Sunday, March 23, 2008

Re-post from Facebook (3/3)

Barrow - 01/26

7:53pm Saturday, Jan 26 Edit Note Delete
Okay, this is the second attemp to write about Barrow. Stupid facebook note delete my note while I was writing it (well myfault since I accidentally click on some button).Barrow is part of the preparation work for the NP trip. It took me 12 hours from SFO to here, with 4 hops and 3 airplanes. It was quite a smooth trip, no delays. I would think traveling East coast in the winter time like this would have more delay problem than this. Guess Alaska Airlines are used to the weather! I arrived in barrow at 7:40pm last night. Before getting of the plane, I was already in my winter gears, except for my hands with out gloves. I was a mistake. Just about maybe 40-50 feet from the airplane door to the airport door enough to make my hands feel numb. It was maybe about -20F. The hotel is just a few steps away from the airport. It’s quite nice hotel, warm and cozy, except for the hotel owner who seems to be quite friendly but I’m not too sure. I checked in and she gave me a bunch of menus for restaurants. Surprisingly they were all Asian food, Chinese or Japanese. I asked her if there is anything American or Italian. There’s Arctic Pizza and a Mexican food. I guess after all, native people are of Asian origin! I decided not to order any take out and eat my pastry and kho bo Vietnamese beef jerky I brought with me for dinner. Not a great dinner but passable. After my dinner, I went out to the lobby to use the internet. I met these two native girls who were trying to jump start their snow machine. I said hi and had a quick chat with them. It turns out one of them (Olivier and her 4 month old daughter Amy) lives here and the other (Roselyn) in a nearby village called Wainwright. When they left, Roselyn’s mom Marleen, came out and we chatted for quite sometime. I learn a bit about their daily life in the village. To come here, they must fly and that would cost about $80-90 one way. There is no access road. If they must use the snow machine it would take about 4 hours. People do do that but they must carry tracking device and the radio just in case anything happen on the way. And of course thermal bottle for tea or coffee. She’s very friendly. Most people in the north are very friendly. Must be the weather and the isolation. Marleen asked me to go out for quick stroll. I was exhaustive but still wanted to jump on the opportunity. So I geared up. Before we leave the hotel, we made ourselves a cup of hot tea. As soon as we go out, my tea got cooler quickly. Because I wanted to drink some tea to keep me warm, didn’t use the face mask. It was a mistake. I my face was frozen almost instantly. I could feel it. I used the tea cup to rub on my face to keep it warm. I might have made it worse because it is add moist to my face. We walked to the pole where it has all the directions to town around the US and the world, I couldn’t feel anything on my face. Marleen had to take out her gloves and rub her warm hands on my face to me warm. We rushed back to the hotel to the heat and comfort. She needed to light a cigarette but her lighter was also frozen, it couldn’t start for a moment!. After taking off the gears, I realized that I have a small frost bite on my wrist because I didn’t cover entire arm and a small part of my wrist were exposed. It feels like scratch or a burn from a stove. Since it is too small so today it is pretty much healed. I then learned a lesson. Go outside well prepared. So this afternoon when I went out for lunch, it took me 10 mins to put on the gears and only 30 seconds to the restaurant! It is ridiculous but that’s how it is here. I went to the Japanese restaurant when the sun rose. That was around 12 something, at high noon. The sun didn’t stay up too long. It set around 2:30ish. The common knowledge “the sun rises in the east and sets in the west” doesn’t work here. The sun rose in the South and set in the South too. From the restaurant owner, I learned that most Asian restaurants here are owned by Koreans. She said she likes it here because it is very quiet and “no jealous” (her word – she used this for those Korean in LA). There are Taiwanese, Filipinos and a couple of Vietnamese people who drive taxis. I should somehow meet these Vietnamese guys.Today I walked about one mile. That is nothing. I need to double or triple or even quadruple that tomorrow. I also probably need to carry the backpack with something to add weights tomorrow. Something I notice is as I first started to walk, my hands got cold real fast. But after a while, it became warm. I guess my body instructed my heart to work harder to pump the much needed heat and blood to the whole body. One thing I am disappointed is the goggles. They are not anti fog at all. After about 15 or 20 mins, they were all fogged up. What should I do? Obviously I need to return them but for now I guess nothing I can do. Also, my long johns didn’t work too well. I must get a different type and a pair of fleece pants. The wool socks and silk liner socks worked the magic. No wet feet and they were so comfortable and warm.

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