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Friday, July 20, 2012

Fairbanks ~ World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

Native Costume
This is our fourth day in Fairbanks. We just about covered all of the tourist things to do here. Our reservations at Teklanika campground are for 12 pm tomorrow. We have been circling waiting to land. In any event, we have made the best of it here in Fairbanks. This morning was spent at the Fort Wainwright Library. There were many soldiers waiting to use a computer. We have our own and had no problem doing the WiFi. The 25th Infantry Brigade, the 1st Striker Brigade and all of their support people means a lot of troops!  

We had lunch at Big Daddy’s Bar-B-Q. This is a small milestone for us. Big Daddy’s is the Northernmost Southern Bar-B-Q. We have eaten at Joe’s Ribs in South Padre Island along the Texas coast. Most likely the Southernmost Southern Bar-B-Q. Wave the flag!

Wolf Man
Our adventure for today was the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. They certainly have different competitions. The afternoon event (at least one) was the greased pole balance. A pole around five inches in diameter and ten feet long is rubbed with lard. The contestant is tasked with moving laterally along the pole. The most that we witnessed was about three feet. All of the different competitions relate to hunting survival task. Another competition is squatting positions to a jump forward. This is a simulation of jumping out of a canoe when it is sinking in the ice. I wouldn’t last long in any of these situations.

Native Drum Band
Tomorrow morning, we depart this city for the wilds of Denali National Park. We are anxious to see what this trek will bring us. We have been reading our new friends blog (Jerry & Carin that’s where we got the tip on Big Daddy’s Bar-B-Q) We are both going in opposite directions up here in Alaska. We both seem to experience the same things at different times. They spent time in Fairbanks waiting for their reserve time in Teklanika just like we are doing now. I believe they are heading for Anchorage and we are going towards Dawson City in the Yukon. I wonder if our paths will cross again on this trip.

Tonight we went to the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. I was very surprised with the outcome. The first event was a native tribe playing drums and dancing. I actually understood the movements in the dance. One Elder was especially good at dancing a hunting dance. He reminded me of our neighbor George back in Berlin, not that George does Native Indian dance, but he resembled him in stature.

One Hand High Kick ~93 Inches!
The next event (and I also liked) was the babies dressed in native costumes. Now I’m talking about furs, rawhide and beads. These costumes, I’m sure would cost a thousand dollars if bought in the lower forty-eights. The Eskimo-Indians hunt and trap the raw ingredients. The mothers and grandmothers do the sewing. Different pelts for different parts of the garment. They use Wolverine around the face because it repels frostbite. Really neat the way they do all of that.

The men and women competed in (Alaskan High Kick) that is a one hand high kick. It’s kind of hard to describe but you sit on the floor, look up at a suspended ball 94 inches (for Men) and 73 for woman and trust yourself with one hand and kick the ball. Look at the picture.

Grease Pole Race
We left before the Seal skinning contest and the 3.5 oz Muktuk Eating Contest. (Raw Blubber) It was getting late and we needed to do laundry before our departure. Oh did I forget to mention the Ear Pull? Two contestants sit facing each other and loop twine around their ears. Right ear to right or left to left. A “Tug-of-War” ensues  they lean backward until the string comes loose or someone gives up. Like the ear weight event, it is a test of a contestant’s ability to endure pain.

That is what we did and saw

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ear pulling, blubber eating... nuf said!