Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sled dogs and Icycles

Here in Okinawa lately, it's been Black Flag weather. Translation: really really hot.

All the American bases fly a black flag on days that people are discouraged from doing any kind of outside physical or exertion. So, while many places in the world are already starting to feel their first chilly evenings of fall, we're still in the midst of a summer heat wave.

Partly from the heat and partly due to the fact that we're nearing our second wedding anniversary in a few months, we've done a bit of reminiscing about our very first Mary and Sean Adventure together-- a trip we took to Alaska in March 2006.

This trip was special for so many reasons- the perfect white powdery snow, the sled dogs, the hot springs, but mostly because I can narrow down to almost the exact moment that I fell in love.

Here are a few glimpses of events leading me to the great realization.

We stayed at Chena Hot Springs resort outside of Fairbanks. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, you can see the sky was a brilliant clear blue everyday. Perfect winter wonderland, except of course that it was negative 10 degrees tops...but the reason we were there during that time of year was because March is ideal for viewing the Northern Lights.

One of the most fun experiences of my life was taking a sled dog ride through the wintry white forest. Those dogs are amazing!

We also spied some apprentice sled dog puppies. Seriously, the cutest most cuddly furry things ever...

We were also lucky to catch a bit of local color during our stay. Our trip just so coincided with a Dog Sled race...

If you ask me, Alaska really is the last frontier. During the races in downtown Fairbanks, we came upon a fur trading auction and people were buying...
One afternoon during our trip, we took a tour of the ice museum which included intricate ice sculptures of knights jousting on horses, a "honeymoon ice suite" where you can sleep for $600/night, and an ice bar with the genius invention of ice luge, or should I say evil evil ice luge.

This particular day happened to be Saint Patrick's Day and we met a young Irish couple in the bar, Patty and Rose, who convinced us in the spirit of the holiday to share an apple martini with them. Yes, I'm sitting on an ice stool at an ice bar drinking out of an ice martini glass.
Let's just say that one martini somehow became two and then maybe even three, and then I lost count. Needless to say, we missed our dinner reservation that night, stumbled back up to the room, and then spent the next six hours alternating throwing up side by side in the bathroom.

The next morning when we finally made it breakfast, every conversation around us was about how wonderful and amazing the views of the Aurora had been the night before-- right over the resort-- such a rare occurrence!

And of course, we missed the whole thing due to our misfortunate overindulgence with apple martinis.

How did it happen? After all, seeing the Northern Lights is often a once in a lifetime experience for many people, and it was the big reason for going there. We felt horribly cheated and disappointed about it all day since we were due to take a red-eye back home that very night.

So, after resigning ourselves to never seeing the Northern Lights, we headed to the airport that night. We noticed some green flashes in the sky, but honestly thought it was nothing. We decided to pull off the road and stop the car and check it out just to be sure.

That's when it happened. The Northern Lights appeared and swirled and danced around in front of us for a few minutes before disappearing again. And that's when I knew I had fallen in love...

On a final note, at our wedding to remember our first adventure, we decided to have a martini ice luge during the reception. Yep! You guessed it- those are apple martinis.

The day after our wedding reception, we received a text message from one of the wedding guests that went, "wedding very very good, ice luge very very bad..."


mina said...

Every single thing you mentioned here seems like such an incredible experience! That picture of the Northern Lights is surreal - great post!

Anil said...

I've always wanted to ride a dog sled. Btw, that puppy is the cutest thing ever.

Mary and Sean said...

If you get a chance to visit Alaska on your trip round the world, I highly recommend it!

Mary and Sean said...

The dog sled ride was one of the highlights for sure...I fell in love with those puppies!


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