Monday, July 10, 2006

Unalaska, Alaska Journal Entry 1

Yesterday I arrived to the Aleutian island upon a PenAir island hopper to the breathtaking view of jagged cliffs of green earth comparable to the photographs I have seen of Ireland or Iceland. The runway suddenly appeared when descent seemed to have reached conclusion, parting a ceiling of cloud cover reaching no higher than five hundred feet. Destination for my summer had been reached and a warm face greeted me at the single-runway airport of Dutch Harbor, a commercial portion of the island flooded with various representations of a predominate fishing industry.

My gracious host immediately introduced me to peers of the community at the village’s only hotel where the four of us were served a hearty midday meal by Darlene, whose background of alcoholism and subsequent court ordered banishment and eventual reintroduction was revealed. Everyone here, like any other one of us, has a story to tell. Only in this isolated location, it becomes common knowledge to all settlers and one particular visitor in a fashion similar to that of a small town highschool.

After our meal, my gracious host and I departed the resort for an introduction to the living quarters I will reside in for the next five weeks. A pleasant one bedroom home separated from a family with two younger children (privacy, however, I do not foresee becoming any discomforting issue). After unloading my baggage, we stepped back into a familiar truck for a tour along one of the few routes that escape the community’s nook located at the mouth of Unalaska Bay, which is an inlet of deep blue connected to the Bering Sea. The steep rural hillsides were shrouded with the typical vegetation of a tundra in winter recession and a private land fenced from nearly all possibilities of exotic introduction.

A late afternoon rest would follow the brief tour, which allowed time for mental clearance and realization of my new surroundings and the familiarity I will develop with it. Then it was a thrust into civilized life including a trip to the town’s grocery store, a stir-fry dinner and a late night where I was introduced to friends of my gracious host and two of the island’s three taverns.

I feel blessed to be able to spend the next month-plus in seclusion from the mounting stress of life on the mainland. Such detail is expended upon everyday life here that one can find himself forgetting that there exists a world of international distress. Yet, life appears to resemble one of any other American - minus the assortment of entertainment choices found elsewhere and a stronger link to the extreme weather conditions.

9 comments:

Kit Carson said...

Glad you made it. Look forward to reading more. Tell you gracious host I said what's up. Take good care.

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