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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hello Barrow

Another experience of experiences in Barrow. What to say in such short order. Hopefully the few images and video at the bottom will give you an idea of what I took in. This place is home to some truly beautiful people and culture. I met several amazing Inupiat Natives today with little interest in abandoning their traditional methods, and instead embracing them fully. This is a harsh and wonderful place to live and survive in, however the men and women who reside here move effortlessly amongst this Arctic Tundra. I met a couple of Whaling Captains who are both passionate and carry an authentic pride about their culture. I also learned several things about the traditional skin boats (made from Bearded Seals) they use to hunt the whales from. And we were incredibly fortunate to be able to handle the skin boats and help in the process of getting them rigged, ready, and delivered to the launch location.
I am most amazed at how happy and kind the people are who live here even though it seems to be a depressed area at first sight to the standards of typical Western Culture. They seem perfectly content with less and seem to worry little. For instance, Herman, one of the Captains put the bow of his aluminum boat through his back window on our way to the shoot location and told us the story with a smile and chuckle saying "oh, my wife won't be too happy about this." Also, when asked what they do during the long dark hours and how do they get through it, they smile and look at you as if confused by your question. Barrow is a damp city (no alcohol can be sold here, however it can be purchased outside of Barrow and brought in) which to many seems crazy that a "night life of partying" doesn't exist. I'm not sure if this is something they would rather have or not, but I do know that many of the Natives I have talked to moved to this area by choice and have had many other opportunities to leave but have decided to stay.
No Polar Bear sitings yet, but I am hopeful that tomorrow could be the day. Many Bears are in the area and seen daily, many times, monthly in fact, in downtown Barrow where the police are called to chase them away. We have seen other birds and plenty of tracks from Foxes to indicate that wildlife thrives in this harsh land without the many layers of artificial warmth I wore today.

Tomorrow will be our last day in Barrow. We will be catching our flight at around 8pm after a day of work down to the city of Anchorage for 2 days. This will be a shock, wish we could stay here longer instead.

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