended up being nothing more than a trip to the Native American Heritage Center.  Still, the center – full of its laminate displays and track lighting – was nice, as were the people I encountered.

*****

 

11/18/2007 – Remembering this particular tour makes me remember the heritage center as being better than, simply, “nice.”  I ended up with a crush on an Aleut guy named Lucas, and for fifteen minutes I wanted to spend the rest of my life in his display hut.  Equally kind was medicine pillow-sewer Jessica though I didn’t have a similar desire to marry her and have kids.  On meeting people like Jessica and Lucas, I feel bad about being a tourist, watching the people I’m with ask for bathrooms and gift shops while I’m trying to flirt.

*****

Portage Glacier

After finishing the Anchorage City tour that was anything but, I changed busses for a tour of Portage Glacier via the Alyeska Ski Resort.  Along the road southbound from Anchorage stretched Turnagain Arm – a large bay filled with water at high tide and silt at low tide – for miles and miles before a mountain range.  The silt was known for its deadliness, reacting with the salt water of the bay to harden like cement – ensnaring in it moose, wildlife, and unlucky boaters – before the high tide came back in to drown.  Bald Eagles and Moose were commonplace.

A quick cable car to the top of Mt. Alyeska revealed an impressive view before we continued south on the Seward Highway through the Chugack national forest in an area once covered by Portage Glacier.  The many glaciers in the area were expected to vanish within the next 100 years.  A cruise took us within 100 feet of Portage Glacier where, every 15 minutes or so, a chunk of glacier would crumble, or “calve” into the water with a thunderous roar not unlike that of a shotgun.  This is how glaciers recede, crumbling into icebergs and nothingness.

In the evening I headed to Anchorage’s only gay bar, about a mile from my hotel.  Mad Myrnas was, overall, a fun experience.Yesterday was spent on a walking tour of Anchorage in shitty weather that made the whole ordeal blase at best.  Talked to some drunks, had a cider, went to a small bookstore and marked time before my flight to Bethel.

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