Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Alaska State Museum in Juneau

“Oh,” the docent laughed, “everyone asks about that old bear. He hasn’t been around for years. He got all patchy because all the kids touched him and his hair fell off.”

LOL. I know one of those kids. There was a big sign that said “Do Not Touch the Bear” but he was a snowy white polar bear and . . . irresistible. My Dad worked in the same building as this museum, in its old location, and I would meet him there for a ride home after going to the library.

I loved this museum.

This time, it was one of the highlights of the entire trip. This museum is rich in well-curated pieces, and they are beautifully arranged. A new museum is going up; I can only hope that when it opens, it is at least as well done as this one is. Both AdventureMan and I could spend a lot more time in this museum.

Carving at the entrance:

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Bent wood box
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Painted chest
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Ceremonial robe
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Everyday clothing
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Upiq masks
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Close up Upiq masks
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Sun motif ceremonial outfit – look at the leg pieces – don’t they look like Sadu weaving to you?

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Moon motif ceremonial outfit
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Hand made hats. I was so surprised; these are like prayer caps in Oman and in Pakistan and I think in Indonesia. That they would be so similar in shape and geometric embroidery was amazing to me.

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Eagle’s nest display, with eagle sounds. I love this! There is also a bear, but positioned so you really cannot touch . . . 😦

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Corner pillars of Alaskan native houses used to look like this, not exactly totemic but with carved spirits:

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There is so much more. I focused on the Alaskan Native inhabitants, but there are also exhibits of the coming of the Russians, the gold rush, the transition to territory and statehood . . . I can only take in so much at one time! Good thing we are going back 🙂

ALASKA STATE MUSEUM
395 Whittier Street
Juneau, AK 99811-1718
Tel: 907.465.2901
Fax: 907.465.2976

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September 13, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Birds, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Heritage, Interconnected, Road Trips, Travel, Wildlife | , | Leave a comment

The Alaska Gulf: Chenega Bay to Yakutat All Mountains and Glaciers

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The sky is full of sunshine as we awake, and we are surrounded by snowy
mountains, gleaming in the sunshine. It is unspeakably beautiful. We eat our breakfast cereal and head outside, after listening to the complaints of a group of Texans at the next table.

“It’s like a bunch of hobos!” one man says of the aft viewing room, “I’ve never seen anything like it! They have their big rucksacks and sleeping bags and pillows all over the place!” The sign says you can only sleep from 8 at night to 8 in the morning, but they are still sleeping.”

Well, or still trying to sleep. Many of these people are living on a shoestring, and the ferry is the only way they can get to the doctor, or get their children to school, or get to their next job. They are frugal, bringing on their own food, trying to keep their kids dressed and entertained. The Alaska Maritime Highway has compassion on these travelers, provides a solarium area where campers can set up tents, rent sizable lockers. There are other areas, the aft lounges, where campers without tents can sleep, and this is where the Kodiak football team and cross country teams hung out. There is a children’s play area where families sleep right under the “no camping” signs, and the ferry personnel look the other way. It’s an Alaskan thing. It makes me proud to be born Alaskan. People take care of one another, and cut each other some slack.

Honestly, people, you are on the wrong ship! This is the Alaska Marine Highway, not the Diamond Princess!

We are drawn to the decks, compelled by the gorgeous scenery. Each snow covered mountain has its own beauty. We meet a Canadian couple; she has to excuse herself when the topic turns to food – she is seasick. A Kansan with whom we have a long conversation is also suffering a little from seasickness, and AdventureMan shares a Dramamine tablet with him.

00SunriseNearYakutat

We have already made our reservations for the great Celebration in Juneau next year. It’s the reason we made the trip this year. As we started talking about the Celebration, which is only held every other year, we had so many ideas we knew we needed to take a reconnaissance trip so we would know how easy – or hard – travel is, and have a better idea what we want to see and do. This ferry trip has been a great introduction, and we have questioned many many Alaskans and travelers as to what they have seen and enjoyed.

Some things we know we don’t want to do. We don’t want to be on buses, going through Denali, following one bear. We don’t want to be on a cruise ship. We don’t want to travel in a group. I kind of think that RV rental might be a good way to go, but the truth is, I prefer sleeping in a bed, and I don’t like cooking in camping situations. As I see it – and I’ve done a lot of camping – camping is hard work. It’s all the things you have to do at home – shop for food, prepare food, cook food, and clean up – done under the most primitive conditions. I think we will look for an auto rental and good lodges and restaurants along our route, whatever that route is, after the Celebration in Juneau.

What is the Celebration? The Celebration is sponsored by Sealaska, and brings together all the tribes and clans of Alaskan native inhabitants to share knowledge. They wear their ceremonial clan robes and have a parade down the Main Street of Juneau. They gather to do the dances, transmitting their legends and language to their children. They share craftsmanship; the baskets, the robe making, wood carving, totems. If it is anything like the desert festivals we attended in Tunisia, it is also a time when the young men and women of different – but related – tribes can eye one another with marriage in mind, good for getting some healthy variation in the gene pool. I can hardly wait to see this.

I had planned to call the car rental again as soon as I hit Chenega Bay or Yakutat, so we will have a rental car when we hit Juneau again, but . . . I can only laugh now at my presumption . . . there is no service at either. My phone does not work. It is frustrating.

When I pack for trips, the worst of my obsessive-compulsiveness kicks in. I make lists, and check them – more than once. I order the right maps, and go over them. I check and double check reservations.

This trip, assuming I could just call and use my Google Maps and GoogleEarth, I didn’t worry. Information, in this wonderful day of technology, is literally at my fingertips. This has been a great lesson in just how dependent we all are on technology, and how devastating it is to learn that it cannot always be relied upon.

Dolphins frolic, so many and so hard to photograph as they move so quickly!

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When I saw this, I thought at first it was part of the tsunami trash drifted over from Japan, and then I saw it was a flat barge loaded with containers. So loaded with containers, you can hardly see the barge:

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A brief shift in the weather:

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We are out on the deck most of the day, just watching this grandeur pass by, huge mountains, gigantic glaciers, parading past, one after another:

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Someone said this is Mount Saint Elias, but I don’t think it is. None the less, it was a very high mountain, higher than anything near. This is the very tip. I spent hours trying to find a time when the whole mountain would come into view . . .

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This is about the best I could get, the most of the mountain exposed:

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This is what I was dealing with for hours as we passed – it truly is a huge mountain, but weather shifted often, and it was shrouded in these thin grey bands of clouds:

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We passed several glacier fields, and I think this one was the Behring:
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We are nearing Yakutat, the sun is setting:

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In Yakutat I have just enough coverage to make a car reservation before we hit the sack.

September 12, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Cultural, Environment, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Road Trips, Travel, Wildlife | , , | 2 Comments

Dining at Captain Pattie’s, the Best Meal of our Trip

We’d been driving since breakfast, stopping, getting out, maybe hiking a little, taking photos, and we wanted a nice lunch. The weather is gorgeous, even hot, and we head for the Homer spit.

The name Homer Spit just cracks AdventureMan up, even though he knows Spit in this usage means a long, thin, flat beach that goes out into the sea (Definition of spit noun (LAND) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press), he still cracks up just like a little boy when he hears it or says it. This is what Homer Spit looks like:
homer

It is actually like four or five miles long, longer than it looks on the maps. While a lot of people hike out there, we drove; we want to continue exploring after we eat.

The nicest restaurant we can see is Captain Patties, and we decide to give it a try.

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From the moment we walk in, we are so glad me made this choice. The interior is clean and neat and sunny, there is sea memorabilia on the walls, and the place if filled with people who look like they live here.

This is the view from Captain Patties:

00ViewFromCPTPatties

We love the place, and we love it that they are fine with us each ordering soup and splitting the main dish. We have found that we just can’t eat as much as restaurants want to put on our plates. At home, it is no problem, we ask them to pack it up and we have it for dinner, or lunch another day. We don’t want to waste food, and we don’t want to pack it up, either, so sharing a main dish works for us.

Today we choose seafood chowder – oh man, we’ve been eating chowders everywhere but this one is THE best. And we split a grilled local seafood platter, everything on the plate, the scallops, the shrimp, the salmon and the halibut, all local. It is unbelievably good. It is so simply prepared, no elaborate sauces, and it is so tasty, so good.

00CPTPattiesSeafoodChowder

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On the wall hangs this piece. From our whaling adventures with Captain Alan on the Scania, we know that this is baleen, what the whale uses to screen fish as he ingests them. 🙂

00CPTPattiesBaleen

We wanted to go to The Mermaid for dinner, but they were fully booked, right up to closing. We could see people waiting outside at Fat Olives, a lot of people, so we decided we had such a good lunch at Captain Pattie’s that we would go back for dinner. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha on us. Whoda thunk, but in Homer on a gorgeous Saturday night, you had better have reservations for dinner. We ended up having a nice enough dinner, but nothing special, across the street, wishing we were back at Captain Patties.

Our dinner somewhere else, nice enough, but not the same:

AdventureMan had salad and salmon quesadillas; I had Ceasar salad with grilled salmon:

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A few last views of Homer:

The Homer Airport, cozy and efficient:
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Public art at the airport 🙂
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Sign on a property outside of Homer:
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One of several thriving community gardens we saw in Homer, full of delicious things to eat. We love it that Pensacola also has good community gardens.
00HomerCommunityGarden

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Reconnaissance Trip in Homer

Did I tell you how this trip came about? How last year I saw a notice about The Celebration in Juneau, but we were already en route to Zambia on those exact dates?

As we started planning this Alaska trip in 2014, we discovered we had more ideas than we have time. The Qatari Cat is ten years old now; we don’t like to leave him at the Wee Tuck ‘Em Inn longer than a couple weeks at most. The more we decided what to include in the two weeks, the more we came to the realization that we needed to do a reconnaissance trip :-). I found the Alaska Marine Highway System, and we realized we could cover a lot of ground and see a variety of terrain by taking this cross Gulf ferry, the M/V Kennicott.

Homer is almost the end of the line. The ferry continues to Seldovia, which is picturesque and beautiful, but we wanted to explore Homer, and to figure out where we will go next year after the Celebration.

Homer is so much fun. It’s been voted one of the hippest cities in America, for it’s 70’s counter culture and community values. It is a very fun place to be, and full of breathtaking scenery.

HomerPublicArt1

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Even a Homer quilt shop!

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September 8, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cultural, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Public Art, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Kodiak and the Trip to Homer on the M/V Kennicott

Landed in Kodiak early, so early I don’t know how early. We rise, dress and WOW, it is not raining, you can even see some sun, so we decide to walk into Kodiak. As we debark, we ask which way and the Terminal Manager Steve catches up with us and offers us a ride. It warmed my heart, this is exactly what I wanted AdventureMan to see, this is what I grew up with, the Spirit of Alaska 🙂 taking care of one another. Alaska is like one big community.

On the way, he gives us an overview of Kodiak and we talk about the big problem with the lack of ferry transportation this year with the Tustemena out of service. Tustemena is the M/V ferry that runs down the Aleutian Islands all the way to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, another trip we want to make. It’s been a big loss for all tour related businesses on the peninsula and for Kodiak. The Kennicott will make a run down in late September to help get people, goods and vehicles out who are waiting for transportation.

We told him we wanted some breakfast, and he dropped us off at the Shelikof Lodge, full of locals. I actually asked where he eats breakfast, and he said “at home” and we learned why – this is a very busy man. He runs back and forth between all the terminals, solving problems, making sure everything is going smoothly. In Kodiak, people work hard.

At the Shelikov, AdventureMan has biscuits and gravy, and I have reindeer sausage for the first time, with a hot, spicy aftertaste I love. Even though it is very lean meat, I only eat half.

00Shelikof Lodge

Shelikov Lodge Breakfast Specialties:
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AdventureMan’s Biscuits and Gravy
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Reindeer Sausage
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We hike to the Russian Orthodox Church, passing a tidal wave marker on the way. It is scary – it seems rather high on the island. That tidal wave came a long way up.

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We walk through Kodiak, past all the processing plants, to ship. It’s not a very big place, but you can see a lot of pride in what they do.

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LOL, loading the cars and trucks and containers and R/Vs takes hours and there is a long long line of walk ons, first the Kodiak football team, all in their jerseys, and then the Kodiak high school cross country team in bright lemon yellow wind breakers. Maybe 150 students, good kids, full of energy, whooping it up.

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We leave Kodiak late, but these late departures seem to be built into the ferry schedule – they never know where they will need more time.

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These meadows look so Swiss to me.
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Just like Life of Pi! Fish jumping out of the water in tens and hundreds, flying!
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Whales to feed on those crops of fish
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Approaching the Barrens, as the sea passage gets a little rougher. This is one of the windiest, roughest areas to traverse
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There is a whole new dynamic on board with the high-schoolers. They are hilarious! All that teenage energy! We hit rough water just after going through the Barrens, and the kids are standing on the forward deck waiting for huge waves to break over the bow. When the huge waves break, it is like in a movies, a sheet of water, and the kids hang on and come up laughing.

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We go through rough waters about an hour, then things calm down and . . . the sun comes out! Gorgeous scenery, all the way to Homer.

Approaching Homer Spit on M/V Kennicott:
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Docked almost exactly at 9, as scheduled. We waited for the kids to all get off, then walked to the terminal, where there are NO taxis waiting. When I made reservations, I had asked the hotel if they send a shuttle to the ferry terminal and they said no, they didn’t have a shuttle, but there are always taxis waiting. No. No, that is just not true. There are not always taxis waiting.

We see a couple we had met onboard, they ask where we are going and we tell them the Driftwood Inn and he says “that’s where we’re going!” and offers to split the cab they have already called with us. Perfect! Except when we get to the hotel he discovers that he is NOT staying at the Driftwood Inn, and he has to call the taxi driver back again to take him to the Heritage Inn.

It’s sad, I think this is a generational thing, he kept calling himself a dummy. We are raised in a different generation, to call someone a dummy is just so negative and so degrading that we would never do it, not to anyone else, not to ourselves. We might say “How could I be such an idiot!?” but we were horrified – and a little heartbroken – to hear this really nice man berate himself like that.

What was cool is that we ran into them again – twice – before twenty-four hours had passed, once at the car rental agency, and once again at the Homer Farmer’s Market. They had settled in quickly, only a couple blocks from where we were staying and were having a wonderful time, heading out that afternoon in route to Prudhoe Bay. (I’m impressed.)

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Our room is lovely, spacious and welcoming, with gorgeous shared spaces and a view to die for, maybe 230 degrees of glaciers, mountains, Kachemak Bay and driftwoody beach. The sun is setting, the air smells clean; sea, salt and pine, the skies are clear, and oh, life is sweet.

Sunset from Driftwood Inn, Homer, Alaska:
00SunsetViewHomerFromRoom26

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Environment, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Hotels, Living Conditions, Photos, Public Art, Restaurant, Sunsets, Travel, Wildlife | , , | 2 Comments

Grandma’s Feather Bed Restaurant, Juneau, Alaska

We saw people shuttling to Grandma’s from our nearby hotel, the Best Western Country Lane. Country Lane is spacious, near the airport and Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal, and just 8 miles of Juneau city center.

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Grandma’s Feather Bed is both another Best Western Hotel and a restaurant, but it has the feeling of a B&B. It is quaint and inviting, without having an old lady feel to it:

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This is where we ate:
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A view of the restaurant
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This was one of my best meals of the entire trip, and I am so sorry I forgot to photograph when it was all pretty on my plate. It was two or three halibut cakes on a salad. The salad dressing was exquisite, the halibut cakes were mostly halibut, perfect, and they were served with a sweet red pepper coulis that was to die for, very fresh. You can see a halibut cake remaining on the side of the plate, LOL.
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Cole slaw:

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AdventureMan had the salmon burger, which he said was also delicious, and also coated with the same delicious coulis.

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September 3, 2013 Posted by | Alaska, Cooking, Eating Out, Hotels, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , | Leave a comment

A Trip “Out the Road” to Eagle River

 

One of the things AdventureMan and I did in Juneau was to drive every road. It’s not hard. You drive all the way south, and all the way north on Douglas Island, then you drive out to Thane, then on the Juneau roads, up behind in the basin, and then “out the road.” Everyone in Juneau knows where “out the road” is.

 

When I was a kid, the road got bad just past the airport, on the way to Skater’s Cabin, which I thought was on Auke Lake, but discovered is really on Mendenhall Lake.

00Glacier and Lake

You had to go out the road to get to the airport. You still do, but it is only like six minutes, the road is so good, unless you hit a deer (which we saw happen) and have to stop and call Fish and Wildlife Rescue. You can’t leave an injured animal on the highway.

So we have a morning, and it is not raining! The sun is even peeking out now and then! It’s a beautiful day, we dress warmly and head out the road, out driving all the roads. Look closely, and you will even see blue sky in the photos 🙂  We drive the Lena Point road, looking at all the cabins where we used to go picnicing, then to Amalga Bay, with it’s beautiful still lake and reflections.

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You’re just going to have to bear with me as I show you photos with a lot of green in them. It’s not that Pensacola doesn’t have green, but it doesn’t have Alaska greens. I remember in Germany, a long time ago, years ago, having a discussion with AdventureMan about how many different shades of green there are, and ever since then, he has reminded me of that conversation. This year, on this trip, he said “Now I know why you are so sensitive to greens!” Alaska is full of greens, and mostly they are blue greens, and oh, I love the spectrum of blue-greens. 🙂00AmaglaBay2

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As we approached the end of the road, there was heavy road construction going on. Winter is coming, to quote Game of Thrones, and in Alaska that means a short window for all the road reparations that can happen as a result of brutal, icy, rainy, snowy winters. The construction traffic controllers told us it would be about twenty minutes before the pilot car would be back to lead the next line of cars over the broken, rocky, off-road paths, and we decided, in our little 2 wheel drive rental, that we would forego that pleasure. We headed back for Eagle River Picnic Grounds, which were beautiful and serene:

 

This is one of the covered picnic cabins, heavy duty timber

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You can see one of the ferries departing nearby Auke Bay from the ferry terminal00FerryDepartingEagleRiver

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We head on a little further to the Eagle River Camp Grounds. We are in love! This place is beautiful, with hidden campsites with cabins and campsites for RV’s, but all hidden from sight. No indoor plumbing, but the public restrooms are clean and well kept. You can hike around, there are many trails.

 

Salmon spawning in the stream – the ranger tells us a mother bear and her two cubs were by earlier, but we missed them. You can smell all the rotting salmon on the banks and know that the bear are eating well.00MoreSalmonSpawning

An old dock, long gone, from Eagle River – and look at all those beautiful greens in the background 🙂00EagleRiverCampSites

Seagulls feasting on salmon the bears left behind. Bears are not very efficient eaters; they strip parts of the salmon and leave a whole lot:00SeagullsFeastingonSalmon

A Stellar’s Jay, the kind I grew up with. The Jays in Pensacola are more white with blue markings and much bigger. But look at the blues on his feathers, so intense, so radiant!

 

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We love Eagle River campsites so much you will see more on our way back out through Juneau 🙂

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Birds, color, Exercise, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Photos, Road Trips, Travel, Wildlife | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inequality: No Respect For Our First Nation Citizens (Blog Action Day)

I grew up in a small town, Juneau, Alaska, and not even in the main town, but on Douglas Island, across the Gastineau Channel from Juneau. My neighbors were fishermen, hunters, pilots, entrepreneurs and hard-working people struggling to make a living.

It was an upside down world. In most places, those who live there the longest are the leaders of society. In Southeast Alaska, those who lived there the longest were at the bottom of the heap, the Native Americans, the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. I went to school with them. Yes, the boys carried knives. No, they were not dirty, and none of my little friends in elementary school were drunks. We were kids, we played together, we were all in the same classes all through elementary school – it was a small school.

Many of them did have family problems. There were problems of alcoholism, unemployment, domestic violence and hunger. They weren’t the only ones. The big problem was no respect. Although there were a few pieces of Native Art in the city museum, Native culture and Native craft were given little value. The Native way of life, living off the land, hunting and fishing, had greatly diminished as lands were apportioned off and hunting and fishing activities regulated.

In 1971 a huge lawsuit was settled and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act provided some restoration for the damaged peoples. Alaska Natives now have regional corporations to administer and grow funds to support the culture, to provide education for the children, to provide health clinics and hospitals. SEALASKA began to organize a biennial Celebration, a gathering of all the Alaska natives to share their stories, to celebrate their culture, to dance and to transmit culture to their children. It’s a great opportunity for people you might see every day in their western life to remember where they come from and to be proud of who they are. This Celebration is held every two years and includes Alaska Natives from all over Alaska who want to participate. It is a very inclusive Celebration. The next Celebration will be June 8 – 11, in 2016. You can read a little more about Celebration 2014 here.

They learn the legends of their clans – the Eagles, The Ravens, the Beavers, the Bears and a number of other clans. They spend the time between celebrations stitching together elaborate costumes for their parade and dance exhibitions, hollowing out canoes from trees, making elaborate hats and masks.

We first learned of the Celebration gathering in 2012, when we already had tickets to go back to Zambia at the exact time the Celebration was taking place, but my sweet husband promised we could go back for the 2014 Celebration. As we researched, we discovered just how much of Alaska we wanted to see, and did a reconnaissance trip in 2013. We loved our time there, and we were delighted to be able to return this last year for Celebration 2014.

It was one of the most thrilling moments of my life, to see the gathering, to see the old women cry as canoes came into sight full of young Alaskan natives, and say “I never thought I would see this again in my life”, to watch the exhilaration of the dancers, to feel the energy of the parade and especially – to see the children. To see the pride in marching, in dancing, to see the joy in being able to express who they are and to share that with others. I was moved beyond my ability to express in words; it was a feeling that in one small way, a train of events that had gone very off track had moved incrementally back in the right direction.

Here are some photos from the joyous Celebration of 2014:

 

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October 16, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Generational, Living Conditions, Photos, Quality of Life Issues, Social Issues, Spiritual | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Travel Must-Have

I don’t like large handbags. I am small; a large bag is disproportionate. At the same time, I wanted a bag big enough to stick my computer in without looking like a briefcase. I wanted to be able to take my computer to Alaska with me.

I looked and looked, searching for the right bag. I looked in Pensacola, I looked online, I looked in Seattle. It had to be the right size, a nice heavy leather, a sturdy leather carry strap, and a neutral color as I was only taking one bag. Finally, at the very last minute I found this wonderful bag, and the computer fit beautifully, leaving room for my camera and wallet – what more do I need, right?

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Then, me being me, the night before leaving for Alaska I decided I really did not need to carry a full sized computer, that the iPad had enough capacity and besides, it had books and Sudoku on it. But I still liked the purse; I stuck a nightshirt inside in case my luggage got lost, it has a side zip pocket for tickets, car rental brochures and car keys, and with everything inside, it was still roomy and not too heavy. It is wonderful boarding airplanes with just a purse!

By the end of the trip, I was in love. It is a great bag, goes everywhere, can be filled or used with little, it is versatile. I love this bag!

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Living Conditions, Road Trips, Shopping, Survival, Technical Issue, Tools, Travel | 2 Comments

Revisiting Old Haunts and The Island Pub on Douglas Island

First, some random shots from our afternoon in various parts of Juneau, Alaska:

I didn’t take this photo, but I might be in it. I found it in the historical annals available from the Juneau-Douglas Museum. This is the old Evergreen Bowl pool, fed by glacier streams, where I learned to swim. This pool doesn’t exist any more; they have a new, indoor year-round pool:

EvergreenBowlPoolJuneauAK

Out at Mendenhall glacier; no bears this trip, only their crossing sign and a lot of stripped salmon 🙂 Sleep well, salmon-fed bears!

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Kayakers at Mendenhall Lake; this is across the lake from the glacier observation point

00KayakersOnMendenhallLake

The old Skater’s Cabin, where we used to go ice skating when the lake would freeze. Volunteers from civic organizations would get up early and take home-made snow-pushers, and make paths through the snow on the ice, and clear a large patch where people could skate. The ice was rough, not like an ice rink at all. If you could skate here, you could skate anywhere 🙂

00SkatersCabin

AdventureMan insisted I stop at this quilt shop while he read brochures in the car, LOL! No, I am not kidding, I am only laughing because he pretended he loves to wait in the car while I visit another quilt shop.
00RaintreeQuiltShop

Dinner was at the Island Pub in Douglas, across the Gastineau Channel from Juneau. We used to go to this very same restaurant when I was a kid, then called Mike’s Place, only I never got to sit upstairs; I think that the bar was upstairs. Families went downstairs. They told us that they are thinking of renovating and opening the downstairs, too.

00TheIslandPubDouglas

They were packed. We were lucky to get there when we did. I think we were the only people who don’t live on Douglas Island, there were couples and families and friends meeting up after work, and a birthday group – all people who live on the island.

00InteriorIslandPub

The place has a spectacular view, especially around sunset when Juneau, across the channel, just lights up.

Our friend had said this is her favorite place to eat, and she was right! We had the smoked salmon spread, which was really good and really rich:

00SalmonSpread

When our pizza came, it was also delicious, but the salmon spread on the pizza strips filled us up. We each ate one piece of the huge pizza and packed up the rest to warm up for breakfast the next day. It was still delicious!

00DouglasIslandPizza

This was one of the best meals we had on our trip. Great beer, great wine, great food, great atmosphere, great view.

September 12, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Community, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Wildlife | , , | 4 Comments