Sushi and Bowling, Saturday night!

Ahhh! I got a long night of sleep. I kept waking up and checking my phone, just to make sure I didn’t miss a call to come in. But there was none. (none that came through, at least). I had a lazy day of kind of studying and working on things…in my comfy bed. :)

But then got an invitation by friends to go out downtown for sushi and bowling! I find it hard to believe that a Saturday night in Nome can be so full of entertainment! Just like a big city. 😉 I went out with my roomie and a few friends to Milano’s Pizzeria/Korean/ Japanese/Italian/sushi. I’ve never seen such a diverse restaurant in my life!

Milano's Italian      Milano's sushi

Milano's Korean Japanese

Milano's pizzeria

Then we went bowling!!! Surprisingly there is actually a bowling alley in Nome. And it is run by the same man who helps us arrange travel for patients to the villages. He is awesome. He loves to be able to help people in his community, and he is trying to give the youth here a positive, healthy place to hang out.


The Bowling Crew


bowling score keeping

Learning how to keep score.

happy score-keepers

The happy score keepers. :D

Then when I got home, I received another text message about another party! It’s probably too late, but still… I’m impressed by this place!

Then watched a fun French Rom Com (Romantics Anonymous) with the roomie before bed.

It was not a very productive day from a to-do list standpoint, but it was very refreshing!


Flying to Wales. Russia Sighting!

Journal entry (10/1/13):

Happy October 1st! I’m so stoked–I’m going to the village of Wales today!

Before the flight, I ran a few errands around Nome before my flight, picked up my special order of fresh-made rolls of sushi and donuts for the health aids. :) Then I finished packing it all in and drove off to the airport. I arrived at a little hangar/terminal for Bering Air—it looks like the hangars in PNG for AirLink or Tel Air. Bering Air Hangar

Around noon we boarded a Cessna Caravan 208B
Cessna Caravan 208and took off for Wales! I haven’t been in a cessna for a while.

Ahhhh I love flying so much! Can’t wait to get my pilot’s license! :)

The flight was beautiful, we soared over snow-capped hill-mountains and the tundra. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe rivers that flow the tundra reflected the deep blue sky. I felt so lucky to have such an amazingly clear day to fly on!


We also flew over King Island—where the writer Paul Tiulana was from. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Icing time!


We stopped at an old mining town, which has since become an Airforce station in Tin “City” to drop off military personnel and supplies.


You are looking at Tin “City” (Don’t ask me where, because I don’t see it either!!!) :)



Then we hopped around the mountain between Tin City and Wales and landed on an astoundingly clear day for this area. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We got to see Little Diomede, Big Diomede and the snow-capped mountains— of Siberia, Russia from the plane!


Little Diomede (USA) sits in front of Big Diomede (Russia), and the snow capped mountains off to the right are in Siberia, Russia!


Windblown tundra:


wind barriers don’t stand a chance!

The whole flight and layover in Tin City took about 1.5 hours.


Village of Wales tucked at the foot of the hill separating it from Tin City


Day 5 in my new Nome Town

Awoke to a bright, sunny day! Can’t believe these blue skies and sunshine. The sun still sets late at 9:40pm, but we are losing 6.5 minutes of daylight every day, racing towards the equinox…and the dead of winter!  See the Nome sun table. Must enjoy these rays while they last!!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In remembrance of 9.11, there was a guy running the streets of Nome, carrying a large American flag, and all the flags were lowered to half-mast. It never gets easier…


I stopped by the most inviting coffee shop, Bering Tea Co. (blog post about it coming up, because it’s so delightful) while I spent most of the day trying to figure out cell phone service. Verizon doesn’t work up here, so I have to get out of my 2-year contract that I’ve had for less than a year. Oops! :(

AT&T is the only nation-wide provider here, but they don’t have great coverage, nor do they have an office here for customer service. GCI has great coverage and service, but alas, they are only great in Alaska.

While I was in the GCI office, there was a walking cane left there, so the office staff were posting the lost and found announcement on NomeAnnounce and on facebook. The realtor was telling me how she has left her phone or her purse around, and people will call her and bring it to her. No worries if you lose something around here, people will get it back to you! Love small towns. :)

Walked around again–I will be doing a lot of walking this year, since I am carless. Can’t wait to get my bike, though, so I can cruise around town. :)

Sights from today:

It’s all good on the home front:


A bright false front on a rusting arch shed. :)

I pass through Anvil City Square to short cut to home, where there are these Umiaq (local fishing boats) in the playground, which became my little cultural lesson from today. The signs on the playground tell the stories of these boats: they are covered in walrus skin- over the strong wooden skeletons are flexible to maneuver big waves and stormy seas, light weight in case the sea freezes over and they can be pulled over the ice, strong and able to carry heavy loads of freshly hunted walrus or whales. Full details below:


“Umiaqs of the Bering Strait: Engineered by an ingenious people, the umiaq is a remarkable invention for surviving one of the world’s most challenging environments.”


“Umiaqs and Angyaqs always: Long before the first explorers and whaling schooners sailed the Bering Sea, and a host of ships disgorged gold seekers upon Nome’s shores, walrus-skinned boats plied the Bering Strait. Today as barges deliver fuel and western goods, and aluminum skiffs motor the coast, the umiag-or angyaq as it is called on St. Lawrence Island–remains the boat preferred by the region’s Native whale and walrus hunters.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Riding the Seas: The umiaq endures not because of nostalgia for the old ways, but simply because it is the best boat for its purpose.  A 30-ft umiaq can carry a 15-man crew and a ton of walrus meat. Heavily loaded, the agile umiaq safely flexes over steep swells with only 6 inches of freeboard. If punctured by an angry walrus, the hole can be quickly patched on the nearest ice floe. If the pack ice unexpectedly closes, the lightweight umiaq can be hauled to the safety of open water.

“A Perfect Piece of Eskimo Technology: The umiaq’s wood frame can last for generations, but the skin must be replaced every three years. Female walrus hides are used for their consistent thickness and lack of battle scars. Wielding an ulu, it is typically a woman’s art to split the inch-thick skin into two thinner sheets. Depending on local practices, the skins are split either before or after aging, and then stretched on drying racks to cure. Softened in sea water, the now pliable skins are cut to fit the frame and sown with a waterproof stitch. Once lashed to the frame, the skins dry tightly to form a taught but flexible shell.”


Simply wow!

Nome Sweet Homes and a PO Box (Day 4)

It’s drizzling today. The first overcast day since I’ve been here, but it’s still in the 50s and not too bad! I went to the post office to drop off my application for a PO box. There’s a waiting list to get a box.
Nome Post OfficeSo until then, my address is:

Shana Theobald
General Delivery
Nome, AK 99762

Here are some pictures from the post office:

Picture in the Nome Post Office

Picture in the Nome Post Office. Wow!

Wow! (it’s not quite this busy anymore)


Then I went to look at houses with a realtor, Nome Sweet Homes (it’s not often that you find an igloo and a cute name on a realtor’s logo). I’m not planning to buy a house yet, but wanted to get an idea of what kind of houses and prices are around here. Houses are very expensive here–it’s the first time I’ve seen a trailer house for over a quarter of a million dollars!: Nome Sweet Homes 2

The rest of the day I wandered around town, and here are some random favorites of what I saw:

The inviting local flower shop


The local Flower Shop. Owned by Trinh, a lovely woman of Vietnamese heritage, whose family has been here forever. She used to be a behavioral health counselor for 14 years in Nome. And now she runs this flower shop, which is lovely. And healing.

Sayings written on the flower shop walls.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nome Outfitters store (the flower shop lady’s husband owns this store):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dredging bucket flower pot:

Dredging bucket flower pot

More flower pots ~ These are old buckets from the gold dredging machines that are discarded and then used to decorate parks and yards.

Dredging bucket flower pot 3    Dredging bucket flower pot 2

My favorite grocery store logo ~ from Hanson’s Trading store:

Hanson's symbol

That is how the sun rolls across the horizon on the long summer days.

Barge on the Bering Sea–this is what my cargo is coming in on! Should be here in 1-2 weeks!


I love the lego-block containers

Ladder on a roof:


This is not one of the Nome Sweet Homes that I looked at today.:)

I can’t get over the colors here, everywhere!: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Amazing Alaska Autumn! Trip to Council (Day 3 in Nome)

There are a few unpaved roads out of Nome (granted they don’t lead to any bigger civilization), and today I got to go on a field trip with the other new doctor Tim and his lovely wife Sarah Miller, we went East along the coast to Council “City”. This was the first thing we saw on our road trip this morning:

kissing moose

kissing moose

The drive was stunningly beautiful with the tundra painted with oranges, reds, greens with a backdrop of blue mountains and blue streams running through it. I learned today that along here (the Safety Sound) is a bird-watchers paradise, with rich wetlands throughout the tundra. Also, this where the Bering Land Bridge used to connect this continent to Russia! And last, but not least, this is where the home stretch of the Iditarod trail passes before ending in Nome.


We got to see the train going to nowhere:

Train to nowhere

On the sign in front of the train: “Rusting Legacy. These locomotives and flat cars are remnants of the unsuccessful attempt to build a railroad to gold mines near Council City. the locomotives began service on elevated railways of New York City, then became the workhorses of the Council City and Solomon River Railroad (CC&SRR) in 1904. The great storm of 1913 destroyed the Solomon River Railroad bridge, stranding them here.”

Then we chanced upon a herd of musk-ox. They wouldn’t let us get very close, which is probably for the better. :)

Two of the larger musk-oxen

Two of the larger musk-oxen.

There is a lot of road work, which seems surprising out here, but I guess no place is immune to summer road construction. My friend in Anchorage (Kieara) told me a joke that there are four seasons in Alaska: Winter, Winter, Winter and Construction.

We stopped a few places along the way, just to enjoy the jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery.


And then we arrived at Council City, now a small end-of-the-road village, that used to be a city with up to 15,000 inhabitants during the late1890s, but most of them moved to Nome around 1900 when more bigger, better gold was found. Part of the town is perched on a rocky bank overlooking the river and the sandbar, where we picnicked.

Standing in the river in front of the town. I love my Bogs boots (a warmly insulated, waterproof must-have for Alaska)!

me in council bluffsAround here we saw a lot of these outboard jet motors, since the rivers are so shallow–just like we used to have on our river in New Guinea!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA