Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

11 Surprising Things One Learns While Living in Alaska

If you read my last article, 10 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Alaska, and you're not from Alaska, you were probably amazed and bewildered by my observations. If you weren't then read the article again and then be amazed and bewildered (at least fake it!). 

The locals offered some amazing feedback on that article, which I really appreciated, and inspired me to share more about what this non-local is experiencing in Alaska.

It Costs How Much?

I understand many things in Alaska being more expensive when it has to ship from somewhere else in the world to get here (i.e. fruits and veggies). But, why are crab legs so expensive? Alaskan King Crab legs are wildly popular and rightfully expensive in the lower 48, but shouldn't they be just a little bit cheaper where they source them? And, isn't there an oil pipeline running through the state? Then, why is gasoline so expensive?

Shopping In Alaska

Stores change with the seasons in any location, but in Alaska it goes from Halloween candy to ice fishing! Thermal clothing and outdoor gear dominate more than Thanksgiving, in some stores.
Stuff you can buy in Alaska
I've never seen these things sold anywhere else

Don't See Northern Lights Everyday

"Yay, I'm moving to Alaska and I'm going to see the Northern Lights in their full glory every night!" I said. And, I've seen them twice... barely. You need the weather to be clear, there needs to be a lot of geomagnetic activity, plus Perseus has to mount Pegasus and hold a mirror on the moon while Luke Skywalker shoots two red lasers into a very tiny hole on the Death Star. Ok, some of that isn't true...

Moose Are Huge

I've seen them on National Geographic and even a stuffed one at the Anchorage airport, but until you see one in real life, gigantic and moving and with the potential to sit on you and crush you like a soda can, you don't really grasp their hugeness

Snow And Cold Stop Nothing

Typical conversation at work by the water cooler:
Man 1: It looks like it's going to snow.
Man 2: I heard on the news that we'll get two feet.
Man 1: And it's going to be -3ºF. Well, see you tomorrow.
Man 2: Yep.

Dressed For Winter

Ok, being acclimated is one thing, but walking out of any building in below-freezing weather, without a full ski suit is crazy. But, some people seem to have way better thermogenesis than I do, since I see, not one or two, but several people outside with shorts and/or t-shirts on.
A guy wearing shorts in a snow storm
I guess a hoodie and shorts are good enough to battle snowy 0 degree weather

Public Ice Skating Parks

This is a really cool amenity that I've seen at a few parks around town. I'm not sure if the locals decided to do this on their own or if the city prepares them, but there are free public ice skating rinks around town.

Drivers In Alaska

I figured people (locals and non-locals alike) would be experts at driving in the winter, but that is definitely not the case, given the number of fender-benders and abandoned cars on the side of the road. Plus, parking lots seem to be demolition derby territory, as I've seen numerous drivers cut across parking lots at full speed, not down the lane, but diagonally across spaces, and come to a sliding halt on the ice. I'm not sure if this is thrill seeking, road rage, or just normal. 

Alaska Business

Maybe it's like this in other cities/states/countries and I just never noticed, but there are so many businesses here with the word "Alaska" in their title. I see some "Anchorage" shops, but I see "Alaska"way more. 

Alaska vs. Texas

Texans are known for having big stuff, liking everything big, and being a big state. Alaskans think that's cute. If you say you're from Texas, as is my dad, you are just asking for a local to smile coyly and begin to politely ridicule your beliefs about size.

People Love Living In Alaska

I haven't been here long, so I can't say what it is, but the people who move to Alaska love it here. Not just like it, but LOVE it! I've met people who came here 10/20/30+ years ago and never left. That's a lot of winters to spend in Alaska. This first one is already kicking my butt. Alaska has yet to ensnare me with it's charm, but it definitely has with many others.

What Do You Think?

Locals, I already know you're going to give me some great feedback on this, so I thank you now in advance. People who are new to Alaska or who have visited, have you had any of the same observations/experiences? Anything to add?
Location: Anchorage, AK, USA


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