Greetings from Homer, Alaska, where the seagulls bully the bald eagles and 50 pound halibut fish are the norm. A drinking town with a fishing habit, Homer is the embodiment of Alaska. The state of Alaska, with the exception of the city of Anchorage, offers the rare attraction of witnessing nature untamed.
Travel thirty minutes outside of Anchorage and you see mountains that look like those sold on water bottles. Charter a boat and you may catch a fish larger than Shaq (I reeled in five halibuts, keeping the 32 and 80 pounders). Pull to the side of the road to take a leak in the woods and fear that a grizzly bear will pop out and tear your face off. Alaska is the one place I’ve been thus far that humans have not conquered.
And did I mention that in four days of being in the state, we did not experience what the lower 48 calls ‘nighttime?’
We arrived on summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The sun sets at approximately 11:38pm and rises at 3:21am in Anchorage. When I went to sleep in Homer, the sun peered through the blinds. Watching the World Cup at Eddie’s Sports Bar at 11pm felt like a Saturday afternoon. What an odd place.
Other Alaskan tidbits: the fish is overpriced despite the abundant supply Alaskans enjoy. The bill you pay at a restaurant compared to the food that you consume makes you wonder if locals are ripping off tourists year round.
There apparently is only one restaurant that any Alaskan will recommend no matter how far away they are to the restaurant itself. The name I do not recall, despite having heard it recommended a total of seven times.
Alaska allows you to disconnect from the entire world if you’d like. My example is that my friend and I, due to the fishing adventure we booked starting at 6:30am, prevented us from watching the deciding World Cup soccer match between our beloved Americans versus the Algerians. We made it a mission to avoid all human contact that day in order to watch the replay of the game that evening in our hotel room.
Avoiding the result of the game was not a problem on the boat. Captain Chuck and his grandson John only cared about one thing: catchin’ the big one. Our four and half drive back home was made in complete silence as we feared the radio would deliver news that the Americans did or did not advance. Our hotel was of no help to get the game, so we ended up at Eddie’s Sports Bar and isolated ourselves in a corner with Alaskan brewed beers.
On the television screen we watched England beat Slovenia. In the final seconds, the announcer delivered the news that we had been going to great extremes to ignore.
“And England celebrates simultaneously with the United States, who have just received a late goal from Landon Donavan to take the group and advance to the round of 16.”
Finally, the news had broke.
That was Alaska. I don’t know if I will ever be back, but if I do, I will spend as little time in Anchorage as possible and go fishing.