Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Fat Bird Has Landed

It's not often I get to say this but...I arrived safely in Anchorage and so, miraculously, did my luggage. I think the luggage fairies spared me this time. Instead, they had another little treat for me. At every single security check I went through (Glasgow, Amsterdam and Seattle), a little clutch of security people gathered around the x-ray machine to stare at my luggage. I was then made to open it and explain why my wellies were full of pens, chocolates and underwear. I knew it was a mistake when I did it, but a pair of wellies can hold a lot of pens and chocolates. The underwear was just to stop the pens and chocolate falling out. As always, I got my usual heavy petting at security at Schipol airport. This time, they also fingered my knickers.

In another Yin/Yang type moment, on the plane from Amsterdam I had two seats to myself. Delicious. On the other hand, on the plane from Seattle to Anchorage I was seated between two large men whose testicles were, apparently, the size of watermelons, since they did that whole, annoying "I'm going to sit with my legs as far open as I can and squeeze you into a tiny little space" thing. By the time we arrived, I was squidged, pretzel-like into a two inch space in my own bloody seat. Still, I got my own back - I managed to spill cranberry juice on one of them and jabbed the other one in the ribs with my elbow when I was opening my peanuts. I also fell asleep and drooled all over one of them.

When I arrived at Anchorage, I was met by the lovely Elisa from Alaska Sisters in Crime who took me to Office Depot where I bought $200 of pens, pencils and paper. She then deposited me back at my hotel where it was room service and sleep. Of course, I woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 2am this morning (11am in the real world).

Today I am off to Aniak, the biggest of the villages I am visiting, and the only one which has an airport that can take a large plane (when I say 'large' I mean one that seats more than 12 people. I am currently sitting at the airport. And so begins the whole trauma of telling complete strangers your weight. The last time I was here, every time someone asked my weight, I shaved 20lbs off it, but added in "but I have heavy boots."

This time, I decided to be truthful, mainly because I could see the dawning look of horror on the face of the only man on our flight as, when each female passenger went up to the counter, they all, without fail...well, quite frankly, they lied. One woman must have shaved a whole 100lbs off her weight. She quite clearly was not 110lbs - unless she had bones made of helium. So, feeling very self-righteous, I told the truth. I walked up to that counter and said "Hello, my name is Donna and I weigh a horrible number of pounds." (Yes, dear reader, I will tell the Pen-Air staff all over Alaska, and people I am travelling with (who are, no doubt going to arrive in Aniak and tell everyone else - it's a small place after all), but I will not tell you.) Oh, and when I say I told the truth, I mean I only shaved 5lbs off my weight. Or maybe 10lbs, after that delicious Alaskan beer battered halibut and fries I had for dinner the night before. Despite my honesty, the Pen-Air check-in person looked at me dubiously and wrote in her notes - I'm not very good at reading upside down but I'm sure it said 'Passenger appears to be a compulsive liar - add at least 20lbs - 'heavy boots' my butt.'

So there we are. I am here, on my way to the villages and feeling very excited. Tonight there is a 'meet the author' event at the High School community library (I'm not sure which author they're bringing in for that, I hope they don't throw up out of nerves). And tomorrow I spend the day at the Auntie Mary Nicoli Elementary School in Aniak, which has around 60 students. Assuming I can get a wireless connection, more soon.

Bye for now, your Alaskan correspondent.


Dame Judith said...

Have a great time and don't get eaten by a bear.

Judy Bobalik said...

Yippee! I just love your posts from Alaska.

bookwitch said...

I can tell I'd better not go there then. I just tell people to mind their own business.

Maxine said...

What a great post, Donna. You skewer so many people, so effectively. I mean, of course, every sensible woman knows the dual usefulness of underwear as a packing tool, and of course we all have to suffer that man/leg thing - tell me about it on my daily commute, honestly!!

Anonymous said...

Elementary school? I thought you had passed that stage

Sally from Oz said...

LOL Donna I think you deal with the weight issue very well - we all know you love concrete lined boots :)

Fran from Tassie said...

The kids in Orford Tasmania will be again following your adventures with interest. (I pre-censor them and skip out some of the best bits like the testicles!)Looking forward to more!

Donna said...

DJ - I shall try very hard - although apparently they are all waking up hungry.

Judy - and I love your comments on my posts from Alaska :o)

Bookwitch - so do I, normally!

Maxine - makes you want to take a pin and deflate them...

Dad - I like to go back whenever I can, big kid that I am :o)

Fran - I shall try and censor myself a bit!

Kaye Barley said...

I love every word you ever write - and this is priceless.

Have a great trip and keep the presses rolling,please.

(heavy boots my butt made me snort)

helencaldwell said...

Great post! But why, with a welly boot full of pens, did you go and spend a further $200 on MORE pens? (If it was more chocolate I would understand.)
I always stuff my underwear inside my shoes when I pack. It saves valuable suitcase-space and stops my beautiful shoes from being squashed into weird shapes.

Tim said...

Always a pleasure to read your exploits Donna! Somehow I picture the human-sandwich as Lee Child readers. Still, sure there'll be plenty to make up for that during the trip.

Hagelrat said...

Just got sent your link because I have been muttering about packing up the cats and fleeing married life in favour of Alaska, I was just joking but now.....

Really enjoying the posts and the pics.

Watermelon man said...

Donna! You really need a course in the semiotics (wooh! triple word score!) of male posture. A man can't sit with his legs together, it sends out the wrong signals. It basically means: I'm gay. I thought you knew that. :-) Also, you only thought there was nobody sitting beside you on the flight from Amsterdam. The seat was acutally occupied by a man who made himself invisible just to please your notorious misanthropy. You'll be demanding the whole plane to yourself next :-) Hope you have a ball (not one of the testicular/watermelon variety).

Bobbie said...

Donna and her luggage arrived together! What a new adventure! Sounds like your flights were...uh...interesting and the security was as usual even more interesting. Will enjoy hearing about your travels and visiting there in Alaska. The bears will be slow and unable to keep up with you! so no worries about them! Here goes Donna! Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Donna said...

Kaye - thank you m'dear! Nice to see you here.

Helen - while I am here I will be seeing 250 children. Believe it or not, I already have enough chocolates, candy and cookies for all of them :o) However, I did buy the most enormous bag of Jolly Ranchers - just in case :o)

Tim - I don't recall them reading anything but the back of the peanut packet :o)

Hagelrat - it would definitely be worthwhile - thanks for stopping by :o)

Ewan - you left enough clues to let me know that Watermelon Man is you (don't flatter yourself by the way :o) ) And tomorrow I WILL have the whole plane to myself. Well, apart from the pilot. Hopefully. xxx

Bobbie - I hope you're right about the bears :o) Still, aslong as I can find SOMEONE slower than me I'll be OK.

Peter Rozovsky said...

where I bought $200 of pens, pencils and paper.

Oh, I get it. For the kids, not to stuff into your shocking pink Wellingtons.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Donna said...

Peter - the wellies were already full :o)

Peter Rozovsky said...

I always stuff shoes when I pack then. This serves the dual function of maximizing luggage capacity and preserving the shape of the shoes. Of course, I don't own nearly as many shoes as you do.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"