Day 1: We arrived safe and sound after a solid 28 hours of travel. We were full of excitement from the off, delighted to finally be on our way. We were slightly disheartened however when we realised after landing in Newark that we had another 7½ hour flight ahead, not a 4-5 hour flight like we originally imagined (I seriously underestimated the size of America). Our excitement really started to build however when we began to see this while flying over Prince William Sound;
Once we had acquired a car and squeezed all of our bags and equipment inside we headed to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Day 2: Work begins tomorrow, so we decided to take a trip into town today to explore and recover from all of the travelling. This is my first time in America (plus I’m a very excitable person) so naturally everything here fascinates me. From my first Dunkin’ doughnut, to my first Walmart trip, the big cars, the endless varieties of Ben and Jerry’s, the amazing accents, and I’m sure there’s plenty more to come!
But all the typically American things aside this state is just amazing. There’s just a calm here that I’ve never seen anywhere before. Nobody’s in a rush, cars drive by at a leisurely pace, even walking around downtown is so peaceful. Michelle said straight away on our flight from Newark to Anchorage that the atmosphere was completely different, there was a buzzing animated tone, and that the people on board were ‘a bunch of characters’. They certainly are! Absolutely everyone you meet is so polite and meet you with a hello, excuse me or even small talk on the street. It’s just a country full of big jeeps and big personalities.
We visited the Anchorage Museum first. Jammed full of history, art exhibitions, interactive science learning, a small live marine animal section and a very interesting temporary exhibition about plastic waste found at sea.
Afterwards we took a walk around downtown Anchorage and the first thing we noticed were the well thought out flower displays. Beautiful combinations of plants placed everywhere you look, many of which are commonly used back home. Here’s a few pictures of the plants in the town square;
Another thing that was very apparent was their use of animal materials; fur shops on every corner, items made from musk-ox wool, salmon skin, walrus whiskers and ivory, even whale baleen. So interesting and resourceful!
We stumbled upon a weekend market which sold local foods and crafts such as reindeer sausage (delicious!) and birch syrup. It gave us a nice insight into the culture, and let us soak up some atmosphere before returning to the hotel for an early night, as tomorrow will be a long day.
Tomorrow we visit our first site at Eklutna Lake. I’m very excited to get started and see where we’ll be working for the next week. From here on I’ll be talking a lot more about plants and our research, so hold tight!