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25 February, 2002

Weather rules all travel in Alaska at this, and many other times of the year, today the temperature is described as warm and nice, but not clear. It's about 14 degrees F. Dr. Carol Zane Jolles (the researcher/cultural anthropologist with whom I am working) and I have decided to take advantage of our unexpected layover here. Nome is on the Bering Strait on the Northwest coast of Alaska. The population of Nome is around 4000 and it has a gold rush history as does California. This is one of the main streets at sunrise, 10 AM.

As it turns out all flights from Nome to Little Diomede have been canceled, and so Carol and I have had the opportunity to spend two days and nights in Nome. This is a picture of me in front of the Nome Nugget Inn, the hotel where we are staying, it's full of artifacts and arcticles about the diverse people who have been a part of the history of Nome. In about two weeks the Iditerod will end across the street from here. The iditerod is a dog sled race that begins in Anchorage, Alaska and ends here in Nome hundreds of miles away. (More on that later.)

February is Black History Month. Carol and I were lucky enough to be invited to a pot luck celebration at the Nome Nugget Inn. We shared good food and good company.

This is Carol, the researcher/anthropologist that I have come to work with, standing in front of what is called the "Nome Forest." However, this part of Alaska is tundra; a frozen, treeless plain. What you are seeing is not a forest at all, because no trees grow here. These are Christmas trees that people have carried out onto the frozen ocean and stuck into the snow and ice! Just a few steps from where Carol is standing is literally the Bering Sea.

We've heard that outgoing flights from Nome to Wales and Diomede are expected so we're off to the Bering Air waiting room with our luggage and the hope that today will in fact be the day that we fly to Diomede!

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