Wednesday, March 21, 2007

15 and a half minutes of fame

Well, the land is all snatched up in Anderson. I arrived there at 5 a.m. on Monday morning and people were lined up outside at 35 below Celsius and had been out there for two days. Most were from 'Outside,' meaning not from Alaska although there were a few from within the state. Though there were only 26 plots of land, 44 people were in line by 9 a.m. People saw the AP article on Saturday, dropped everything, jumped on planes from Idaho, Oregon, Florida and Wisconsin and got here to stake their claims. It was pretty nuts. While I was there the phones at the city office were ringing non-stop. Calls from Canada, India, South America and Chine plus a whole whack of people calling from the Lower 48. I even got to answer the phone once. It was a retired woman from California asking if we could save her a spot. I said no, that the land was already spoken for by now and that you had to be here in person. She asked if I could let her know when they do this again so she could come, I said 'sure, what the hell.' I met some really cool people from all walks of life who wanted to live the Alaskan dream. I think the Harvard Law student said it best. "This is a brilliant and innovative way to create a neighbourhood," he said. "Because now we all know each other and we've been through this together."
Even Oprah tried to get in on the action. Apparently, she was trying to come to Anderson to do a 'Good things in America' segment for her show. She cancelled at the last minute.
I got a call from the BBC in London asking for more information because they wanted to do a story.
But later that day I got an email from the teacher whose students started this whole land giveaway thing. He said the community enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame but by 4 o'clock that day, it was like nothing had even happened. He said he walked out the front door of the school and streets were empty, except for the moose over by the swingset.
So, to all those who got their land, welcome to Alaska and for those who didn't, try Kansas.

This guy got his plot and his marking his territory on a map of the subdivision.

People slept outside to save their spots in line.

People huddled around fire barrels and propane heaters to stay warm.

Moose are everywhere. Hazel barked and barked and barked at this moose, until the beast got too close and Hazel retreated to her dog house letting out the occasional growl.

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