Day 1 highlights include:
1. Mike and Toc's warm welcome at the airport, they kept telling us to keep an eye out for moose, they are camouflaged and you don't want to mess with the moose because they OWN the streets of Anchorage. But in the back of my mind I'm wondering, IF they are camouflaged how do I "see" them, hmmmm. In my mind I had pictures of military camouflaged moose marching madly in the streets of Anchorage. So far...I haven't seen any. I've got 15 more days to spot a camouflaged moose. Wish me luck.
2. Meeting May Lee Yang, our guest artist, who trekked her way from Minnesota. The cold didn't bother her while I was freezing my ass off! Big thanks to Ka Vang and Robert Karimi for such an excellent recommendation.
Day 2 highlights include:
1. Humpy's, a Karimi recommended bar restaurant in downtown Anchorage where our friendly wait staffer Jason welcomed us to Alaska and drooled over Leilani's iPhone. We ate halibut! HAL LI BUT!!! Great food there. Leilani had the benedict, May Lee tried the reindeer sausage and I went with the classic humpy's benedict. Con Karimi spirit lives in Anchorage.
2. Toc's volleyball tournament at Cellular 1 where we got to watch her dig, dig and dig those balls! She kept making the digs so well that it frustrated the other team and made them lose. Hah, goes to show you can't underestimate the skill of a low to the ground, tiny, Lao sister! You go E-Lao! Lao pride baby!
3. Siam Cuisine visit. A Thai-Lao-Vietamese restaurant owned by the Kittivong clan. I got to finally meet the family (her maa/mom, her nasao/aunt and even her pah tao/grandfather) of my good friend now living in Chicago, Soudary Kittivong-Greenbaum. She was one of the first 1.5 Lao activist, sister and colleague I met who came from Alaska! We met in Oregon when she was in undergraduate and I was touring with hereandnow some 13 years ago!
4. Finally, last night the most amazing, diverse and literally fun-filled event we ever attended. Loy Krathong at the Senior Center. Loy Krathong is a Thai festival but heck the community invited everyone! There was food, kids, parents, politicians, monks, seniors, blacks, asian, latinos, native, immigrant, whites, artists, commoners, rich, poor, everyone! We were entertained by traditional Lao, Thai, Hmong dancers and singers AND ballroom, hip-hop, AND BELLY DANCING! Holy crap! We had singers and banjo players and in the mix of all that...Leilani and I did an excerpt of Refugee Nation! I think we sold more people to attend our show just from our little performance! Everyone is excited. I'm excited. We were so excited that after the event we actually went to the Sea Galley, a local hang and decompressed from our two days in Anchorage! Big thanks to Virgil, Toc's husband, a South Carolina Alaskan the sweet man that he is, who took care of the bill.
This is only the beginning...Alaska already memories to cherish.