When we arrived in Valdez M was still staying at the man-camp (housing provided for employees), but no babies were allowed (huh?) so M had found another place for us to stay, but it wasn’t available until the next day. About the time we were arriving the annual Silver Salmon Derby was coming to an end. This meant LOTS of serious fishermen filling the hotel rooms leaving only the most expensive rooms available (We aren’t exactly known for forking out lots of dough on a single night stay anywhere… and didn’t really feel like starting now in an only so-so room) so we did exactly what anyone would do – we snuck into M’s room and kept Jonah quiet with the power of lots of booby.
I peed in a community restroom only when J was dead asleep and hoped I would not come across some naked man walking from the shower to his room when I did venture out. Everything about the room made me itch. I could only imagine how many dirty men had stayed in that very room… yuck. The buildings were basically modular buildings put together with make-shift materials that I couldn’t imagine holding up to Alaska’s winters, but what did I know. They cleaned the rooms (about the size of a walk-in closet), put on fresh sheets regularly, and provided my man with all the food he could want, so M had made the best of it. I was proud to see how well he had organized all his things in that little space.
Morning came and it was time for me to make my way out with not just J but all of M’s things as well. I moved him out and put everything into a car we had rented at a merciless price and made my way to our new place. It’s true, Alaska is beautiful, I’ll give it that, but you can certainly see the toll the harsh winters take on everything. After unloading everything into our new room (boarding house style – private rooms and bath with shared kitchen and laundry) we went into town to pick up groceries.
Oh Alaska how you gouge and gouge and does no one put their foot down? Do you grow trees with money on them for all these poor people to drink their $6 orange juice and eat $4/lb apples? With only one grocery store in town it sure forces you to accept the prices quickly (though still not easily). I could really go on and on about the prices but that stuff is just boring and it is what it is. For those that plan to travel there, simply expect to pay more for everything and just make it worth your while by catching lots and lots of fish and sending it home! (Funny, I’ve never sat at a baggage carousel where I saw more coolers going around than bags than one coming from AK) I can’t Believe we didn’t take any silver salmon home with us… I didn’t go fishing either. That is something I would have done differently – fish. Catch it, freeze it, mail it, cook it, eat it. This is my least favorite thing to say in the world, but… maybe next time.