Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Strolling Through Anchorage

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA --My flight didn't get here until after midnight local time. What time it "really" was, I have no idea. So it felt like I was a little s l o w this morning. Eventually I wandered into the breakfast buffet line here at the Hawthorn Suites soon enough to eat all the potatoes, scrambled eggs, and sausages I could possibly want. Full, I sauntered off with my camera towards the tall buildings I saw a couple of blocks distant. It was warm. And it got the 60's. The first order of business: find a good, strong cup of coffee.

I did. The place was inside the federal building so I had to get searched and metal-detected before I could place my order. There was a stand right outside selling reindeer hotdogs. Luckily I had already eaten or I would have had one for breakfast...but how would I explain eating a reindeer to my grandchild.

The barista was named Susan Pacillo. She told me that she came to Alaska at the age of 16. It seems her parents couldn't handle her any more and bought her a one-way ticket from southern California to Alaska so she could live with an uncle. She lived at the end of the Kenai peninsula, in Homer, for most of the 30 years she has been here. She stated that, next to Tom (I'll leave the light on for ya') Bodette, she is probably the most famous (or infamous) citizen that Homer ever produced. She is known in Anchorage as the "parking fairy," a name she got for dropping coins in parking meters to stop tickets for violations. Eventually, after four long years, the city got rid of the parking meters. I didn't ask her if she was famous in Homer for anything else...but she looked like both fame and danger were her best friends.

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