Monday, August 8, 2011


After breakfast the next morning with Vic and the other guests I walk through a misty rain, across the park and about mile past nondescript office buildings to the Anchorage Museum.  A free shuttle goes to the Alaska Native Heritage Center so I decide to start there and I jump aboard for the half-hour drive down Glenn Highway through the outskirts of Anchorage. The Heritage Center is small but welcoming. In the back of the center gravel road circles around a small pond, along the road are a half a dozen native structures. Inside high-school aged guides mix information about their heritage with tales of how eating polar bear can turn your hair grey overnight. I visit a bit with adorable sled dog puppies but decline a $10 ride in a wheeled “sled” pulled by a dozen excited dogs who are much skinnier than my image of sturdy and thickly coated huskies.  I frequently wander off from the group, taking shelter in the lodgings from the drizzle and catching snippets of the guide's talk, photographing my first totems and a  strange looking whale skeleton.

After making the loop I hop back on the shuttle for a return to the Anchorage Museum, a huge modern building with walls of glass. Opened in 1968, it expanded greatly over the years with the help of Alaska's flood of oil money. I study the paintings carefully, then go upstairs and find an excellent exhibit by the Smithsonian of Native Alaskan Cultures.  I spend a long time looking at the amazing craftmanship. 

By this time I am getting hungry, leave the museum to find a place to eat and I walk into a tiny lunch place called the White Spot CafeThis turned out to be an excellent choice, a real local hangout where I have the best Halibut sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Then I finally return to the B&B to give into my jet lag and sleep for 12 hours.


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