on saturday, july 30th most of the town – make that most of southeast alaska – was at the fair you’ve heard so much about. having already gone, i decided that, rather than spending fifteen dollars to get in again, i would go for a bike ride out to chilkoot lake. unfortunately, about 1.5 miles outside of town, my repaired bike pedal decided to revolt and off it flew. i had luckily decided to bring my cell phone and called around for a ride back into town. not being able to get in contact with anyone (remember the fair?) i began walking back. the prospect wasn’t too horrendous, except for the MASSIVE hill at the very end of my journey (i promise, town is not littered with unconquerable hills). i walked, knowing that passing cars probably thought i must be quite a wimp to be walking my bike on a barely inclined stretch of road. i wanted to wave my detached pedal at their windows, but i honestly didn’t feel like explaining and would rather walk than catch a pity ride.

when the road started its downward slope i thought perhaps it was worth seeing if i could coast on my lopsided cycle. and, indeed i could! it was quite fun to ride with my legs both hanging down, toes almost grazing the pavement, hands gripping the brakes should i begin to roll onto my side. as the road began to level out again, i found i could manage a farcical pedaling motion in which i tapped the top of the outermost part of my left pedal post (i really know my terminology) to send the rotation back around so i could push on the faithful pedal. i was moving! quite pathetically!

after finding this success, i received a call back from a generous soul who came from the fair to give me a lift. by the time she arrived, my inventive moves had brought me almost to the base of aforementioned MASSIVE hill. we loaded the bike and drove up (literally) to the inn, where i took a much delayed shower.

having been thus thwarted in my attempts at semi-rigorous exercise, i decided to take a nice long walk through the mostly deserted town (the fairgrounds are outside town) and get some errands done. freshly clean and headed to the post office, i decided to cut through a gravel lot that serves as parking for the visitor’s center, medical clinic and alaska native sisterhood/brotherhood buildings. it was there that i happened upon my neighbor.

we effectively communicated our respective goings-on. he had just been barbequing and inquired as to whether or not i wanted a fish. a fish.

ummm…. what?

well, turns out that this guy under the tent had just caught some sockeye (salmon) and  was selling them for fifteen dollars apiece. that’s between one and three bucks a pound. at this, i automatically recalled the grocery store flyer advertising salmon for almost TEN dollars a pound. before coming to alaska, everyone said i would eat salmon all the time and it would be so cheap – no! i had not been experiencing the benefits of living in alaska on my fish consumption. it doesn’t work unless you know people. but i just met people.

i asked, “will it freeze well?” which was replied to in the affirmative. my neighbor had my fish thrown in with his, graciously offered to cut it up into filets and drop it off later (as i was not in the position to carry a cold, bloody fish in a bag around town with me). i believe my response was: “thanks! this is great! i love salmon!”

so, if you’ve been paying any attention, you’ll have picked up on the fact that i did wind up spending fifteen dollars that day, just on about ten pounds of fresh sockeye salmon instead of admittance to the fair. my side of the freezer has never been so thrilling.