The past few days have been pretty busy. Today we got a break to work on individual projects and relax.
I have recently learned how to gut and prepare a fish, which was pretty neat (and bloody).
Two days ago a few of us had the chance to go kayaking down the Kuskokwim River. So we did…and the trip downstream was beautiful. Calm waters, beautiful green marshes, AND it was an incredibly beautiful sunny day, which was nice after days of constant rain and cold.
But definitely the best part about that trip was when we were kayaking down a remote area of the river. I saw a truck with “Go Spurs Go” written on the back. So naturally I shouted “YES! GO SPURS GO!” I wasn’t expecting a response, but a man shouted back “We are gonna win this year!” So basically, Alaska has Spurs fans y’all, and it makes me so happy.
But anyways, the ride back on our kayaks upstream was slightly less enjoyable, to say the least…but I will link you to Claudia’s blog post about it because she tells the story better than I could.. so ENJOY, hehe —-> http://cubackpack.org/alaska2014/paddling-upstream-2/
The next day we went to the Saturday Market at the cultural center down the road. Saturday Market basically is when the local artists and craftsmen display and sell their work. There were fishing knives, jewelry and traditional tunic-type shirts worn by both men and women. These people are incredibly talented, and it was an opportunity to see some unique artwork and jewelry not found in typical souvenir shops.
Yesterday evening we all had the chance to ride on the mayor of Bethel’s boat to see a real fish camp (where people hang, dry, and prepare fish). A person named Stan is the owner of the fish camp, and he was incredibly hospitable to our entire group. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and gorged ourselves with s’mores for dessert. After dessert, Stan disappeared for a bit and returned with a freshly caught salmon in his hand. We got to watch him expertly gut and prepare the fresh salmon and then cook it on the grill. So that was our second dinner…but it was seriously the yummiest fish I have tasted. No wonder Alaskans are snobs about frozen fish, I mean YUM.
This morning we attended Catholic mass. The presiding deacon was Yup’ik and gave the homily in the Yup’ik language. The choir also sang in Yup’ik, and it was beautiful. The rest of the mass was rather ordinary, but I did notice that the sign of peace was much more of a drawn out ordeal than at any church service I’ve been to. People went out of their way to give friends and all those even remotely near to them a sign of peace. That was a perfect depiction of the closeness of this community. They wanted to give peace to one another, not just to a couple of people but to as many people as they could.
The following week is going to be jam-packed filled with interviews and projects. Then we are headed to Seward, Alaska, to go whale watching and do more touristy-type things.