So, they let me into Anchorage...

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May 26th 2015
Published: May 26th 2015
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I arrive at the Las Vegas airport on Saturday morning sans a drivers license. For those who

know me well, this really isn't that surprising. Unfortunately, after a late night out at Tao

nightclub, I lost any form of photo identification. I would like to say this was my first time

traveling without an ID, but that would be a lie. My second year of orthopedic residency, I arrived

at the Santa Clara airport with no form of identification except for a library book. I was able to

get on the flight that time, mostly because of my sheer pathetic appearance after a 30 hour

overnight shift, and I was hoping my luck would hold. Fortunately, it did. After an interrogation,

pat down, and a luggage search, I was able to board the flight to Seattle. Once in Seattle, I met

up with my friend David and we got on the plane to Anchorage. Somethings just never change.

I was seated next to a lovely man named Johnny from Alabama. He lives in Alaska part time,

and is part owner of a lodge in Sodoltna. The other owner is an emergency room physician with

five kids, originally from Houston. Turns out he owns a small plane and is livelihood is hunting

fishing and flying. We talk about meeting up because I have heard of a few job opportunities in

Anchorage, and he would like to meet me to meet his friend. Unfortunately, this never happens,

but I know I always have a place to visit in Sodoltna. Johnny goes to Alaska during the

summers, and this trip his 13-year-old nephew is coming to join him. For his birthday, Johnny

has bought him a trip to hunt bears. Yes, this is a thing. A $30,000 thing it turns out. I guess you

can hunt bear in Alaska if you are a resident, but it is a lottery, and only 3 to 4 people win the

"honor" a year. Or, you can just pay a hell of a lot of money for it. Johnny tells me that you

either love or hate Alaska, and this turns out to be true. I am in for a trip to a special place and I

know I will again return.

We arrive in Anchorage and it is surprisingly warm and sunny. We rent a car and take it to our

budget hotel. The hotel is actually quite nice and just a few miles from downtown. The woman

at the front desk is just a riot. She does not have all of her teeth and she tells us that we should

go to "Coots" for the night. She says I should just watch out for the men pinching my ass as this

is the common greeting. We instead decide to go to the glacier brewhouse which has good


Anchorage is a town of about a quarter of a million people. To be honest, the atmosphere

confuses me. We walk to the bar which is a 3 mile walk or so. Along the way, it seems we are in

suburbia against a backdrop of beautiful snowcapped mountains. There is a chuck e cheese, a

Blockbuster video, and an Applebee's. The atmosphere is a bit cold and granite. However, Fifth

Street, the main downtown, is quite bustling. The brewhouse is definitely the place to be. We

have an hour wait on a Saturday night. We are seated at the bar and the bartender offers me a

shot of whipped cream. I don't quite know what to make of this, but I obliged. And hey, it was

good. I'm telling you, anchorage is a confusing place. I tried to order a drink at the bar, but I am

carded and since I don't have my license, they don't serve me. Turns out, I will be carded at

every bar we go to from there on out. In Alaska, everyone is ID'd. Not for age, but for privilege

to drink. Some people are actually forbidden from drinking alcohol after they have too many

legal offenses, and this is indicated on their license. We even saw a 75-year-old woman in a

wheelchair get denied from having a glass of wine with brunch. I'm having a feeling this is going

to be a very sober trip. However, the waitress informs me that likely I'll get served if I just don't

sit at the bar and sit at a table instead. She is correct. Again, this is just a confusing place. I

have a few Bourbons and David gets a local beer. We meet up with a girl that we met at the

airport from Seattle who is just doing a long weekend trip. We have a great meal and night and

I have a beautiful smoked salmon BLT salad. Seriously, the salmon is so good. It has a delicate

smoke and is somehow light and flaky even though it is cured. I know we are going to eat well

this trip.

We walk home around 10 PM and it is still bright and sunny. It's quite funny, because we are

trailing a group of girls in tiny dresses going to the steakhouse, which I guess is the place to go

that night. It looks like they are attending a Sunday brunch and just forgot the other half of their

outfits because it is so bright out. Welcome to summer in Anchorage! We go home and have a

good nights sleep before we start our day the next day.


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