Saturday, January 24, 2009

And for your next trip by air, please remember Alaska Airlines since we are your only option...

Over the past 5 months, I have been in and out of airports all over Alaska, becoming an expert at Arctic air travel. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as being an expert up here. You are strictly at the mercy of the weather and the airlines. When I say airlines, I mean Frontier, which runs from Atqasuk to Barrow, and Alaska Airlines, which covers the rest of the state.

Last night I was supposed to fly out to go to my class in Fairbanks. Of course with my luck the plane that flew into Atqasuk got a flat tire and made the rest of the flights run late. I ended up being stranded in Atqasuk because by the time I would have left the village and made it to Barrow, my flight to Fairbanks would have left already, or so I was told. I promptly called Alaska Airlines to rebook for this morning, so that I would at least make it to one day of class.

This morning I board the plane and make it to Barrow on time, no problems whatsoever. When I check in for my Fairbanks flight, I was told that I would have made it and that Frontier had told me incorrect information. Grrr.... Anyway, I was rebooked and made it to Anchorage...wait, I was supposed to be in Fairbanks. What the heck am I doing here?

Currently, I'm sitting in Anchorage, waiting for my flight to Fairbanks. I needed to go all the way south and then head back up because the morning flight does not go to Fairbanks after Barrow. What that flight does do is go to Prudhoe Bay, where a bunch of oil workers are. They then proceed to get drunk on the flight to Anchorage and make for quite the entertaining trip. I've never heard the f-bomb quite so many times in a five minute conversation.

Luckily, I'm about to board and head on my way, destined for shopping and good food tonight and class tomorrow. At least all this trouble makes for interesting stories.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to school

Today was the first day back after our long Christmas vacation. Students seem to be running on empty and one of mine was bragging he didn't sleep at all last night. It was really great to be back with them and we had a wonderful day. They all seemed excited to be back at school, although the transition seemed to be a little rough for them (me too, I guess). I was thoroughly drained by the afternoon, ready to crawl up on my desk and take a nap.

Many of the kids seem to still be out. I was still missing two of my students today. Apparently flights still seem to be a little screwy. My principal was supposed to fly in last night, but didn't make it back until this morning. Traveling in the arctic is always an adventure.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Half Way There!

Christmas break is nearing the end and I've made it back to Atqasuk after two wonderful weeks at home. My time spent back in Wisconsin and Minnesota was full of great people and good food. I definitely feel a little more recharged and ready to face the rest of the year. My trip home and back was relatively uneventful and I'm extremely thankful for that, especially after seeing how many people got stuck somewhere on their holiday travels.

It's a good feeling to back in the village, too. I came home this afternoon and began the long, tedious task of unpacking my numerous boxes that I had shipped up here. Just as I was finishing up making dinner, I heard a strange noise coming from the drain of my sink. I didn't think too much about it until I ran some water to get a drink. All the water that ran down the drain began leaking from the pipes under the sink. Our plant manager, Mel, is always on call, so I gave him a quick ring and he said he would be right over. Not two minutes after I hung up the phone I heard running water coming from the bathroom. In a panic, I ran to the bathroom to see my toilet overflowing with blue water, obviously from somebody's laundry machine. Next thing I know, there's an inch of water on the floor and my bathtub also has water coming up through the drain. Welcome back to the arctic.

Apparently, there is a freeze somewhere in the drainage pipes and I'm the only one in the 4-plex that is having this issue. Wonderful, I get somebody else's waste water in my apartment, just perfect. I also have to wait until tomorrow to get it fixed. Luckily, there is an empty apartment in the building, so if I need to use the bathroom, at least I can go over there. Too much fun...