Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another world

As I have been settling into the ways of the Alaskan life, I have been mentally noting some subtle differences as to the way day to day life is conducted here. As opposed to where we have come from, California. Some of these differences are obvious; longer summer daylight, shorter winter gets really, really cold in the winter.... Still others are huge, and in some senses probably best you come here to find out some of those yourselves. But the ones that I have found to be most intriguing are the subtle ones. The ones that most native Alaskans probably take for granted. So I want to go through a few.
So far as I drive down the local roads to and from my travels, I have noticed very little to none in the way of litter. In Arnold and Dorrington I would constantly see it strewn on the side of the road, as if the roadside were a public dispensary of ones discards. Which leads to another observation. Here, there are no "$500.00 Fine For Littering" signs. There, they seem to be if they do any good to deter litterbugs. There seems to be less sophistication here as opposed to California as well. Everyone is simple and there are no 'statements'. One thing that caught my attention is the way that store clerks handle the verification of identification. In California they want your social security number, drivers license, retina scan....DNA..... Here, if a clerk is unsure of who someone is, the customer simply yells out in the store "does anybody here know me" and if someone says "yeah, she's good" or "she's who she says she is" then it is sufficient I.D. Incredible. There are no 'theme' nights here as far as liquor goes. For example, you wont find a 'Miller Beer night' or something to that effect at any saloons. where as in California there seems to be an overabundance of liquor brand name themed events at clubs and bars. There are barbed wire fences of some sort or roadside fencing along every road in California. Here, if a guy wants to for instance get naked and run with the Caribou through the 'tidal flats' outside of Kenai....well, he can! There are no fences along highways here. Alot of that is due in part to much of the land is state land, not private. People don't stare here!!!! I have yet to see aluminum can roadside recycling centers here, or those neat 'coin to cash' machines you would find in grocery stores in California....which sucks, because I have a huge jar of loose change that I need to convert to greenbacks! At least in Dorrington and Arnold there wasn't a day go by that we didn't see commercial jets all day flying overhead. Here, we occasionally see a low flying float plane taking off or landing from one of the many local lakes, but to date no commercial jets. The list can go on. Now by no means do I think that California is a bad place (smirk), nor do I think that either here nor there do a few reflect the majority necessarily. I have just found some of these things to be interesting. It really is in some sense like living in another world. The weather here has been very mild all week. I don't think we have got over 65 degrees most of the week, and there has been a constant sea breeze most of the week as well. At times it is still somewhat hard to believe we are here. And like Maryann said this morning, she keeps wondering when vacation will be over and we have to go home. But this is home. Just is unbelievable sometimes that we pulled this off. But we were determined to get where we wanted to be, and so to will we continue with that same drive and determination to find our niche here in 'the last frontier' make our lives, and settle down. The more dramatic events of my retrograde have seemed to somewhat subside, but there are still alot of communication issues happening and just alot of "those dumb little things" happening daily. Oye! Well, it's getting chilly out and I am getting t.h.o.'s so I am going to part for now and shut some windows. Have a great rest of the weekend. Love to all.


carol said...

Hi Maryanne, Your painting tuned out really good. I wanted to tell you that I am glad you are enjoying your area. When we moved to Calaveras county in 1970 we only had a 20,000 population, you only have 7000. I could say pretty much the same thing about this area then that you are saying now, but we live in a too desirable area not to grow. Both good and bad comes with that growth. I think you have found the secret, as other people have that move to area's like north dekota and less populated area's. Find an area other folks don't want to live in because of weather, lack of oppertunities or deversity and will stay less populated for a longer time. A lot of the time I wish this area had not grown so fast in the last 15 years, but I am getting older and I no longer would want to be out in the bonnies, so to speak. I do still find the people here, helpful and considerate, and the highway 4 corridore and 88 wonderful. I guess I am lucky that I got to live here so long and have seen so much of it. I also felt as though I moved to a differnt world when we moved to Railroad Flat, and we had. I wouldn't trade those first 4 years for anything, but times change. Have a nice 4th of july. Carol

carol said...

Hi, I wanted to say your painting turned out good, not tuned. I guess I better put spell check on these comments. That is out in the Boondocks, not Bonnies.

Scott and Kristi Stokley said...

hi guys,

Greg, i just have to say you have a real talent for writing. I think you should write a book about your lives in Alaska.....aren't you glad i gave you my opinion? :)


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