Evan's Eyes

Web Log Entry #0012, Saturday, November 23, 2002: Day 5

Anchorage Sunrise: 9:25am Sunset: 4:05pm High Temp: 39° Low Temp: 32°

I have to apologize to the snow-loving citizens of Anchorage and surrounding areas. By sheer force of will, I've raised the ambient temperatures in the Anchorage area to melt the snow and prevent winter. Normally the HIGH temperatures are around 30°, not the lows. I know this is a disappointment to the snowmachiners (they're not called "snowmobilers" up here. They ride snowmachines. Say "snowmobile" and they look at you like you're a tourist), and I'm sorry for that, but I'm going to hold off the snow and ice at least until I get a car equipped for it. Maybe longer.

My first weekend day in Alaska! Much of the day was devoted to house hunting. We started with two places in South Anchorage. The first was a third-floor condo owned by a couple. The furnishings were fine, but it was less than 800 square feet, for $1450/month. And the previous resident had a cat. (Not that I have anything against cats, but cumulative cat dander in the drapes and carpets could be problematic for my allergies.) So we go down the street to the next big block of condos. The manager shows us the model, which is a mirror image of the place we had just seen. Apparently one builder developed a string of huge condo/apartment buildings, without much floor-plan imagination. The twist is that these people want $1,000 MORE per month. We politely thank her for showing us the place, but leave quickly.

The next place is all the way across town, in north-eastern Anchorage. So it's only about eight miles away. You see, Anchorage is surrounded by the Cook Inlet and military reservations. So it can't get very big. It's squeezing into undeveloped space to the south east, being the only direction it can go. So it doesn't take very long to drive across town, but there's a definite difference in the neighborhood. Let's just say we didn't get out of the car.

So we went to lunch. A basic family restaurant was on our way back. It wasn't scary, so we stopped. The experience was like eating at Denny's, with two exceptions. First, the Reindeer Sausage on the menu (which tasted just like... sausage. But now I can say I've eaten reindeer!). Second, the handles to the sink in the men's room were two machine screws stuck into the posts. Even the quintessentially generic restaurant has its stamp of frontier pragmatism.

Over lunch we agreed that the place on 40th was the one to ask for. Stan dropped me off at my hotel, and I hung around, waiting to hear if we'd gotten buy-in from Tim. Finally, the call came. We were good to go! Stan called Lee, the landlord, and we were set to sign papers at 6:00. Stan and I went to a Japanese restaurant to celebrate. They had excellent tempura, hot and not overly battered. A satisfying celebration for the day.

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© 2002 Evan M. Nichols