Monday, July 7, 2014

Land Of The Midnight Sun

It has been a few weeks since returning from part one of my Alaskan voyage.  What a whirlwind of a month and a half it has been.   I needed some time for the realization of  this whole experience to sink in.  It was an incredible trip which I will now start to share.   When I started this blog a few years ago, and began my research into my Grandfathers war experience, I had no idea where it would take me.  Well, actually that is not an entire truth, I knew the direction I wanted it to go, I just never imagined the scale in which it would manifest.   And really, I still do not.   This is, by no way, over.   It does not matter how many times these things repeatedly happen in my life, it never ceases to amaze me when my visions comes to fruition.    When I look back in wonderment, the one common denominator, is the presences of an undeniable gut feeling that whispers "This is the way".  And it is from that feeling that I move forward.  If I was to collect a dollar every time I received the look of doubt and disbelief from my friends and family when I tell them an idea or feeling I have.... boy, I would be one wealthy women.   I mean some of my aspirations are out there and seem so unrealistic or unattainable that, heck, even my own logical mind tells me I am pushing it sometimes.  But it is a darn good thing my gut speaks louder (most of the time)  because  it has gotten me to this point so far.    Anyways, on to the juicy details of my adventure.  Since there is so much to write about, I thought I would break it up through out the next few weeks.  So keep checking back.   

Flying into Anchorage.

We landed in Anchorage 3 hours late, around 11 p.m., after a long flight delay.  (United Airlines, I will spare you the embarrassment and refrain from sharing with everyone the travel nightmare I experienced with your  It was daylight still which was nice in a way because it gave me a chance to see some of the city on my taxi ride to the hotel.  It was after midnight when I checked in, and even after 19 hours of traveling I was still up for a walk.  So off I went.  At 1 a.m.,  I walked four downtown blocks to get myself some bottles of water. Crazy.  The streets in Anchorage were spattered with near by club goers.  Along the way, I passed several people, although slightly sketchy, walking on the sidewalk.  When I finally got back to my room I had to force myself to close the curtains so I could go to sleep.  The continual daylight was actually one of the hardest things to get used to.

View from my hotel room around midnight.

When I awoke bright and early the next morning, I opened the curtains only to find the same amount of sunlight shining as when I had shut the drapes 5 hours earlier.    It is a workaholics dream.     I mean, my body is so in tune with its circadian rhythm that I instantly feel sleepy as soon as the sun goes down and the opposite when the sun rises no matter how late I go to sleep.  That being said, the sun never went down so I never felt sleepy unless I intentionally made the room dark and laid down.  If I lived there year long I could really envision myself working non-stop during the summer.  Obviously, the flip side to this is the amount of darkness Alaskans experience when it is winter, in which case during that time I would most likely become bear like and hibernate eventually leading to my unemployment and homelessness.  Not so good.  

In the morning, as I sat fireside sipping my java in the impressive Anchorage Sheraton lobby,  I began a long conversation with one of our United flight attendants who unnecessarily  kept trying to apologize about the previous night's flight debacle.  She was very sweet.  Even gave us free beer during the flight to try to smooth things over... until they ran out not even half way though the seven hour trip...Yep.  It turns out her grandfather was a WW2 vet.  Although not in Alaska she still had some great stories to share.  Also, on this morning, the lobby was filled with many members of the Air Force all running around in their flight suits. Very neat.  They were in Anchorage for a training at Elmendorf Air Force Base located close by.  Talk about adding some authentic ambiance to my trip.

Here is my Papa with his flight suit.  
Looks like he is just securing the parachute to complete his ensemble. 

After that it was back to my room for a quick shower and off I went, on foot, to the next adventure- meeting the rest of my shipmates...

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