Living in Alaska seems to be such a novel idea. Whenever we visit the lower 48 for the summer, EVERYONE has a story of when their third cousins neighbors sister’s brother in law’s aunt came to Alaska on vacation in 1986. Or… they want to come. I’m not kidding. Few understand the vastness that is Alaska, so it is difficult for them to fathom that people don’t come to rural (bush) Alaska to visit, or tour on vacation. There are no hotels or souvenir shops. I have yet to meet the owner of the fishing charter (because it is non-existent) There is one store. It is the size of a small Dollar General or large convenience store.
That being said, it’s funny when people ask what tourist things are around here. Fortunately, Joey and I had the opportunity to do an interior tour in the summer of 2011 with his parents. We got to see Mt. McKinley up close and personal in an air taxi. We were close to bears, rafted the Chena River, panned for gold, and saw a glacier (there was more, but you get the point)!
Last summer (2012) we had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Fairbanks for my schooling. That, plus the many trips we have taken to Anchorage for medical/personal reasons have shown us unique things we like about Anchorage/Alaska there are not in Arkansas.
1. Fred Meyer Oh how I will miss “Fast Freddies!” Ok, so it’s basically a more expensive Wal-Mart with higher quality goods. They sell OPI nail polish and Levi’s jeans. They also sell men’s Hanes whitey tighties 6 for $32. They have this beauty line called “essence.” I’ve only tried the nail polish. It’s $1.99 (sometimes $.99) and is worth every single cent!
When I was in Fast Freddies this weekend checking out the essence polish, this lady walked up and asked me what I though of the brand. I told her I loved the polish, it usually lasts 5 days or so, but haven’t tried anything else. She responded, “Well it’s just so cheap… you probably get what you pay.” Didn’t I just say the stuff was top of the line, regardless of price?
2. Red Robin Yumm! There is a reason their slogan is just “Yumm!” They really don’t need any other words to describe the place! I am sad that we will probably not get to see another Red Robin for years. The Crispy Chicken sandwich is off the chain. All burgers/sandwiches come with bottomless french fries, but with large and delicious sandwich portions, who needs endless french fries? I think there is a Red Robin in Memphis, so perhaps Joey will take me one day!
3. OPI Nail Polish Yes, there is OPI in Arkansas, I’m just not sure where (Besides Cosmo Prof, which I don’t have a license to). In Anchorage, it’s at Fast Freddies and several stores in the mall. It seems like it’s everywhere I go, which is fabulous. It will be difficult to go from having all the polish I can imagine at the tip of my fingers, to not knowing where to get them! Perhaps I can just buy them on Amazon or something.
4. Views from the Plane I will NOT miss having to fly to get to a decent-sized store, or to see a doctor. I will miss the beautiful view from the air, though.
Several years ago, I was on a short flight with a coworker between two villages. Looking out the window, we could see a Momma moose and her baby. The pilot swooped down so we could get a better look! It scared the moose and they took off! 😦 Of course, being in a plane, we got to follow them a little ways before getting back on the course to the village. That was truly a once in a lifetime experience–chasing moose in a plane.
Things I’ll Be Happy to Have (Again) (In no particular order)
1. Bath & Body Works For some reason, this wonderfully smelling store and it’s contents have yet to make it to the Last Frontier. Many summers/Christmas breaks have been spent stocking up on body cream, soap, and hand sanitizer so that we have plenty to last for the semester. It will be very nice to not have to stock up! Also, I will be able to buy and use the seasonal scents BEFORE the season (It’s March and we are using Candy Cane and have “Vanilla Bean Noel up next)!
2. Victoria’s Secret This store has yet to grace the Land of the Midnight Sun. Joey and I have gotten pretty good at ordering from them online, but it’s still not the same as actually going to the store. There’s just something about the pink stripes that get me!
3. Better Chinese Anchorage has an ok Chinese restaurant. North Pole (Fairbanks) actually has an award-winning Chinese restaurant, but we probably won’t go back. But… there is a wonderful Chinese restaurant not too far from our new house! 🙂 I think we will go there every week for many months after we return!
4. The ability to not wear outer clothes Putting on gloves, a hat, scarf, big heavy coat, and sometimes goggles most of the year is not fun! I’m so excited about getting to wear flip-flops, sandals, and skirts for most of the year again! I want to go to the tanning bed and have a reason (so I’ll look good in those skirts!). Bottom line: I’m tired of being covered up completely from head to toe!
5. The Great Outdoors Five years ago I practically lived outside! I loved to go hiking, hunting, fishing, you name it! If it was outside, I was there. Granted, I have a gorgeous house now (a reason to hang out indoors), but I’m just ready to go outside and do something! I could go outside here, but it’s kinda cold, and it’s not easy walking in snow. So… I’ll just stay in. 🙂 Fortunately, we have a Florida vacation coming up in a beach front condo at the end of May. I think that will jump-start my outdoorsyness. I really miss being able to go out and explore.
Joey is determined that we will return to Alaska one day to see the inside pass and maybe tour the interior again when we retire. I don’t know about all that. In case you can’t tell, I’m very ready for a much-needed change! Don’t get me wrong, it is a very beautiful place, but I’m ready for trees, green grass, and dirt!
If you come to Alaska, try the
burger Crispy Chicken!