Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood and the People Mover

Today I decided that I would give our good old public transportation a whirl. I used to take it to dance practice when I was in high school and I remember missing my bus many times despite showing up ten minutes early. So in my teen years I learned to dread the bus; not because of the creepy, unwashed riders, but because the bus was never there.

Fast forward 7 years and the route in Eagle River no longer exists and there are more routes in Anchorage. There even exists a stop with fancy digital timetables next to our newly rebuilt museum! No one took the bus when I was in high school and now it seems to be a fairly common (and efficient) thing to do around downtown.

My mission today is to get to my salsa class at 8:00 in Dimond via bus. I’ve been dropped off in midtown and have 4 hours to get there.

While downtown, I stopped in at Charlie’s Bakery and grabbed some pot stickers. There was one other patron in the restaurant who was also dining solo- a tanned, dark haired, thirty something year old in jeans. Must’ve been a construction worker. Anyways, after my quick bite I made my way over to Barnes and Nobles to catch up on some reading and some sun. As I tried to get comfortable on the breezy patio, a guy on a smoke break wondered over and talked to me.

You know, the interesting thing about being by yourself is that you are more likely to meet new people. Which makes sense, right? It would be much easier to approach, say Lady Gaga, if she was alone than if she was surrounded by security. * Did I just compare myself to Lady Gaga and my friends to bulky, bald, black men?* Yes. Moving on.* This holds true even among animals- it’s easier to prey on a lone critter than a pack because it’s less risky. The chances of coming out alive are higher.

So bringing it back to my situation today, I was the lost lamb and this audacious stranger thought it safe to wager the odds. We chatted about the weather, his addiction to cigarettes, his job as a car salesman and then he invited me to join him inside if the weather didn’t improve. His name was Michael.

Well. The weather didn’t improve and I went inside to sit four chairs away from him. I think he noticed I was sitting close by because after I had situated myself he turned on some alternative rock music and rocked out in his seat while smiling over in my direction.

Oh the mating habits of an idiot- always interesting to observe.


Made it to salsa on time- Gold star number one for People Mover Anchorage!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring Alaska

I have graduated from college and I realize that very soon here I will be separated from not just people I know, but also people I actually care about. I have, therefore, decided it time to step up my social-networking game. My goal? One post a month. Maybe it'll turn into a bi weekly affair but let's not put those pressures on me my loyal cyber friends. With that said, let's get on with the blogging!

Last Sunday I went to the Eagle River Nature Center with Amara and my sister's family. Though hiking with kids can be a nuisance, they do make great subjects for photographing. So even despite sticky hands, nonsensical whining, and the slow pace, I was able to enjoy myself via camera. And voila! The fruits of my day:

Amara and some butch looking version of me
Carrie Erik and Princess
Faust the Fierce Forester and Tia the Trail Blazer

Tessie the Trail Guardian

Friday, March 27, 2009

R.I.P Leo and Maximus the Mighty

Leo and Maximus the Mighty

Ellen and I biked 47 kilometers to Saumur.

After a couple of hours of sight-seeing, we decide that we are ready to go home.
We bike to the train station to go home.
We decide to leave our bikes outside the small train station, unlocked, just to quickly go inside and buy tickets.
Literally, two minutes after buying tickets- Ellen goes to check on our bikes.

They’re gone.

Our bikes were gone.

I frantically asked the employees at the train station if they had any video footage from the surveillance cameras to see who took our bikes.
Surveillance cameras do not exist in French train stations. So if you were stabbed in a train station and the offender ran out- there would be no evidence, no video of who stabbed you.

So, Ellen and I walked thirty minutes to the police station on the other end of town to file a stolen property disclaimer.

How do I describe the police station? It looked like an empty doctor’s office, the lights were off, and there were at most four police men in the building.

We explain to the police men our problem and we even have pictures of our beautiful blue and red bikes to show them what they look like. The police asked us if they were our bikes. We told them no, they are bikes that belong to the Municipality of Angers (the city we’re from). Then they ask us if we have the serial numbers to the bikes. We said no.

After ten minutes of pointless conversation, they tell us there is nothing they can do because one, we didn’t have serial numbers, and two, we weren’t the victims. The Municipality of Angers was the victim because the bikes belonged to them. Then they asked us how we got to the police station and we told them by foot. They asked how we were going to get back to the train station, we told them- by foot. They said nothing. Just acted surprised. Then Ellen and I decide to leave.
What astonishes me is that they didn’t even offer us a ride back.

Ellen and I finally decided to take the bus into centre ville and agreed that we would walk from there to the train station.

Ellen and I get off the bus and start walking to the train station.

We see a group of kids. One of them is riding a blue bike.
He passes us.
I look at the bike.
It’s our bike.

The kid had taken off all of the stickers and details from the bike. He had completely defaced the bike. But we both knew it was our bike.
We looked at the bike and we looked at the kid.
We start walking towards him, not sure what we should do.
The kid realizes that he stole our bike and he pedals fast down the street, leaving his friends.
Ellen and I run after him.

He turns a corner and Ellen follows him.
I see two young girls on the street and ask them if they know who the kid was and if they knew the number to the police.
They said they didn’t know him but they gave me the number to the police.
I chase after Ellen and I find her.
She couldn’t find the boy. He has disappeared.
We soon realize that we are in a very suspicious neighborhood.
One of those parts of town that you don’t want to be in when it gets dark.
It was 7:40 at night and the sun was almost fully set.

Ellen and I start walking around the neighborhood to find the kid who stole our bikes.
We don’t find him.
We asked some kids in a parked car if they saw him and they said nothing.
We do find the friends the kid was with.
I ask them if they knew the kid on the blue bike.
They said no.
They ask if it was mine.
We tell them that our bikes were stolen.
Some of the kids said they didn’t know what I was talking about and started to walk away.
Two boys stayed and told Ellen and I that they know where our bikes were and we should follow them.
They join up with their friends and tell us we need to follow them.
We start walking into the same dark neighborhood.
They tell us to keep following them.
I start to get nervous.

The kids from the car came over to see what was going on.
They tell us to follow them to their house.
They know where our bikes are and they are going to give them back if we follow them.
I call the police to tell them we found our bikes.
The police tell us to stay where we are and stay on the phone until the police arrive.
One of the kids asks me if I’m talking to the police.
I didn’t answer him.
The kids start to get nervous because they aren’t sure if I’m talking to the police.
They start to talk loudly and they become closer and closer to Ellen and me.
It was pitch black outside and Ellen and I were standing in the middle of the street with 10 kids surrounding us.

I start to get really nervous as the police arrive.
The kids freak out and run off into their ghetto homes right across the street. Some of them stand outside of their doors and stare at us.
Some people are looking at us from their windows.
The police get out of their cars. It’s the same stupid policemen from the police station.
We tell them that those boys have our bikes and they need to give them back.
The police say there is nothing they can do.
I scream at them.
“They told us they have our bikes! They are right there! We need to get our bikes back!”
The police say there is nothing they can do.
I scream at them some more.
“They are RIGHT THERE!! They TOLD US they have OUR BIKES”
The police say there is nothing they can do.
They tell Ellen and me to get into the police car.
I ask why.
They say that it’s not safe to talk in this neighborhood.
So Ellen and I get in the car.

The stupid police man told us that we shouldn’t have followed the kids.
I told him “But we saw one of our bikes! We can’t just leave our bikes! We don’t have the money to replace them!”
He starts to talk about how they are just bikes and it’s not worth risking our lives over. The neighborhood is dangerous and those boys could’ve hurt us- he says. He tells me that I should’ve just called the police straight away when I saw the bike.
He asks me why I went after the bike.
I say to him “You weren’t going to do anything! We had to do something!”
Then I start to get hysterical and beg him.
“Isn’t there something you can do? There has to be some sort of videos at the train station”
And he says that there’s no video surveillance at the train station “This is France”.
I start screaming at him. “This happens all of the time! You need to do something about this! I can’t just let this go! We are students! I don’t have money to pay for the bike! We know who took it! We need to get our bikes!”
Then he starts explaining to me that France is not a paradise and that we should be more careful.
Before I realize it, we’re at the train station.

He finally asks for my information and then tells Ellen and me that we need to be careful and then repeats his speech about how we shouldn’t have chased the boy and followed the kids.
I was so sick of him telling me that. I SAW our bike. We knew who had our bikes. We were so close and he did nothing.
But I was tired of crying and arguing with him, so I told him he was right and I quickly thanked him and Ellen and I walked back into the small train station.

Ellen wanted to go back. She said she knew they were going to give our bikes back.
I told her it was dangerous.
She says she saw one of the boys take his knife out. But it was a small pocket knife that wouldn’t have caused much harm.
I’m tempted to go back to get our bikes. But I’m too scared.
I turned around to look outside and there is still one police car there.
Ellen says they’re there to make sure we don’t go try to go back and get our bikes.
Thirty minutes later, our train comes and the police leave.
Ellen and I get on the train and go home.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Transvestites On Bressigny

Two weekends ago was Tranvestite Night at our bar Falstaff and I decided to take my girls out for a night on the town...

Allow me to introduce you to my top earning ladies:

"Alex" and "Maxine"

Some pretty good looking broads, non?
What's that you say?
Didn't get a close enough look?
Well then, you're in for a treat:

Some of our clients...

Natalie, Clement, Yulyia--------------Alex and Yulyia

Natalie, Yulyia, Alex----------Maxine and Yulyia

*I intentionally avoided the long, dragged out "I'm sorry I haven't written in over a millenium" speech. I just haven't been motivated...though something about my lovely ladies seems to inspire my keyboard-shy fingers...*

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Cat's Meow

If you ever want to make a French person smile,
walk around the city dressed as a cat.

Friday, October 31st: 9am
Wake up, put on whiskers, adjust black ears.
Running late. Take a Taxi to school.

At school: 10am
Monsieur Melin (the director of my school) pets my head, calls me the "le petit chat".
Walk into Grammaire Classe...
Half the class makes cat calls, the other half laughs.


Ellen and I didn't think it would be a big deal to dress as cats to school, but when we noticed there weren't any other students wearing a costume- we quickly remembered that the French don't celebrate Halloween.

At first it was slightly embarrassing, but after some dingbat accused me of being a mouse, I quickly owned my feline persona and responded in a very French sort of way:

"Je ne suis pas une souris. Je suis un chat."
(I am not a mouse, I am a cat).

Back at home, it's not very surprising to see people dressed up in their costumes. It's the norm.
But here. It's like Christmas.
The Frenchies were so incredibly delighted! Everyone would smile at us and sometimes they'd even meow. One school kid actually hissed at me.
I flashed him my teeth.
Maybe they were smirking *Oh look at the little Americans in their cat costumes* or maybe they didn't even notice us, but either way the people of Angers were smiling. I can honestly say that I have never seen the French people smile as much as I did on Halloween!

Check us out!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


What happens when...

you identify a Romanian as a vampire?
He bites you.

you are cornered by a Kazakhstani after class?
He recites his monologue of "sentiments" during which his eyes don't leave yours and his face gives way to nervous twitching.

you give a Russian your number?
He actually calls you.

you take a Ukrainian to an Irish pub in France?
He takes hold of the microphone, guitar, and the Alaskan too!

Welcome to the International House of Kim!

Check it out:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Coastal France

This past weekend I visited the coastal city of St. Malo as well as Mont Saint Michel (a spit-like land mass with a kajillion stairs that eventually take you to a monastery).

Mont Saint Michel was nothing special- I had been there before and there's really not much to do or see other than visit the monastery. So that portion of the trip was only slightly insignificient and repetative. Thankfully, St. Malo lent me a different experience.

I had been to St. Malo once before and I don't remember being very impressed by it at all. In fact, I remember finding it a sort of insignificient and placid town. But after being there a second time, I feel much differently. It's a very romantic, Scottish quarter with your usual French, narrow cobblestone streets and small shops but it's also unlike any other French city I've visited. It's more quiet, slow, and familiar. It is somewhat of a 'sleepy' town but I think that it's calm pace is what shapes it's lovely nature. There was a certain charm about the place that made it absolutely impossible to be in any sort of ill disposition. Perhaps the beautiful weather or the town's seaside location is to be at thanks, but I quite literally felt more at ease and happy while I was there.

Maya and Ellen

Ellen and Kim

Kim and Ellen

My Male Models (not really, they just let me pose them):

the Russian

From Oregon