Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Alaska …
…. the air smells like you stick your head into the fire place after the fire went out. You don’t need a reading from a monitoring station to tell that the National Ambient Air Quality Standards are violated in the valley. The cold air of 20 below (-28.9oC) bites the face worse than searching for something with bare hands in a freezer. The rising full moon looks obese. Its light reflects on the snow illuminating the road house somewhere out in the middle of nowhere on the Old Steese Highway, one of Alaska’s only seven highways. The night is crisp and clear. The dancing aurora hides the Big Dipper once in a while like a green veil of a middle eastern belly dancer.
In this harsh solitude, the roadhouse seems like an oasis in a desert, but with an opposite sign temperature wise. Inside the roadhouse, the old furnace fails to heat the air to exceed 63F (17oC). Smoke from the cigarettes of the five people hanging out at the bar and the pool billiard players creates a hazy scene. Thru the haze the outfit of the lady behind the bar lets you believe for a moment to have time-traveled to the Alaska of the gold rush. Three couples sway on the dance floor to It’s now or never. Two other couples sit at two tables like marble statues. At another table, strategically close to the dance floor, two highly educated midlife women in their late 40s, maybe early 50s with a glass of champagne and a bottle of beer chat with an eastern European and another indistinguishable accent, respectively.
“…. my favorite Bond movie is Tomorrow never dies.” “I haven’t seen that one. Who was the actor?” “Pierce Brosnan.” “I must see that. He is cool.” “Yep. He has great hair. I like him better than the new Bond. The new has too few hair on his head – in my opinion.” “What do you mean?” “Have you never observed at a beach that the total number of hairs on a man is a constant? Few hair on top or wearing a hat when none would be needed correlate notably with being hairy like a monkey. It’s too expensive to send them to a wax every week!” she replies looking as serious as the news-speaker on CNN when reporting about some riots in France. Only her retro navy blue fit-and-flare dress with high U-boot neckline would not meet the CNN-news dress code. “Ouch. Right. Never thought of that!” the beer drinking gal in her chimney-sweeper inspired outfit replies in the silence while the DJ swaps CDs.
Don’t cry for me Argentina yells out of the boxes that buzz like a grizzly being awakened in the middle of polar winter. She downs the rest of her beer in one shot when a guy looking like Harrison Ford in his late 50s steers towards the champagne sipping gal “Shall we dance?” “Sure” she replies. Her face changes as dramatically from serious to friendly like that of J Lo changed from sultry to serious in Shall we dance when she stopped demonstrating how to dance the rumba. A wood gnome wearing a pom-pom hat trolls towards the other gal. His eyes look like a lake reflecting the moonlight in his beard covered face. His flannel plaid-shirt’s sleeves are rolled up exposing his arms to the elbows. Wordless. His paws reach out towards her signaling his offer of a dance. For a short moment, she stares at his hands, and then looks like the smiley emoticon. While they trot to the dance floor, she mumbles shaking her head “… too much information … ” and then dances with the guy to the tunes under the kitschy lights of a disco ball left over from the time of the pipeline construction more than 40 years ago …
Focus Alaska is a weekly series on Alaska curiosa, insider travel tips, lifestyle, and street style. Read other Alaska stories giving glimpses on unpaved roads like the Dalton Highway, the Fairbanks International Airport where new Alaskans come from, or on an Alaska transfer site.
Posh chic winter work outfit
In the photo above, I am wearing a plaid skirt that I bought a while ago in Germany. I am into pink plus brown lately. Thus, I topped the skirt with a berry pink sweater, added brown opaque tights and booties to elongate the legs. I styled the outfit with a brown belt, brown bracelets, and a brown necklace. By adding my signature collier de chien bracelet I mixed metals to give the otherwise classic work outfit an edgy twist.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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