When you mention Alaska to people who have never actually been there, they are probably going to imagine murky lands always covered in thick snow. Alaska certainly is snowy for most part of the year, but it is full of life and activity. True natives of Alaska are not even bothered by the cold. Alaska is a much-developed state, with the exception of some isolated areas that are difficult to reach. Here’s a handful of facts and myths about Alaska that might change your perception of the place:
Myth: Alaskans live in Igloos
People of Alaska live in normal insulated houses; they have basic utilities to keep the indoors warm. Igloos were a form of temporary shelter for Eskimos and hunters in old times. If anyone builds an igloo in the current era, it is normally for coping with an emergency situation.
Fact: Alaska is a state in the U.S
Alaska is extraordinarily vast, but that does not make it one separate country. It is a part of the United States of America, and your opinion doesn’t change the reality. Travelling between places can be time consuming and arduous, but you get access to everything within your community. The civilization might be sparse between the communities, but the tranquility grows on you.
Myth: You can see Russia from the shore or a rooftop
This is the most ridiculous belief ever, unless you have bionic eyes. Russia is more than 50 miles away across the ocean and there are islands in-between. The only time you could see Russia is if you travel by air towards the East on an exceptionally clear sunny day.
Fact: Drinking and Dining Out is Expensive
Do not be fooled by the ‘Instagramers’ and ‘YouTubers’ who post photos and videos of their time in Alaska. The drinks in their hands and the food on their plates might look exquisite, but they forget to mention how expensive it is to drink and eat out at fancy inns and restaurants.
Myth: It is always dark outside
Daytime is diminished to a few hours during the peak of winters, but sunshine persists for up to 22 hours on the longest summer days. Therefore, we conclude that Alaska can be a bit too sunny or a bit too dark simultaneously.
Fact: Alaskans love their Espresso
You won’t find a single Alaskan who doesn’t start their day without the much needed caffeine fix. Espresso shacks can be found around every corner, and the locals like to keep it simple. If you are into the fancy stuff, you can go to Starbucks as well.
Myth: There are Penguins everywhere
Just because Alaska is cold, it does not mean that penguins live here. Alaska is situated in the northern hemisphere, whereas penguins are native to the Southern hemisphere. If that’s disappointing, you can always go visit them at the zoo.
Fact: Traffic Jams in Alaska are different
While vehicular traffic is a rare sight in Alaska, the native wildlife, particularly large elks, and reindeer often block the roads. You might even encounter a friendly grizzly bear, so be excited. However, it is best to be driven around by a local in order to avoid getting into a car accident.
Myth: Sled Dogs are the common means of transport
Sled dogs are only witnessed on special occasions. Alaskans drive all kinds of cars, mostly big and burly four wheelers to propel through the snow.
Fact: Alaska has Tax Exemptions
Apart from the PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend), Alaskans are also exempt from paying income tax. Some cities do not even charge a sales tax, while others charge as low as 5%.