Sunday, March 29, 2009
Safely in the frozen North
I made it in to Anchorage about fifteen minutes ahead of the ash cloud from the latest eruption of Mount Redoubt, about 100 miles South-West of the city. After connecting flights to Houston and Seattle, our flight to Anchorage was delayed for a couple of hours while the weather prophets and others tried to figure out whether we could get in safely (and, just as important for the airline, get out again!). My host tells me that volcanic ash is like powdered obsidian - fragments of glass, not stone, and very, very scratchy. Apparently, if it gets into an aircraft engine, down you go. She says that if driving with volcanic ash on the roads, she has to change her engine oil and oil and air filters, every fifty miles, or risk the destruction of her car's engine. Scary stuff!
Anyway, we finally got in at just after 4.30 p.m. As we walked off the plane, ground staff were frenziedly refilling her with fuel, and passengers were lined up ready to board and get off the ground as fast as possible. Continental didn't want their nice new 737-900 stuck on the ground in Anchorage, that's for sure! Minutes after it took off, the airport closed again, and stayed closed overnight until this afternoon.
Today we went shopping for food, and this evening I cooked supper - swordfish steaks, accompanied by a melange of onion, mushroom and artichoke heart, with fresh asparagus on the side and home-made bread (the latter two provided courtesy of Miss D., my host). We're both sitting back now, replete, our stomachs making little moaning noises of satisfaction. It's nice that both of us enjoy good food, and cooking it! Now it's her turn to come up with something tasty.
I'll be gallivanting around here for the rest of the week, discovering a little about a State that's new to me, and enjoying making new friends and meeting old ones. Ash clouds don't make for good photographic scenery, but if I get some good pictures, I'll post them.