Sunday, May 19, 2013


Of all the unflattering photos of your kid that you could share with the world...

We arrived in Boston without any great drama, but Elias' and Eric's sleep patterns were of course still happily back in Opua.  Nothing could keep Eric awake during the day (above), but at night he was ready to party.  Our experience is that young kids shake off jet lag especially slowly, and for night after night we were forced to deal with a wide-awake, partying fool of a three-year-old until two or three in the morning.  Or later.

Then we got to Kodiak, where our friends Zoya and Patrick are very generously putting us up.  Elias was beyond delighted to learn that he would be sleeping on a mountain goat skin.

So far, Kodiak is living up to its billing in that over-the-top, stereotyped Alaskan way.  Ash from the newly-erupting Pavlof volcano has been sighted in town, and the weather, for the 18th of May, which is well into spring up here, is feeling quite...Alaskan.  Low temp today was -1°C, high 6°.

It's hard to understand why, and I might not have thought it out well enough to explain, but there are a lot of ways in which Kodiak feels more exotic than any any other English-speaking place that we have visited in the last few years.

Maybe it's just that when you're a visitor you see only the surface of things, which of course as a resident no longer register.  When you drive into town from the airport on an impossibly gray afternoon, you're just dumbstruck by how derelict the place looks.   Bluff, which is, as far as I can tell, New Zealand's best example of a down-on-its-luck, high-latitude fishing town, comes off as a picturesque Swiss village by comparison.

But then you start catching up with friends, and hearing about how everyone you used to know has been going about the business of their lives since you've been gone, and you start to remember the magic.  This place is just as ordinary as can be, but at the same time there is an edge to it, and a close familiarity with the unbending realities of life, that makes it like nowhere else.

Our time here is going to go too fast.

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