Saturday, September 01, 2007

Alaska Adventure Day 5: Downtown Anchorage

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Today we visited the Anchorage Market, an open air market downtown with various craft vendors, souvenir stands, and food. Our primary mission was to find the Tundra booth. We discovered Tundra, a comic strip that originated up here, on our first day, and we’ve become diehard fans. Arlene told us that the cartoonist has a booth at the market where we could buy books, t-shirts, etc., so we had to go check it out. We are now the proud owners of all four Tundra collections, along with a Tundra t-shirt and 2008 calendar. Other tourists buy native carvings; we buy comics.

Tony had fun drooling over the handmade, very expensive knives (I had to intervene to prevent him from spending $300 on a bowie knife with a handle made from elk antlers), and we all had fun eating: caramels made with birch syrup (not quite as good as maple syrup but not bad), funnel cake (feel your arteries harden with every bite), and a halibut quesadilla. Come to think of it, I’ve eaten some form of halibut nearly every day that I’ve been here. I think I’m starting to grow gills and develop eyes on top of my head.

We spent another couple hours roaming around downtown Anchorage, which is an interesting mix of tourist traps, stores frequented by the locals, and usual downtown businesses. Some of the kitschy tourist things are pretty entertaining, like the rare tundra snake:
Rare tundra snake

Good thing they aren't real.

Now we’re lounging around Arlene’s, taking a much-needed rest before venturing out this evening. Tonight’s quest: internet access. All the hotels we stayed in were supposed to have access, but in every case it either worked sporadically or didn’t work at all. I’m going through MySpace withdrawl, and Tony keeps wondering aloud if he has any new email. Yes, we’re pathetic.

We found internet access! Thank you, Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, my laptop battery gave out after about an hour, and there was no handy plug-in, but at least I got my MySpace fix. As I said--pathetic.

We also found something cooler than internet access--Point Woronzof Park. We left Barnes & Noble about 9:00 and decided to watch the sunset at the coast (note: the coast is about 15 minutes from B&N, and sunset was at about 9:30). This turned out to be a great decision. The view was amazing, not only of the sunset but also the moonrise, as the moon was nearly full. The pics below show the sun setting over Cook Inlet:




And the Anchorage skyline:
Anchorage skyline

Stay tuned for the next installment, in which we'll visit a reindeer farm, a musk ox farm, and the Alaska State Fair. It's truly a thrill a minute :-)

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