Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yard Sale

Spring is in the air and the Alaskans have all been struck by a curious bout of garage sales. Every weekend we pass signs advertising the yard sales of various households around the city. Last weekend we attended the Mother of all Yard Sales.

A twelve-block radius was partitioned off in Kempton Hills, and thousands of bargain-seekers pitched up in the affluent suburb to browse through the cast-offs of the well-to-do. The streets were lined with trucks and SUVs, and parking was at a premium.

We saw bed sets, giant gas barbecues, basins, books, broken electronics, skis, snowboards, furs, you name it! Mixed in with these were a Porsche and an Audi Q7... Taking a garage sale to the next level! The funniest sight was all the shoppers carrying around their goods in little wagons, wheelbarrows and rucksacks.

Our favorite stop was at the hot dog stand. Not for the quality of the hotdogs, mind you, but for the sheer Americanism of the sign on the stand: a temporary food permit allowing the sale of hotdogs to the public... God Bless American Liability Insurance!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Arbor Day

Spring has sprung in Alaska, and even though we're still colder than we ever were in South Africa, we are learning to deceive ourselves. We are savoring the 18 hours of sunshine every day, and we are constantly agog at all the new growth we see around us. The extended hours of daylight means that everything grows super quickly here, so already the sidewalks have changed from white to green, and the trees are sporting leaves and blossoms.

We were invited to take part in a tree-planting ceremony at Kincaid Park, in honor of Anglo American's sponsorship of a soccer field. Lacking gardening gloves and shovels, the best I could offer was Daniel's labor and my cute new wellies... So off we went to our first Arbor Day in May, imbued with 2010 SWC fever...

I put in a stunning performance as photographer/ supporter/ landscaper, while Daniel got down and dirty in the gusty Alaskan spring. A worthy mention should also go to Paul, for donning Sharon's pink washing-up gloves...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ice Skating

Ok, we realize this one is a bit of a cheat, but it was on our to do list and we had to cross it off. Of course, it would have been more authentic if we had skated on a frozen pond surrounded by fairy-lit trees and carol singers, rather than heading down to the Dimond Center Ice Rink.

It all started to go wrong when the guy behind the counter issued us with the wrong size skates and then promptly disappeared so we couldn't change them. The skating itself was pretty disappointing, as we weren't very good, but we made up for it with some clowning around. Daniel entered the ring with a bang, emulating the ice hockey players we saw in April!

We wobbled around the rink a bit, narrowly avoiding the pint-sized skaters weaving circles around us. I tried to copy one of the little girls, but stopped when I caught her laughing at me.

We soon called it a day and hit dry ground. Even though it wasn't the greatest winter experience, we're glad we've done it. But I think we'll stick to outdoor winter sports from now on...