Thursday, August 09, 2012

Alaska Arrival

We arrived in the lovely, not really, town of Fairbanks, Alaska, way back on July 22nd. We got there a day before our tour officially started to see the town. But, quite frankly, there isn't really much of a town to see. Of course the first thing I did find was the local hangout.

A Real Mecca

It had the ambiance of a dive bar but it was really just a place where the locals hang out. I should have taken a couple of pictures of the interior but somehow it didn't feel right. Talked to the woman next to me a bit and the bartender was friendly enough. There were a few seedy looking people wandering in and out and it has been a long time since I have been in a bar where most of the people were smoking. I am sure there were other bars in town, but aside from the one in the Iris and shared by the Golden Nugget Hotel I couldn't find any.

I mentioned before that for a small town there seemed to be a lot of Thai restaurants. I thought there were more, but when I went looking for them to take pictures I could only find these three.


Thai House Restaurant

Bahn Thai Restaurant

We ate at the last one and the food was quite good. I just had a vegetable soup but it was very flavorful and plenty hot. I asked our waitress, who happened to be the owner (I think) why there were so many Thai restaurants in such a small town. She said she didn't know but she came down with her mother from Anchorage. Her mother left Anchorage because it was too big for her and opened this place. Then she thought Fairbanks was too big and move to a smaller town about three hours away. Apparently her daughter thought Fairbanks was quite small enough and stayed behind. It was a very nice restaurant.

The other place we ate was the Iris.

The Iris

I got the mussels and they weren't half bad. But the garlic bread was dynamite. Not that you can really have bad garlic bread, but this was really good. Particularly when the bread the initially brought out was like Wonder Bread that had been left out for a week.

Right next door was the Golden Nugget Hotel

Golden Nugget Hotel

I asked if they had gambling upstairs and this got a big laugh, like they had never heard that before. Needless to say they are not affiliated with Landry's, the parent company of the Golden Nugget casinos. They did share a bar with the Iris, though.

The Shared Bar

The bar had a nice, if limited, selection of draft beers. Can't remember exactly what I had, but maybe an Alaskan Amber, one of my favorites. And a couple of shots of tequila.

Although there wasn't a lot to see in Fairbanks, I passed on the ice museum where you could stand in a room that was -40 (and that is the same in Fahrenheit and Centigrade) because I am from Minnesota and know what cold feels like, there was kind of an interesting little craft store that had an amazing selection of, well, stuff.

Craft Market And Alaska Museum Room

And when I say the place was packed with stuff, I mean packed. These pictures really do not do the place justice.

See Anything You Want?

I did learn that whale bones have to dry out for years before you can carve them. They have a honey-comb interior that is filled with a viscous fluid that is quite evil smelling. Apparently the owner bought a few large bones and didn't realize this, at first. After they have been sufficiently dried they are quite valuable, however.

Well, that is enough Fairbanks for one post. I will add some more stuff tomorrow. We did go on a little river walk and popped into the local museum so I do have a few more pictures I took before we caught the train to head up to Denali.