Saturday, May 31, 2008

Day 4 Sticker Shock Day

Laura took all of us into town to buy food and supplies to the one real store they have here, appropriately named the Arctic Central, or AC. You can get groceries, clothes, videos, snowmobiles, ATV's--Etc--I always thought Hawaii was expensive, this place makes Hawaii look like Walmart--Some samples--milk 1 gal $9.79, Oranges $2.69 pound, Loaf of bread $5.95, 18 count carton of eggs 7.69. those little packets of Crystal light for individual bottles of water that i thought were insanely expensive at $2.99 in San Jose are $7.69--on sale--
Everything heavy comes in by barge, once a year in July or by Cargo Plane--they can bring cars or trucks either way, by barge adds $2,000 per vehicle, by plane $4,000. The whole years supply of gas is brought in by barge once a year in July and the Bourough sets the price for the next year. Currently it is $4.55 a gallon. The cheapest thing in the store was cup of soup at 2/$1.00--interestingly enough that is what most of the high school kids bring for lunch--no suprise.
The sun came out for a little bit today and we could actually see blue sky, It is always light out but mostly always cloudy and/or foggy--but the warning is that when it is sunny you better be wearing 30-50 sunscreen, Laura has a couple of nasty looking spots on her left cheek that are sunburned patches that got frozen later.
Tomorrow we'll go into the heritage center and see some crafts that the Inuit make to sell--
I'll attach a couple of pictures to dispel all the nasty rumors that I'm the one stuffed frozen in the freezer, not the bunny.

Friday, May 30, 2008

End of day 3

Well today is the end of the first week, actually the first three days, but it Friday and they don't offically work on the weekends but that, of course is subject to change. The exciting news is that they moved me, Tony and Andrew to a house, now don't get too excited, its not a house like you are used to thinking of a house, but this is Barrow, you must remember. It's a whole lot better than the dorm type situation we were in, which was doable but in reality it was a bunch of used cargo containers, stitched together and broken up into rooms, warm and dry but not a whole lot else. I'll try to attach pictures of our new abode which may not seem like much but we like it. We still have the same great deal on food, we can eat at the cafateria if we want--3 times a day and the food isn't bad, or the two restrauants in town will take our BASC (Barrow Arctic Science Consortium) or the BASC lead person will take us into town, all of 3 miles away and buy us anything we want IF we want to cook. We are being treated really well. We've been working in the lab cleaning artifacts and wood and whalebone from the last three fieldseasons. The lab and the building its in are state of the art, and all the supplies are brand new. This site has a ton of artifacts and debris. I'll try to attach a picture of one of them. The high school kids are just that, high school kids but the culture here is real different. It is a small place they all know each other, of course, and seem to get along really well but the boys especially are into horseplay and dorking around and the girls just kind of put up wiyth them. Two of the 17 year old boys already have babies, and they don't treat it lightly--the girls phyliosophy as stated by one of them is "no glove, no love", so that part seems to have gotten through to them at least. The kind of accomplishments that they recognize are different---one of the kids was congradulating one of the other boys for getting his first walrus--to them it is subsistance and survival. The whaling crews took 9 Bowhead whales this season and the redistribution feasts will take place sometime this month, on various days for the different captains, everyone is welcome and anyone can take some of the meat or blubber or muktuk(skin). All they ask is that you don't waste it. If you take it use it or give it to someone who will. This is a poor town, all of the buildings are up on posts to keep them off the permafrost, otherwize they would just sink into the ground, when it thaws in the spring. Almost all of the houses are totally devoid of paint, there is NO green. No Grass, no trees, no bushes, no landscaping. Everything is brown and white, dirt and snow. there is still 1-3 feet of snow on the ground and the sea ice hasn't even started to move. It is white jumbled ice as far as you can see. the only buildings that are maintained are goverment buildings, and the Wells fargo Bank building. I'll take some pictures and try to attach them.
Monday we go out to the point and start to really work, we ride honda ATV's out, its about a 30 minute ride and we spend 8 hours out there, sometimes longer if we find a burial. We got checked out on the ATV's yesterday, it was very cold! and those damn things tip over very easily!! (Through no fault of my own you must understand). Perry, one of the bear guards, will not be with us, his grandfather just died and he'll be gone for the week, so we'll see how that goes. That's about it for now, I'll add more as I can--

Thursday, May 22, 2008

D Day -5

Counting down to departure--5 days to go, trying to make sure I haven't forgotten anything important and trying to wrap up all the loose ends from school and business--not gonna happen but I still have to try.
I've shipped up 4 --30 pound boxes including the roto hammer and I'm taking 2 50 # suitcases with me plus electronic gear.