Friday, October 15, 2004

Alaska America

This Canadian Thanksgiving weekend we traveled into Alaska America for a few days. We were greeted at the Alaskan border by a stern officer who needed to know, amongst other things, what our occupations were and when we were required to be back at work. These questions are really fun to answer when you're a distance student attending a university on the other side of the country and a freelance animator/artist. I guess we didn't resemble any of the arab headshots I saw photocopied on a stack of papers with "Al Qaeda" written across the top in black marker, because we were allowed into America.

Overall we had a wonderful time. We drove from cold dry inland climates, through mountains and glaciers, in and out of tundra and ended up on the mild damp coast where it's still fall and the leaves are still yellow and on the trees.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but here are some observations;

1. Every sign on the side of the road we passed as soon as we entered Alaska was full of gun shots. Do Canadians get through the boarder and celebrate their right to bare arms by shooting every sign they pass?

2. Camping in America is like camping in a whiring, humming refrigerator. Everyone, with the exception of one other couple tenting with their volvo, had offensive RVs with at least one generater. All of these generators together formed a pitch that I'm sure is on par with the noise produced by any nuclear power plant. Nature anyone?

3. Having learned that Alaskans recieve a check every October from the Republican government for a percentage of revenue earned from oil and gas produced by the state, I was a tad frightened of what we might encounter so close to the election. We were delighted to find a few Democrate signs littering lawns, vegan organic cafes, local entrpreneurship, dreadlocks, the most beautiful libraries I've ever seen, wildlife rehabilitation sights and lots and lots of protected park land.

Trip highlight: buying used backcountry ski gear off the Mayor of Skagway for a tidy price.

Animal encounters? We saw a frosty dead raven, 3,500 (according to a travel guide, I'd say we saw around 200) eagles (or "symbol of American freedom") feeding on chum salmon, swans heading south and a little mouse running under an outhouse.

On the way back through customs entering Canada we were asked if we had puchased any tabacoo products. Then we were asked to proceed. No wonder we're accused of harbouring terrorists.


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