Chit chat at the office about an out-of-state shopping trip
The sun shines into the room with full length glass windows. Inside, light varies putting up shadows from steam that passes the sunbeams outside. The clock at the wall reads 8:00. Two women are standing at the coffee pot in line while a third fills her cup. The room smells like a mix of cookies, coffee, perfume, dust and dogs.
“Long time, no see” says the woman when she turns around and looks at the two women next in line. “Yep, what have you been up to lately?” answers one of them. “Oh, nothing. I just came back with the red eye from the Lower 48 with two baggage tonight.” “What did you buy?” “13 pairs of shoes for me and 4 for my hubby” she replies. “And you?” “Oh I brought a dog from Africa into the country and it did not even have to go into quarantine” says the other woman.
There are more dogs in Alaska than humans
“How did you do that?” “I didn’t do anything. There was a woman with seven hams in front of me with a bunch of kids.” she replies. “They were just interested in the hams and annoyed by the kids. They even let me use their outside area for my dog. You know the sniffer dogs’ restroom.” “Hmm, I have never thought about that they need that from a logistic point of view. But why were they so interested in the ham?” “Because it is raw meat and you are not supposed to bring raw meat or food from overseas” the third woman says. “Where did you go thru customs?” “SEATAC.” “Of course, SEATAC is Alaska’s front door. The custom officers know there are more dogs in Alaska than Alaskans. It’s not suspicious when an Alaskan travels with a dog!” another woman says. Everyone laughs. Then she asks “What kind of dog is it?” “A big one, something out of everything, at least, it looks like that. Here is a photo” she says when pulling her cell phone out of the back pocket of her jeans.
Fashion shopping in the Interior
This conversation at an office coffee place is a typical one in Interior Alaska. What you don’t get at the biggest local grocery store you won’t get anywhere in town. Therefore, nobody is irritated or surprised when someone has 2 baggages full of shoes. When you want something of good quality, fashionable or beyond the Alaska classic shoes (e.g. Double H, Xtra Tuff, bunny boots, Sorel, lobben boots) there is no other way than either flying to Anchorage or out of state or ordering it online.
A red-eye flight is an Alaskan normal
Also nobody says something about a red-eye flight. A red-eye flight is an Alaskan normal that fails to be a normal in other states. Alaskans have to take red-eye flights whenever they want to get anywhere on the East Coast within 24 hours. It is faster and easier for a Fairbanksan to fly to Frankfurt, Germany in summer than to Washington, DC. The former trip is 9 hours, the latter takes about 17 hours.
However, bringing in a dog from abroad without having it to go into quarantine is a big thing even in a state with on average more than two dogs per household. And Alaskans do weird things with their dogs…….
When you found this story interesting please share it with your friends by tweeting them In Alaska, 13 pairs of new shoes is no news, but a new dog is news.
What have you been up to lately? Would you asked about what kind of shoes the woman bought? Or would you have asked about the ham or the dog? Would you be irritated when nobody feels pity for your being at work after a red eye flight? Would you buy 13 pairs of shoes for you on one shopping trip? Let me know, I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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