I've mentioned before one of our favorite practical places in Soldonta, The Soldotna Wash & Dry. It is here that we wash our clothes, take $5 showers, and have internet access.
It's a big, clean, bright laundromat that has four showers available. They provide a towel, wash cloth, floor mat, a tiny bar of soap and 20 minutes in the shower room for $5. There never seems to be too much of a wait when we go and we have felt free to not be so rushed as their 20 minute rule suggests. The rooms are tiny, but if Room #4 is available, it's the handicapped accessible and there's plenty of room to spread out all your stuff!
It was right about here in the parking lot where last year The Fisherman and I came upon two cars stopped, each with a woman driver. One petite young girl in the lead was being screamed at by an approaching huge Somalian woman. She was cussing, and yelling, and threatening this little 19-year-old-looking girl for supposedly turning abruptly into the parking lot nearly causing the mean and mad woman to hit her. The Fisherman intervened, getting out of the van and approaching between them just before the big angry woman arrived at the girl's open car window. They were yelling back and forth, but you could clearly see the young girl's disadvantage..and her smarts for staying in her car. The Fisherman diffused the situation and eventually the irate and out of control big woman got back into her car, muttering and cussing all the way, but willing to drop it and move on. Whew! I was nervous. That young gal was angry, too, feeling she did nothing wrong because she'd had her blinker on. If she'd have gotten out of her car, we are confident she would have been assaulted. We were glad it ended the way it did.
The Wash & Dry is located right next to a fur trader, complete with a moose head on it's outside wall.
When I did laundry one day, I came out to the van to hang up some of the clean clothes in the back. We'd been at our property when the roads were wet and the van was covered with a the white-ish/grey film of spattered mud produced by Alaska's grey dirt. I came out to find the standard "Wash Me" written in the dirt of our back windows. My response?
Upon delivering the next load of clean clothes to the van, I thought my reply sounded a little harsh. So, I explained...
I generally don't trust a restaurant that serves a multi-cultural menu. There seems to be a lot of these Mexican-Italian combo places in Alaska. Let me tell you, it's tough to find good Mexican food in Alaska! Twenty years ago when we first visited our best man, Todd, he took us to a Garcia's in Anchorage. Yes, my Arizona friends, it was of the same Garcia's that we have in Phoenix. We couldn't believe it. But it's gone now, and we're not in Anchorage much anyway. Down in Soldotna, we've found this little dive that serves a decent chicken chimichanga. Though it lacks a certain richness in flavor, it's not bad. And it's the best place we've found.
I grew up in the big city. Holidays, such as Labor Day, are big retail days. People have the day off and they usually go shopping or out to eat. Restaurants, shops, malls, they're all open on Labor Day. Not in Alaska. The Fisherman went on a fishing trip with the guys one day, leaving me the whole day to do as I pleased. I was all set to do some shopping. The bead store, the book store, gift shops, and a nice lunch were all on my list. But this is what I encountered nearly everywhere I went.
Sigh. Things are different in Alaska. When it's a holiday, everybody goes fishing, not shopping. Even store owners, evidently.