Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Bright lights, big(er) city.

Well that was fun. Like I mentioned, we went into Bethel this weekend to do some stuff and really, just to get away for a night. Which, I think, was about the perfect amount of time in Bethel, really. You see, we have this dog, and he's a bit...hyper. But yeah. One day was enough time to eat out a time or two, do some (okay, a whole lot) of shopping, and get back home without going too crazy. Not to say there wasn't craziness and a little frustration, but knowing we were headed home pretty quickly kept things from grating too hard, I think.

The problem with Bethel, it seems, is transportation-based. Not to say that transportation in Bethel is a problem in general, I obviously don't know the place well enough to judge that, just that it was a problem for us. We flew out after school on Friday afternoon with a few other teachers, and after the short, 10 minute or so flight, we were at the airport with some decisions to make. Namely, how do we want to do this? We had a short list of things we needed to do, as well as a couple things we'd like to do if we had time/a way to get there. Here's where the proper putting-of-things-into-order became crucial. we had gotten in just barely too late to get to the bank to deposit the cashier's check I'd brought with from my bank in Wisconsin, and they wouldn't be open again until, well, today because of the holiday weekend, so that plan was done for. The only thing remaining to do that night was to check in to our hotel and find something to eat.

After grabbing a taxi and checking in to the Longhouse again (which you may remember as the place we stayed when we were weathered in Bethel back in March), we walked over to the pizza place where we had made plans to meet up with Christina and Richard. We sat down, and since we were a little early, in true Wisconsinite style ordered some delicious fried cheese as an appetizer. Now, I don't know if I've mentioned this in passing in any posts before, but Sara has a little mantra that she's learned from living up here a few years that I'm trying to take to heart my cheap self..."Just don't look at the prices. It's not worth it, you'll just get upset." I'm learning quickly the wisdom of these words. You see, anything that gets out here for us to purchase likely wasn't produced within, oh, a thousand miles or two. Combined with the fact that there aren't even any roads on which to truck said products to us consumers, and you can see how the overhead might make things a little bit pricier that I'm used to. And being fairly cheap in the first place, it makes certain bullets harder to bite. But aaaaanyway...

So that was basically the extent of Friday night's excitement in Bethel, we poked around Swanson's until they closed and got an idea of things we'd look for while shopping the next day, then walked back to the hotel and were slugs and watched some Chapelle's Show until we fell asleep. Next day, we grabbed some "continental breakfast", a.k.a. watery coffee and one of those little boxes of cereal you remember from your childhood. Apple Jacks, yum. And here's where the transportation issues come into play. We're on a pretty good stretch of road, with a bunch of things within walking distance. the problem is, everywhere we want to go today is somewhere that involves purchasing things. And not just a couple things that can be thrown into a bag and carried with us to our next stop. We're talking lumber, gallons of paint, groceries to last us weeks, etc. That leaves us with the taxi, which are flat rates instead of by time or mile, and generally a pain in the butt. So along with Swanson's (which is really three stops: the hardware store, the lumberyard, and the grocery store), we also hoped to get to Subway...an honest to god chain fastfood place, akin to civilization...as well as the A.C. Which would require some fancy taximanship, loading up from Swanson's, one of us being dropped of on the way to the airport, while another took our massive quantity of stuff we'd purchased to the airport. This seemed like a good plan, until we got through at Swanson's and decided that, yeah...Subway's not worth it, not even now. Let's just go to the airport. Mind you, this is the sanitized, hindsight version of the transportation saga. At the time there was much debate and deliberation. Long story short, or I guess pretty long at this point, is that I think it will be a lot easier to get around Bethel, if maybe not to Bethel, once winter sets in and we can just take a snowmobile the 15 miles or so.

So after getting everything boxed up and to the terminal at the airport we got out of Bethel around 24 hours after getting there...a few hundred dollars lighter in the bank account and a few dozen pounds overweight with freight for our flight back (each passenger is allowed 40 lbs of luggage/freight on the bush planes...we were at about 130 between the two of us). And after getting our stuff home from the landing strip and surveying the damage done by Loki and hearing the tales of his dual dogsitters, I must say it was good to be home and not have to worry anymore. Either about how he was doing or how we were going to get to the next place we were going.

And that's the long, rambling story of the Bethel trip. Exciting, huh? Well at least we got right on the ball with using the painting supplies...I'll have to post before and after pics of the living room soon...remind me, ok?

3 comments:

Ay'atang'aq said...

Ahh... that sounds JUST like home...

Christina. said...

I sorta hate to tell you this but the trip (by snowgo) is more like 26-30 miles. Not 15. I can't wait to make the trip with you both!

Shibby said...

Yeah, I meant to say that actually, that I wasn't sure how long the trail would be in the winter, considering the 15 miles is as the crow flies, and I wasn't sure if we'd have to follow the river down to the Kuskokwim and then up, or if it was overland, etc. So yeah, point taken...but it'll be a fun ride, I'm sure!! :-P