Water came today.

02Jun02

Water came today – perhaps the best thing to happen in the past two days.  Tundra and sub-zero temperatures, not being friendly to underground pipes, mean that many houses are filled by the city water company every Monday.  When I arrived in Bethel on Saturday, the house was dry as the pump ran endlessly.

Before going forward, let me go back two days to Saturday, when half-drunk on Irish Cream I touched down in Bethel.  It’s amazing, really, that 737s even visit this barren land, so desolate is it in appearance.  Nonetheless, it is the transportation and dry goods hub of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.  With few miles of paved road, Bethel is only accessible by air, even to many of the surrounding villagers.

***

11/19/07 – I miswrote this entry.  I was fully drunk on Irish Cream.  Imagine, in the following text, Dr. Pam Conrad meeting me at the airport and alcohol bubbles coming off of my head.  Irish Cream goes down too easy at altitude.  How embarrassing.

***

Dr. Pam Conrad met me at the airport, and after small talk and pleasantries, left me at a house on Killbuck Street where I learned I’d be living with a Canadian intern named Dave.  The house itself is beautiful, but with an open floor plan does not provide much privacy.  Surrounding both floors are wooden decks overlooking a large pond known as Mission Lake.  The house was equipped with DVD player and espresso machine – just no water.

Dave arrived soon after me, in from helping to coach little league, and we agreed that the first order of business was in fact water.  Emptying huge buckets of dog chow into garbage bags, we took as many containers as possible, including mosquito-ridden pails and a large black garbage can, to the community well.  25 cents provides 20 gallons of water, and we took as much as we could both at 9:30 PM Saturday and mid-afternoon Sunday.  This, at least, got us through to our water delivery.

The local AC Store is a very sizable supermarket, also featuring clothing and furniture, all at very sizable prices.  A 12-pack of soda is $7 in Bethel, and a bag of Doritos, $6.  Most of our food will come from meal vouchers provided by the hospital.

A black cat named Bob came with the house, and though he’s an added responsibility, I think we’ve become friends.

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