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April 15, 2005

Ice Friends

Anchorage. Both my buddies, Dave and Mike, were busy during the day, and I got in early in the afternoon, so I called our Alaska UNAVCO guy, Ben, to see if he wanted to meet about some photos I had taken for him of a site up by Toolik. Ben was great. He picked me up at the airport and brought me back to the UNAVCO office in Anchorage, where we chatted and looked at the photos I had brought back. When we were done, he took me to my hotel.

Dave had suggested I try Priceline to get a room in Anchorage for us to share. You can put in a price limit and one or to requirements and if a hotel accepts your bid, there you go. You've got a room. We put in $40 to stay at a three-star hotel, which was the nicest option. We ended up with a room at the Millenium. I was excited about the idea of staying in a somewhat upscale hotel, though I didn't (don't) know exactly what three stars imply. The lounge was lavish-looking, with dark wood and lots of dead animals pinned up on the walls. I was excited to see our room. Until I got my key card and started walking towards it. Do all hotels have a special skanky part for cheapskates like Dave and myself? I started down a less-lavish-looking hallway with tacky, well-used carpeting, and the hallway just kept going and me with it. Going. Going. Room 1049 was just about at the end of the maze (I hope) and was definately not worthy of the hundred-some-odd dollars they usually charge for a room. I can't imagine they'd put anyone but us internet gamblers in a room like this--at least I hope they wouldn't. The room was fine and all, but certainly not luxurious. The lighting was a poor yellow-orange and one of the bedspreads had holes in it. So, not exactly what I was hoping for, but then we were only paying $25 each ($40 plus taxes).

I took a nap. I read. I lounged, and relaxed. Around six, Dave arrived from Seward. Hooray Dave! We were both starving. We had gotten a call from our dear Elizabeth and Julie and Tad, other friends from the ice that happened to be convening in Milwakee, and played a little phone tag. Called them back, left a message, and then they called us back. We got to talk to all three of them, which was a treat since I hadn't talked to any of them since leaving New Zealand last month. When Dave and I got off the phone we swung into action. It was time for food.

We ate pizza at the Bear's Tooth, which was great, and talked about betting on whether Mike would show up. I've got good news and bad news, he'd told us before we left for dinner. The good news is I've sold my truck. The bad news is I need to take care of it now. So, so much for dinner with Dave and Mike. But dinner with Dave was great and drinks with Dave and Mike were still in order. We'd started talking about placing bets on whether Mike would join us for drinks even, at a place called Bernie's where Dave had ordered a beer and I was settling in for a night of fruity Martinis. Shortly into our second drink, Mike showed up, with his friend Sam in tow. Mike said he was halfway to the bar when Sam called and told him to pick him up, a worthwhile excuse for being late since it was great to meet Sam. In fact, I still owe Sam $20 for all the cosmos I drank. Sam, if you're out there, know that I'll getcha back.

It seemed like an early night, Mike having to work the next day and Dave having to get up early for a flight to Oregon, but it was probably after 1 AM by the time Dave and I got to sleep. He woke me in the morning for a hug goodbye and was on his way.

Posted by beth at April 15, 2005 2:00 AM