Friday, April 30, 2010

Wolves, Honey Buckets and Wanted Posters

Well, here I am in Aniak. The flight was great fun. When I got on the plane, I realised that my seat did not have a window, so I asked the flight attendant if I could move forward to the very front.

"Of course," she said "We like to have as much weight as possible at the front."

"Thank you very much, glad to be of assistance," said Airplane Ballast.

Then we went through the usual flight safety demonstrations - "This is how you work the seatbelt." She used my knee as a rest for the intercom phone as she demonstrated. "Here are the emergency exits. Sick bags are up the front here - you'll need them." She was right. It was, shall we say, a slightly bumpy ride. I loved it.

She also announced the co-pilot as Warren Beatty. "No, wait, that's not right, it's Joe Beatty - he's not as good looking as Warren." It turned out that only I and the flight attendant knew who Warren Beatty was, so she announced to the rest of the plane. "This lady and I know - it's our age."

"So not only am I fat, but I am old and fat?" I said. She laughed and passed me a bag of potato chips (see how easily I slip into American?) to shut me up.

My luggage all arrived safely, and after settling in at Emily's I went down to the river for a walk. It's still iced over, but there are patches where the ice is very thin. It's also really, really muddy, and my pink Doc wellies sank up to the ankles in gloriously squelchy mud. Here are a couple of pictures - it's totally different from when I saw it last time. This photo was taken in the same place as the two photos that say Kuskokwim River 16 October and Kuskokwim River 23 October. While I was out on my walk I waved to a few people and they waved back. It's an amazingly friendly place - everyone leaves their door unlocked - if I was to do that in Glasgow I'd come back to find the place stripped and all the paint missing from the walls, swapped for a huge steaming keech in the middle of the living room floor.

Emily's husband made us the most gorgeous dinner with some of the salmon he caught last season (apparently, one day he caught 22 fish in an hour - what were they doing - jumping into his arms?) and we had a glass of wine (Aniak is a damp village - you can own alcohol but not sell it. Most of the villages in the area are dry - it's illegal to possess alcohol at all).

Emily and I also went to the store where I checked out the outrageously priced fruit and veg. As we went in, I got a bit of a shock. There was a poster on the notice board announcing "Donna Moore is Back!" I checked, but there was no "Reward Offered - Dead or Alive" at the bottom which was a bit of a relief, especially since most people round here have guns, knives and, very probably (and, of most concern to Airplane Ballast,) harpoons.

Last night it was still light at 11pm when I went to bed. I opened my window (it's really not that cold here, despite the ice and the remnants of the snow).

This morning Emily said to me "Did you hear the neighbours last night? I think they were having a party." The neighbours do not have running water or a flushing toilet, so, apparently, they were running the honey bucket out several times to empty it (where, I did not ask).

"No," I said. "But I heard the wolves howling at about 6am."

"Wolves?" said Emily, puzzled. "I think you'll find they were huskies."

I was almost as upset as when I found out last time I was here that what I had thought were the Northern Lights were actually the lights from the airport. The regular sweeping motion should probably have given it away, but there you go.

Today I am off to the Auntie Mary Nicoli Elementary School (all the schools here are named after an Elder). Happy, happy Donna - I get to spend the day with 55 four to eleven-year olds. More tomorrow.


1 comment:

bookwitch said...

Not to worry. I'm older and fatter still, and have heard of Warren. Don't particularly like him.