We also have a house mate, Richard, who is back for his third summer as a rail guide. Richard is from Virginia, retired from the State Department, and is a wealth of knowledge about the narration on the train as well as Alaskan history. The likelihood of us actually seeing him once the season begins is slim. The office usually schedules roommates or house mates at different times to give people privacy.
Our home is about 12 miles from the rail yard but extremely close to most conveniences, like Sams and Wal-Mart. Today, Rennie and I laughed that we need to visit Wal-Mart more often, just so we can feel better about ourselves...I think my children and my sister would be the only people to really understand that statement!
Some interesting things we have noticed about Anchorage so far:
- No sales tax - so strange when we purchase something and there is no tax added
- There are about 270,000 people here - much, much, smaller than Jacksonville and we are expecting over 1 million visitors to Alaska this season
- The natives here want to be referred to as Native Alaskans, not Native Americans
- Gas is a little bit more expensive than home
- Food is quite pricey yet delicious! (Produce is not the greatest)
- When you walk down the street, you hear a bubble-clacking kind of noise - that is the studs on the snow tires - it sounds so weird
- So far, the weather is great - we have "rap and peel" days - blue skies and beautiful scenery - it does get nippy at night
- The air is so dry - very low humidity, so your skin feels a bit like shoe leather, but my hair is looking great
- We are finding most people friendly and helpful - they always want to know why we are visiting from Florida
- There is still THICK ice around the lakes and ponds but it is slowly melting
- There is ash everywhere from the recent volcano eruption - that mixed with dirty snow is gross
- We are on an earthquake fault - we haven't felt any movements yet, but we have been told it has happened since we've been here
- The water out of the tap is ICE cold and tastes like bottled water - no need to purchase bottled water while we're here
- We are getting closer to the Summer Solstice, which means more daylight. Each day we are getting about five more minutes of sunlight. During the month of May we will have 19 hours of sun, June 21 hours, and July 24 hours of sun - and I mean SUN - it is as bright as 12:00 noon - thank the Lord for black out shades and sleeping masks!
Until next time...Pamela