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Old 08-14-2009, 07:09 AM
 
Location: NC
21 posts, read 44,993 times
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wow! great pics...even the cities look lovely...love the mountains in the background;-)
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:29 AM
 
Location: Sevastopol city, Russia.
2,308 posts, read 3,247,652 times
Reputation: 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by City of Motor View Post
I'd like to visit Alaskan cities with a skyline.
Anchorage:


Fairbanks:

Juneau:
Thanks for pics! I had visited Anchorage. I like it.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:39 PM
 
31 posts, read 80,265 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureArchitect View Post
Ive been planning on visiting Alaska when I get older.
What is it Like?
Also what are some of the Best areas?

I WILL BE THE ONLY HONEST ONE ON HERE....ALASKA SI BEAUTIFUL IN THE SUMMERS..SOME PARTS IN THE WINTER..HOWEVER WINTER IS LONG LONG AND COLD...AND THE PEOPLE CAN'T DRIVE WORTH A DAMN..THEY SPEND MORE TIME IN THE DITCHES THAN ON THE ROAD. PEOPLE ARE MEAN AND NASTY AND DON'T HAVE EMPATHY FOR OTHER HUMAN BEINGS....OR SYMPATHY FOR THAT MATTER...THEY ARE LIARS, BACKSTABBERS, AND THAT'S EVEN IF THEY LET YOU GET TO KNOW THEM AT ALL...THEY ARE NOT FRIENDLY..I HAVE BEEN IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD FOR YEARS AND DON'T KNOW ONE PERSON..THE DAY I MOVED INTO MY HOUSE IN IDAHO...MY NEIGHBORS CAME TO WELCOME ME AND SOME EVEN HELPED US PAINT!! I KNEW EVERYONE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITHIN A MATTER OF MONTHS...AND WE ALL LOOKED OUT FOR EACH OTHER AND HELPED ONE ANOTHER...IN ALASKA...THEY DON'T! VISITING IS FINE ONLY IN SUMMER TIME...DON'T BOTHER ANY OTHER TIME. AND ONLY IF YOU WANT TO SIGHT SEE....OTHERWISE IT REALLY SUCKS..DON'T BOTHER VISITING ALYESKA IT'S OVERRATED AND $$$$$$$$$$$$$ AND THE FOOD SUCKS. I WISH I HAD TAKEN SOMEONE'S ADVICE PRIOR TO MOVING HERE...I HAVE REGRETTED MOVING AFTER THE FIRST 3 MONTHS...AND AM SO HAPPY I AM LEAVING THIS ISOLATED NASTY HELL HOLE JUNE 1ST...IF THERE WAS ANY POSSIBLE WAY TO LEAVE SOONER i WOULD!
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Bliss Township, Michigan
6,424 posts, read 12,567,636 times
Reputation: 6891
No need to yell.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,368 posts, read 36,282,384 times
Reputation: 13886
Quote:
Originally Posted by masterlu88 View Post
I WILL BE THE ONLY HONEST ONE ON HERE....ALASKA SI BEAUTIFUL IN THE SUMMERS..SOME PARTS IN THE WINTER..HOWEVER WINTER IS LONG LONG AND COLD...AND THE PEOPLE CAN'T DRIVE WORTH A DAMN..THEY SPEND MORE TIME IN THE DITCHES THAN ON THE ROAD. PEOPLE ARE MEAN AND NASTY AND DON'T HAVE EMPATHY FOR OTHER HUMAN BEINGS....OR SYMPATHY FOR THAT MATTER...THEY ARE LIARS, BACKSTABBERS, AND THAT'S EVEN IF THEY LET YOU GET TO KNOW THEM AT ALL...THEY ARE NOT FRIENDLY..I HAVE BEEN IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD FOR YEARS AND DON'T KNOW ONE PERSON..THE DAY I MOVED INTO MY HOUSE IN IDAHO...MY NEIGHBORS CAME TO WELCOME ME AND SOME EVEN HELPED US PAINT!! I KNEW EVERYONE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITHIN A MATTER OF MONTHS...AND WE ALL LOOKED OUT FOR EACH OTHER AND HELPED ONE ANOTHER...IN ALASKA...THEY DON'T! VISITING IS FINE ONLY IN SUMMER TIME...DON'T BOTHER ANY OTHER TIME. AND ONLY IF YOU WANT TO SIGHT SEE....OTHERWISE IT REALLY SUCKS..DON'T BOTHER VISITING ALYESKA IT'S OVERRATED AND $$$$$$$$$$$$$ AND THE FOOD SUCKS. I WISH I HAD TAKEN SOMEONE'S ADVICE PRIOR TO MOVING HERE...I HAVE REGRETTED MOVING AFTER THE FIRST 3 MONTHS...AND AM SO HAPPY I AM LEAVING THIS ISOLATED NASTY HELL HOLE JUNE 1ST...IF THERE WAS ANY POSSIBLE WAY TO LEAVE SOONER i WOULD!
Holy chit, you're still here? Thought the Waaambulance picked you up already?
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Bush Alaska
431 posts, read 709,188 times
Reputation: 247
Quote:
Originally Posted by masterlu88 View Post
I WILL BE THE ONLY HONEST ONE ON HERE....ALASKA SI BEAUTIFUL IN THE SUMMERS..SOME PARTS IN THE WINTER..HOWEVER WINTER IS LONG LONG AND COLD...AND THE PEOPLE CAN'T DRIVE WORTH A DAMN..THEY SPEND MORE TIME IN THE DITCHES THAN ON THE ROAD. PEOPLE ARE MEAN AND NASTY AND DON'T HAVE EMPATHY FOR OTHER HUMAN BEINGS....OR SYMPATHY FOR THAT MATTER...THEY ARE LIARS, BACKSTABBERS, AND THAT'S EVEN IF THEY LET YOU GET TO KNOW THEM AT ALL...THEY ARE NOT FRIENDLY..I HAVE BEEN IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD FOR YEARS AND DON'T KNOW ONE PERSON..THE DAY I MOVED INTO MY HOUSE IN IDAHO...MY NEIGHBORS CAME TO WELCOME ME AND SOME EVEN HELPED US PAINT!! I KNEW EVERYONE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITHIN A MATTER OF MONTHS...AND WE ALL LOOKED OUT FOR EACH OTHER AND HELPED ONE ANOTHER...IN ALASKA...THEY DON'T! VISITING IS FINE ONLY IN SUMMER TIME...DON'T BOTHER ANY OTHER TIME. AND ONLY IF YOU WANT TO SIGHT SEE....OTHERWISE IT REALLY SUCKS..DON'T BOTHER VISITING ALYESKA IT'S OVERRATED AND $$$$$$$$$$$$$ AND THE FOOD SUCKS. I WISH I HAD TAKEN SOMEONE'S ADVICE PRIOR TO MOVING HERE...I HAVE REGRETTED MOVING AFTER THE FIRST 3 MONTHS...AND AM SO HAPPY I AM LEAVING THIS ISOLATED NASTY HELL HOLE JUNE 1ST...IF THERE WAS ANY POSSIBLE WAY TO LEAVE SOONER i WOULD!
Holy cow.

Do ya'll think that if we passed the hat around or something we could scrape together enough change to buy this person a ticket out of Alaska?

Better question: Would it be cheaper to set her up with a thorazine drip?
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:43 AM
 
Location: Rappahannock County, VA
13 posts, read 49,926 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgrdr View Post
People who love Alaska are crazy about it. However, most people who transplant from Outside (the lower 48) leave within 2-3 years. Alaskans think it is because of the weather and we call the first snow of the season "termination dust," but that isn't the real reason. If the culture wasn't such a shock to people moving from Outside, more of them would learn to deal with the weather.

It is fabulously beautiful outside of Anchorage itself and Anchorage sits in a gorgeous spot. However, except for the downtown core of just a few blocks, which has improved in the last couple of years, our city is dumpy. We have bad streets, little land use planning that shows any sophistication, or even a nod to aesthetics, and old ramshackle looking buildings that just sprawl through the city. In addition, we have a high number of homeless people with nowhere to go during the day, and street drunks wandering the city day and night. When we drive, we have to watch out for them just like we have to watch out for moose because one never knows when they might suddenly wander into traffic. That's pretty depressing to see every day.

We have a lot of poorly built housing that was thrown up during the oil heydays of the 1970s and early 1980s, and really old housing from the 1950s & 1960s, all of which sells for very high prices. Outside a person can buy large, gorgeous homes for what we pay for 1960s and 1970s homes with only a one car garage, if we are lucky enough to get a garage. There are some new developments, but they are either outrageously expensive or shoddily built, depending, and they are further out of the city, like suburbs. Downtown, tiny condos that maybe have parking for only one car sell for very high prices rivaling what one pays for an entire house sitting on a large yard!

We pay more for everything, including gas, because we are a trapped customer base. There is no competition because the pool is so small.

The quality of service here is much lower than people experience and expect Outside as well. Never go anywhere in a hurry in Alaska because one will only end up having a stroke or something getting stressed out. Hire people to work on your home and they may or may not show up, and if they do, they may or may not do a good job. For sure, though, they will be very expensive, regardless. We have the slowest internet speeds in the country, and a more expensive cable company that provides less for the money. Even government agencies provide poor service compared to what most newcomers are used to. Usually it isn't even worth explaining to someone providing a service what it is you want that they aren't delivering, because they just look blank-they don't get it so a person is just wasting time trying to get the same sort of quality they are used to from Outside. And people tend to be quiet. You can go out shopping for hours and hardly hear anyone, at least adults, talking much. People are quiet and they move slow (except for some in their big pickups flying down the road). Even cashiers usually don't talk to customers, and that is disconcerting to people used to being acknowledged, smiled at, and thanked when they are customers.

There are a lot of unusual characters in Alaska, and we have more than our share of people who live here because they don't like other people very much. We also have a high crime rate because of our isolation and because bad people come here to hide. Surprisingly, we have more air pollution than we should and high rates of diseases like cancer (probably because we eat so much seafood).

In the winter it is light out only about 5 hours a day in Anchorage, and even less in the interior. In summer, it is light out at least 20 hours a day in Anchorage. The weather is hard on everything--houses, cars, skin, etc., but it is also sort of fun. I like driving in the winter because everyone slows down and it is fun bumping over the snow. It is something of a free-for-all sometimes, though, because we lose lanes to snow and there are many stretches and intersections where there are no traffic lines in sight. (When the snow melts in April or May, there are still no lines on large stretches of many of our streets.)

Alaskans like to think of ourselves as helpful and generous, but in actuality I don't think that is true for many of us, at least not compared to people in many other communities. Citizens here tend to be pretty self-interested, not caring what their property looks like to their neighbors, if they are infringing on their neighbor's quality of life when they put large objects and tall structures next door, who their dogs are terrorizing, and not wanting to pay taxes for social programs, city services, and general upkeep of the city and state. We pay the fewest taxes of anywhere else in the country, take in oil revenues, and tons of federal money, but still complain about the few taxes we do pay. So I'm not sure why we carry this myth of generosity about ourselves in our heads!

We have fewer consumer goods buying options and what we do have is more expensive. Frankly, just like the cable company and the other utilities, I think a lot of retailers take advantage of Alaskans by gouging us. The usual line is, "Well, it's Alaska!" But so what? This is 2009, not 1960. Technology alone should have made most things more reasonable. In addition, except in the summer when there is some local agriculture, our produce arrives old and it is expensive. Grocery stores here routinely sell things past their sell by dates, at full Alaska cost. There are a few large companies that ship things to us for reasonable shipping rates, but many will not ship here at all, and others that do, gouge us on the shipping.

Concepts like liability haven't caught up to us (which explains our political scandals) so it is routine to go into businesses and have to move things one Could fall over, or to live in buildings that have problems around it that Outside property owners wouldn't dare risk. I get a kick out of that actually. Even our medical providers break medical privacy laws as though federal law doesn't apply to them! I don't get a kick out of that.

Medical care is close to 30 percent more than Outside, and we have a small pool of providers so they have no competition. Most of them refuse to belong to insurance networks so we pay more out of pocket even when we have insurance. Frankly, it borders on price collusion with some of the specialists. Also, they lobbied and got some law passed that makes it basically impossible to ever file a malpractice suit against an Alaskan doctor.

One thing I really like about Alaska is that it is very casual. Also, all kinds of people rub shoulders, paying no attention to what makes each different from the other. Alaskans may not want to take care of their neighbors, but they don't care what their neighbors are wearing or doing either. In that way, it is a live and let live culture that is nice. Also, the politics up here are lively and interesting. The live and let live culture and the incredible beauty is why Alaskans who truly love Alaska, do so.

Hope that helps, and it is worth coming to Alaska just for the experience. Many consider it a young person's state because the weather, prices, and lifestyle get harder to take once a person is older. Just wait to buy a home and a house full of furniture until after you know you want to stay long-term, so that you don't end up one of those who have to sell everything off on Craigslist to leave in a hurry. (<;
I love that post. We're moving to Anchorage within the next few months, and I find it immensely helpful to read such a detailed post that doesn't lack the dose of reality that everyone moving to a different place is going to experience. Thank you!

Sabine
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
3,381 posts, read 8,772,685 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgrdr View Post
People who love Alaska are crazy about it. However, most people who transplant from Outside (the lower 48) leave within 2-3 years.TRUE

Alaskans think it is because of the weather and we call the first snow of the season "termination dust," but that isn't the real reason. Termination dust pertains to the first snow that we see on the mountains, knowing it is coming soon.

If the culture wasn't such a shock to people moving from Outside, more of them would learn to deal with the weather. TRUE

It is fabulously beautiful outside of Anchorage itself and Anchorage sits in a gorgeous spot. However, except for the downtown core of just a few blocks, which has improved in the last couple of years, our city is dumpy. We have bad streets, little land use planning that shows any sophistication, or even a nod to aesthetics, and old ramshackle looking buildings that just sprawl through the city. In addition, we have a high number of homeless people with nowhere to go during the day, and street drunks wandering the city day and night. When we drive, we have to watch out for them just like we have to watch out for moose because one never knows when they might suddenly wander into traffic. That's pretty depressing to see every day. Entire paragraph is spot on. Also, Anchorage is really dirty and dumpy looking during breakup until mid summer when they get most of the gravel and sand off of the streets.

We have a lot of poorly built housing that was thrown up during the oil heydays of the 1970s and early 1980s, and really old housing from the 1950s & 1960s, all of which sells for very high prices. Outside a person can buy large, gorgeous homes for what we pay for 1960s and 1970s homes with only a one car garage, if we are lucky enough to get a garage. There are some new developments, but they are either outrageously expensive or shoddily built, depending, and they are further out of the city, like suburbs. Downtown, tiny condos that maybe have parking for only one car sell for very high prices rivaling what one pays for an entire house sitting on a large yard! No offense to anyone, but all of this is true. The construction industry in Alaska consistently builds in poor quality.

We pay more for everything, including gas, because we are a trapped customer base. There is no competition because the pool is so small. Prime example is Target that moved in last year. They covered up the prices of what their sunglasses should be with Alaska prices and you could still see the old price. Old price $17.99 Alaska price $24.99. You see this all the time.

The quality of service here is much lower than people experience and expect Outside as well. This is true and I believe you see terrible service at restaurants because unlike many states servers get paid real hourly minimum wage. Many states allow servers to make much less than minimum wage allowing tips to make the difference. I believe this is why Alaskan servers tend to be awful.

Never go anywhere in a hurry in Alaska because one will only end up having a stroke or something getting stressed out. Hire people to work on your home and they may or may not show up, and if they do, they may or may not do a good job. For sure, though, they will be very expensive, regardless. References, references and references. You can avoid the issue of these type of companies being dependable. You cannot, however, avoid the crappy work or high price.

We have the slowest internet speeds in the country, and a more expensive cable company that provides less for the money. You will fall over when you see how much you are paying for internet service. It is slower and has monthly data limits.

Even government agencies provide poor service compared to what most newcomers are used to. Usually it isn't even worth explaining to someone providing a service what it is you want that they aren't delivering, because they just look blank-they don't get it so a person is just wasting time trying to get the same sort of quality they are used to from Outside. Go to the DMV on Benson, they are pretty quick everytime I am there. In and out in 20 minutes or less. I have had good luck with state agencies, but I don't deal with welfare type offices. Not saying the OP does, I am just thinking those offices are probably bogged down by the number of people getting assistance.

And people tend to be quiet. You can go out shopping for hours and hardly hear anyone, at least adults, talking much. People are quiet and they move slow (except for some in their big pickups flying down the road). Even cashiers usually don't talk to customers, and that is disconcerting to people used to being acknowledged, smiled at, and thanked when they are customers. I think this is false. Like most people, they will not say anything to you unless you initiate conversation. Many people will talk back and since many of them are 'isolated' people they'll start talking your ear off once you get them started. Or maybe that's your point. Alaskan's talk while we're doing our task but when we're done with our task we move on. If I am at the meat counter and start conversation with another customer behind me in line I will end that conversation once I receive my order and go on my way. I am not going to stand and talk to the other customer while they are getting their order as well. lol.....that's just silly. I always get greeted at stores and if I don't I say hello and always receive a positive response. Well, unless their dog just ran away or something like that.

There are a lot of unusual characters in Alaska, and we have more than our share of people who live here because they don't like other people very much. We also have a high crime rate because of our isolation and because bad people come here to hide. Surprisingly, we have more air pollution than we should and high rates of diseases like cancer (probably because we eat so much seafood). We do have strange characters. Japanses culture eats a lot of Seafood and they have very low cancer rates....so no too sure about this one. We do have a high rate of cancer in Alaska though (I say government experiments near by placing carcinogens in our water and air... ). Air quality in Anchorage is below the national average and on cold winter days it can be classified as HAZARDOUS by the EPA.

In the winter it is light out only about 5 hours a day in Anchorage, and even less in the interior. In summer, it is light out at least 20 hours a day in Anchorage. The weather is hard on everything--houses, cars, skin, etc., but it is also sort of fun. I like driving in the winter because everyone slows down and it is fun bumping over the snow. It is something of a free-for-all sometimes, though, because we lose lanes to snow and there are many stretches and intersections where there are no traffic lines in sight. (When the snow melts in April or May, there are still no lines on large stretches of many of our streets.) 100% true.

Alaskans like to think of ourselves as helpful and generous, but in actuality I don't think that is true for many of us, at least not compared to people in many other communities. Citizens here tend to be pretty self-interested, not caring what their property looks like to their neighbors, if they are infringing on their neighbor's quality of life when they put large objects and tall structures next door, who their dogs are terrorizing, and not wanting to pay taxes for social programs, city services, and general upkeep of the city and state. We pay the fewest taxes of anywhere else in the country, take in oil revenues, and tons of federal money, but still complain about the few taxes we do pay. So I'm not sure why we carry this myth of generosity about ourselves in our heads! This is the one that made me want to comment. Alaskans were generous and helpful people.... 20 years ago. With that said, I believe America as a whole has turned into a me first attitude. People are scared to assist stranded motorists. The media is in our faces all the time, telling us horror stories. Other think, 'Why should I help? They have emergency road service or AAA. I do, because I don't expect anyone to assist me when needed.' Heck, 20 years ago every truck owner had a tow rope, jumper cables and a pair of gloves..... not anymore. It is amazing these days how thankful people are when you get out of your vehicle to assist others. I have always received assistance when needed and so has my wife. Once I left my wife the Tahoe without any gas i n it. She made it to Muldoon and ran out of gas, in the suicide lane with 2 kids in the back. A gentleman in a lifted truck with 31+" tires stopped behind her and asked what she needed. He went to the gas station, bought a gas can, put 2 gallons in it, came back and put the gas in the Tahoe for her. My wife tried to reimburse the gentleman for the cost of the gas and gas can and he would not accept any of the money. This is true Alaska spirit. And sorry folks, I believe in Karma big time in Alaska. It applied more here than anywhere else, IMO.

We have fewer consumer goods buying options and what we do have is more expensive. Frankly, just like the cable company and the other utilities, I think a lot of retailers take advantage of Alaskans by gouging us. The usual line is, "Well, it's Alaska!" But so what? This is 2009, not 1960. Technology alone should have made most things more reasonable. In addition, except in the summer when there is some local agriculture, our produce arrives old and it is expensive. Grocery stores here routinely sell things past their sell by dates, at full Alaska cost. There are a few large companies that ship things to us for reasonable shipping rates, but many will not ship here at all, and others that do, gouge us on the shipping. $5 Taco Bell Big Box = $7. $5 footlong = $6. $10 Pizza = $14.99 Pizza. It is truly ridiculous on EVERYTHING up here. I think perhaps even movie rentals are about a $1 to $1.50 higher, Netflix is the same though. HAHA.

Concepts like liability haven't caught up to us (which explains our political scandals) so it is routine to go into businesses and have to move things one Could fall over, or to live in buildings that have problems around it that Outside property owners wouldn't dare risk. I get a kick out of that actually. Even our medical providers break medical privacy laws as though federal law doesn't apply to them! I don't get a kick out of that. True

Medical care is close to 30 percent more than Outside, and we have a small pool of providers so they have no competition. Most of them refuse to belong to insurance networks so we pay more out of pocket even when we have insurance. Frankly, it borders on price collusion with some of the specialists. Also, they lobbied and got some law passed that makes it basically impossible to ever file a malpractice suit against an Alaskan doctor. True, your health insurance premium will probably increase. Mine did.

One thing I really like about Alaska is that it is very casual. Also, all kinds of people rub shoulders, paying no attention to what makes each different from the other. Alaskans may not want to take care of their neighbors, but they don't care what their neighbors are wearing or doing either. In that way, it is a live and let live culture that is nice. Also, the politics up here are lively and interesting. The live and let live culture and the incredible beauty is why Alaskans who truly love Alaska, do so. Never, ever, never judge someone in Alaska by what they drive or what they wear. The guy in the old truck wearing plaid and carharts is likely the guy that has the most amount of money in his bank account. Likely he owns 20 apartment buildings and a few commercial properties that are just about paid in full. Or he works on the slope, has been up there for years and is pulling down good money. Usually complete opposite for the formal looking people. You will see people in Jeans and T-Shirts at the most formal of restaurants in this town and frankly, we don't care....just don't smell bad. I was born and raised here and have spent a majority of my life in Alaska and there are still times (usually only in summer) that I will look around and be in awe by the beauty that surrounds me. I enjoy camping and trying to listen for a noise and you cannot hear a thing. Alaska is beautiful no doubt about it. Please note, you do have to go look for the beauty but you do not have to look hard. The Seward from DeArmoun down to Homer or Seward is spectacular as is the Parks once you get into Talkeetna.

Hope that helps, and it is worth coming to Alaska just for the experience. Many consider it a young person's state because the weather, prices, and lifestyle get harder to take once a person is older. Just wait to buy a home and a house full of furniture until after you know you want to stay long-term, so that you don't end up one of those who have to sell everything off on Craigslist to leave in a hurry. True!(<;
Sorry for making this post even longer
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:07 AM
 
Location: Southwest
720 posts, read 751,346 times
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Default pgrdr adds on to Alaskakash's add on to pgrdr!



I liked the follow-up comments to my post from AlaskaKash. Cool!

Termination dust does mean the first snow on the mountains, but the joke is that the word "termination" applies to those who will not stay for another season of it, if they stay through that one. People move here with romantic images of what it is like, and the termination dust does signal the end of the light season and the beginning of the dark, cold season that many cannot tolerate.

Re: My comments about how quiet Alaskans are-- I understand what you mean about people talking to you if speak to them first, and cashier's being friendly if you say hello. However, if one has lived Outside much, especially in multiple places, by comparison, Alaskans are not outgoing, friendly, and talkative. They are very, very quiet! LOL

If we were in Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Chicago, any other city or tourist town, cashiers would speak to US first because that is their job. It is their job to make us, the customers, feel welcome and acknowledged, to actually look at us, smile at us, and say, "Hello! How are you today?" They want our business. They want us to return instead of going to their competitors. Most Alaskan businesses do not grasp that concept.

It is just the culture, which is why it feels normal to you to have to be the one to speak to a cashier first. It is disconcerting to newcomers, though, who have never lived anywhere they were treated that way when they were there to spend money. To newcomers, it feels insulting.

If we were walking down the street or in a store, not only would the inside of buildings be clean, shiny, and brightly lit, but we would hear cheerful music playing in the aisles of the grocery stores and people talking and laughing. We would hear children yelling, talking, laughing, crying. Young children would dash past us. If we ran across the same person multiple times, we or they would joke about it.

In Alaska, whether it is in Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Homer, I can spend hours out shopping, walking along sidewalks, and hear only a very few quiet voices here and there, and a very rare child make a loud noise! (Of course, we do hear more voices in the summer when tourists clog downtown, but then, we know they are tourists by the way they get our attention by talking loud enough for us to hear them, sometimes even talking to us!)

If we were in Seattle or Portland, or any of the smaller towns in WA or OR, in lines, we would chat with the people around us and joke around. (Not in Phoenix. People in Phoenix usually pay no attention to anyone they don't already know, so you can go out all day and not have anyone speak to you but cashiers. However, the cashiers DO initiate conversations with you!)

When I first moved here, I remember a few times approaching men in stores to ask them what size of shirt, sweater, coat (whatever I was looking at) they wore, because they looked about my husband's size. Each time, I noticed that when they first realized I was speaking to them, they looked startled, like deer afraid they were about to be shot! Younger men less so, but baby-boomer men always looked startled if I suddenly spoke to them. I thought it was so odd! One poor guy seemed to freeze and just looked confused, his wife heard what I said, and sort of waving her hand at him like, "Don't even bother asking him," she answered my question for him and then told him to try on the coat for me!

I Never see anyone moving in a hurry (except men in trucks sometimes). On foot outside, in stores, everywhere, unless people are involved in a sport, they amble slowly. I rarely even see children running anywhere, not even little boys! Cashiers never hurry. Salespeople do not adjust their speed or tempo in response to the number of waiting customers. Most things start late-movies, plays, concerts, meetings. And, in the same vein as above, whoever is in charge usually feels no need to proactively inform those waiting as to what is happening and how long they will have to wait. Most people waiting don't seem to notice.

I don't even bother asking store clerks for help or to straighten anything out anymore. After too many times my husband and I felt like we'd found ourselves in the middle of a Saturday Night Live skit, as we kept explaining what we wanted to know in multiple ways only to have clerks look at us blankly until they started to look offended, and I mean over things that were common no-brainers everywhere else we'd done business, I learned to get over it and either figure things out for myself or not to make purchases I didn't absolutely need. Now I'm used to it.

When I first moved to Alaska, I was frustrated constantly by how long it took to get something like an espresso or a sandwich, that so many businesses do not appear to cross train their employees so they can all pitch in when things are busy, that plays and concerts started late, that I couldn't get in and out of a store quickly. However, once I adjusted, I learned to appreciate the slower pace of life, and to accept what I couldn't change. I learned that if I was going be in a hurry, to just stay home. Life was much more relaxing after that and what initially really annoyed me became humorous to me; I even feel affection toward that aspect of the culture to some degree.

Now, I amble slowly through the grocery store just like everyone else, and I rarely speak to anyone. I've noticed I spend less and less time downtown every summer because all of the animated tourists disturb my sense of peace and quiet I've grown used to. I even feel a little startled when someone starts talking to me for no good reason! Then I figure they just moved here. (<;

I don't think the terrible service is necessarily because of how employees are paid, because we receive terrible service from almost all businesses. GCI is absolutely the WORST cable company I've ever dealt with. A tree care company thought they could just show up three months after they agreed to treat my trees, and I wouldn't have already taken care of it because I'd never heard from them. Contractors, repairmen, and furniture repair people who never show up and never call. Stores downtown and a lighting store on 6th Ave with customers still shopping at closing time, but they turn off the lights and tell us to leave (which lost sales from me because I was about to make purchases!). No cashiers to be found in stores, even after ringing the little bell. Employees in deli's standing around talking and taking their sweet time about eventually wandering up to take an order. The list could go on and on. Even the levels of service at our Nordstrom and Costco are much lower than in their stores Outside, and both of those companies pride themselves on their superior responsiveness to customers/members.

I've not dealt with welfare offices, but I was less than impressed with the DMV on Benson when I had to go back three times because they gave me the wrong information about what I needed to change to an Alaska license (most complicated, overkill requirements of any state I've lived in so far). The Troopers main office sent me away when I went there to get my background check for employment, because they didn't know they were supposed to do it or how, even though that is where I was told to go, where most people do go, and where I ended up going again and it took only five minutes to complete that time. The animal control officer that handled everything incredibly poorly (plus she was immature and petulant, not professional) when large neighbor dogs reached through our fence and almost killed our 10 pound dog (his little face had to be stitched back together in a late night surgery) and we couldn't go outside without them rushing the fence and trying to get at us, for three years. Neighbors on all sides of that property wrote a joint complaint and filed separate complaints with animal control, but they did very little. I've not had to deal with the state for much.

I think poorly of our criminal justice system and the AGs office, believing they suffer from a lack of accountability, I guess because we are so isolated and Alaskans are used to the status quo.

I will say that I do see Alaskans helping each other do things like moving a stalled vehicle or a car stuck in a snowbank more than I've seen that elsewhere. We had relatives living here in the 1980s who loved it and said it was more like you described, where people pulled together and helped each other out. I can see it isn't as much like that as it was, probably for the reasons you gave.

Alaskans are patient. Just as they are quiet in voice, it is very very rare to hear anyone honk their horn. I've been impressed many times by lines of vehicles just sitting and waiting for someone to move or a situation to get straightened out, without honking their horns or making things worse by impatiently switching lanes.

However, there is a low-level of a chronic sort of meanness, a lack of empathy and sympathy, I see and read coursing through our community: quick to judge strangers; intolerant; finding humor in the misfortune of others or being disgusted by it merely because they were "stupid" about the elements or whatever; a lack of interest in holding our criminal justice system accountable so that citizens are ultimately powerless to protect themselves or make authorities take responsibility for their mistakes; an unwillingness to pay for a better quality of life in our city or for programs that will benefit others; and a lack of interest in what communities outside of Alaska are doing that we could learn from or use, so we are pretty backward about any number of things other U.S. citizens take for granted, all of which is not very attractive. Nor is it welcoming, and so I think it adds to all of the other culture shocks people go through when they move here.

One final difference that takes some adjusting to, also, is that despite the tough mommas living up here, Alaskan men in general act more sexist that I'd experienced in 30+ years. It was a shock to me at first, men not answering my questions but instead ignoring that I'd asked them something; dismissing me to focus on my husband if he is around; and men talking down to me, or not talking to me at all. Also, maybe because people aren't open with strangers, men here often are not especially polite to women. If a man helps me with anything, it is usually a young man my son's age. For example, the other day I was struggling with my loaded grocery cart that was stuck in deep slush in a parking lot. Baby-boomer men walked right past me (just like they do at doors and in lines) as I pulled and lifted and struggled. Finally two young men who looked to be about 22-23 years old came over and carried the cart to my car. That sort of situation I've noticed up here a lot, but didn't see it much in other places we've lived.
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:22 AM
 
Location: Southwest
720 posts, read 751,346 times
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Originally Posted by masterlu88 View Post
I WILL BE THE ONLY HONEST ONE ON HERE....ALASKA SI BEAUTIFUL IN THE SUMMERS..SOME PARTS IN THE WINTER..HOWEVER WINTER IS LONG LONG AND COLD...AND THE PEOPLE CAN'T DRIVE WORTH A DAMN..THEY SPEND MORE TIME IN THE DITCHES THAN ON THE ROAD. PEOPLE ARE MEAN AND NASTY AND DON'T HAVE EMPATHY FOR OTHER HUMAN BEINGS....OR SYMPATHY FOR THAT MATTER...THEY ARE LIARS, BACKSTABBERS, AND THAT'S EVEN IF THEY LET YOU GET TO KNOW THEM AT ALL...THEY ARE NOT FRIENDLY..I HAVE BEEN IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD FOR YEARS AND DON'T KNOW ONE PERSON..THE DAY I MOVED INTO MY HOUSE IN IDAHO...MY NEIGHBORS CAME TO WELCOME ME AND SOME EVEN HELPED US PAINT!! I KNEW EVERYONE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITHIN A MATTER OF MONTHS...AND WE ALL LOOKED OUT FOR EACH OTHER AND HELPED ONE ANOTHER...IN ALASKA...THEY DON'T! VISITING IS FINE ONLY IN SUMMER TIME...DON'T BOTHER ANY OTHER TIME. AND ONLY IF YOU WANT TO SIGHT SEE....OTHERWISE IT REALLY SUCKS..DON'T BOTHER VISITING ALYESKA IT'S OVERRATED AND $$$$$$$$$$$$$ AND THE FOOD SUCKS. I WISH I HAD TAKEN SOMEONE'S ADVICE PRIOR TO MOVING HERE...I HAVE REGRETTED MOVING AFTER THE FIRST 3 MONTHS...AND AM SO HAPPY I AM LEAVING THIS ISOLATED NASTY HELL HOLE JUNE 1ST...IF THERE WAS ANY POSSIBLE WAY TO LEAVE SOONER i WOULD!

I understand what you mean. It takes certain personality traits to adjust to living in such an isolated place, the winters are long, dark, and cold, and there is a lot culture shock. Aside from that, moving anywhere can be hard, and it generally takes two years to truly feel at home in a new place. As we've discussed here, most people who move to Alaska are gone within two years or so, usually for the same reasons you want to leave.

I hope you meet Someone you have enough in common with that you can enjoy at least a little of the time you have left here. I'd try to help if I knew you!
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