I arrived in Alaska Tuesday with my friend Mike to explore the Last Frontier, at least thats what Alaskan license plates say, and to see its extraordinary natural beauty. However, I have found out that it is much more the last frontier-it’s one of the most interesting and backwards places I have ever been and what a time it has been so far. I have certainly encountered some of the most “different” people I have ever met.
When I decided to come up to Alaska, my friend Ryan who is from Alaska originally told me that Anchorage was not a good representation of Alaska and it was basically a crap town full of drunks and miscrients. Well it turns out that he was definitely right but he forgot to mention Anchorage is also full of runaways, outlaws, villains, yocals, wackos, schizos and of course eskimos. The best part is this week is a huge eskimo convention although they call them natives here but it’s way more fun to call them eskimos. All of these people contribute to the relative disorder and lawlessness that I love about Anchorage.
Let me illustrate my point about a few people here from my experiences over a few days. First, last night I went to the “best bar” in town called Koots, where apparently Jay Leno went when he did the Tonight Show from here and where White Lion is playing tomorrow night, and I was playing pool. I was playing a against a woman who had every part of her face pierced and apparently many other places as well, in addition to all of her tattoos from her neck down. So as we were playing and chatting, she mentioned that she was from Montana and had four kids back home living with her ex boyfriend and the kids were from 4 different guys. This of course prompted me to ask obvious questions such as why are you here in Alaska if your kids are at home and after your first illegitimate child, didn’t you learn your lesson and start using some type of condoms or birth control, etc.?
She told me that she was tired of her life back home so she decided to split and disappear for a while up in Alaska. I thought about it and from my short time here, I’d imagine this would be a pretty good place to disappear if that’s what you were looking to do-nobody will find you up here if you don’t want to be found.
So as she was fairly interesting I kept chatting with her and she mentioned she was in the military for a few years but she had been dishonorably discharged for repeated drug offenses and miscrient behavior. She also mentioned that she had spent up to six months in the brig in Norfolk, Virginia and was wanted for several offenses in 3 other states. That doesn’t sound like much fun to me as I said to her but she said it wasn’t so bad because she was able to obtain more drugs in jail than she did outside. I chuckled and thought to myself-no wonder we can’t win any wars!
As I was finishing up my game with this nutso woman, the guy playing at the table next to me apparently lost his pool game and got pissed. So he took his fist and punched the light over the table. Obviously, the light broke and all the glass and lightbulb stuff fell all over the table. Nobody seemed to think this was strange and nobody reacted in a shocked manner although everyone looked as though they were terrified of this guy.
Security, if you call it that, was a midget eskimo guy who took a look at the table and turned to the bartender and asked for a prelaminated sign that says “pool table closed” and he then just plopped it onto the middle of the table amd everyone carried on with their evenings.
I then saw this guy had a gun stuffed down his pants under his fleece and then I knew why nobody was messing with him and figured he was probably wanted in about 20 other states and thats why he ended up here. Oh what a place.
I could go on and on about the schizo woman that came into the bar where we were watching the World Series before she got booted or the incredible eskimo gangsters that apparently have gangs here in the Anchorage ghettos. Additionally, the people here are very plain spoken and are actually a lot of fun to chat with and observe. I would never in my life live here but it is a great place to visit for a few days to really get a good laugh and to thank god you are from and live somewhere else.
Unfortunately, Sarah Palin isn’t here but I did visit her former hometown of Wasilla today where she got her stellar political career started as mayor of the small town. They do have a Wendy’s, an Arby’s and a pink flamingo car wash along with great mountain views and a gorgeous landscape.
As I focused on a lot of the crazy aspects of the people I’ve met since I’ve been here, I wanted to also mention the real reason to come up here as the landscapes are amazing and the seafood is unreal. The Kenai Fjords are as good as in Norway and the drive to Seward can’t be beat. Additionally, seeing Mount Denali (aka Mt. McKinley and North America’s tallest peak) is stunningly beautiful and makes me want to climb another of the seven summits.
I have also had nothing but awesome meals since we arrived here. Tuesday night Mike and I went out to the best seafood place in Anchorage called Simon and Seiforts and the king crab and halibut were the best I’ve ever tasted. Additionally, on the drive down to Seward we stopped at a place called Chair 5 in Girdwood which a town straight out of Northern Exposure and one of the coolest experiences I’ve had here. The food was great and all the people were so nice.
I am not trying to make fun (that much) but it is amazing that Alaska is part of the US because I feel that it is so different from any other state I’ve been to and very interesting. I am very happy I decided to come up here because it has been a truly fun and educational experience and in truth all in all the Alaskans may be the nicest people I’ve come across-although just a little different!