Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back in Barrow

We made a short visit to Fairbanks on our way up to Barrow this time. It was a little odd to finally see it with snow, but it was reassuring that really so little had changed in three years (at least on the west side of town). Wish I had taken more pictures, but we didn't do much besides visit people on campus, go to Beaver Sports, and run other errands. On campus, I was asked to share some of my work via presentation and had a really good meeting afterward with folks working on similar questions. We were also invited to a very international potluck last night where we met more great people and ate lots of amazing food. Turns out that Alaskan winter ale tastes even better in October than it does in May. Lesson of the evening was that Fairbanks definitely has a way of getting under your skin, and I'm sure my many friends who have moved there can attest to that.

Arrival in Barrow this morning was a bit of a shock. Windy! It was also about the level of daylight we had at about 2 am towards the end of our last trip here in April. Definitely an adjustment, but at least the air temperature is a bit warmer at the moment. We promptly set about getting settled in a new (to us) hut. We bemoaned the absence of some of our previous field members, so Paula and I set about documenting it for them.

Unfortunately, our first subject was lunch. Yes, that is indeed burnt toast. And burnt toast is really only very good if you are referring to a bed and breakfast in Ann Arbor. At least we have nice views.

This evening, we were joined by two more team members and decided that Pepe's was the easiest option for dinner. Pepe's North of the Border is a Barrow institution, they even have complimentary certificates for crossing the Arctic Circle. The restaurant's owner brought Johnny Carson a giant walrus "bone" on the Tonight Show in the mid-80s, so I guess there's that as well.

Speaking of famous people, there is another film crew coinciding with our field work again. When we were here in April, On the Ice was filming and we were able to watch some dancers perform for it. This time, there's a Drew Barrymore film about the whales that were stuck in the ice about 20 years ago. Apparently they want to film outside of the hut we stayed in last time, which is how we ended up in our new digs. Between this and the movies made in SE Michigan a few years ago, I'm beginning to feel like I never left California. Well, besides the wind chill. Honestly, I'd be more excited if I get to see the northern lights again.

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