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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Thursday November 20, 2003
07:27 PM

Catchup: Now in K-town

[ #15913 ]
14th, Friday

Dear Log,

The packing went on until not quite the last minute, but it did take more of the night than I expected. Granted, I didn't "have" to pack anything -- I could have just let the movers take care of every last thing, since it's all going on the Institute's tab anyway. But I can't stand the idea of people pawing thru my totally unpacked, cluttered mess of a place going "good God, what a lot of junk! Who LIVES here?". So I pack up all the contents of all the drawers, cleaned out the closet and tossed out anything clearly not worth taking; and I saved some things from the fridge (notably some spices -- the one benefit of moving house in Alaska in November is that everything is basically going to be kept at refrigerator-like temperatures en route) and threw out the rest. (Half-empty bottles of soy sauce, mustard, mirin; a tub of pickled ginger, etc.)

I've just left them the dishes, the furniture, the books, and the appliances to pack.

Yay, the flight to Ketchikan was on time, short, and uneventful. The cat was aghast at the whole process, but by now is mostly jaded by it.

First impressions: Ketchikan is surprisingly sunny compared to Juneau. I never realized how much sunlight the channel walls in Juneau were cutting out. The milder climate here makes everything even greenier. In Juneau, moss is velvety film on some rocks and cement. But here in Ketchikan, moss runs riot, growing in fist-sized nodules up every rock wall.

Juneau started out, a century ago, with a mostly flat few-miles-square basin to build in, but apparently Ketchikan never had anything of the sort -- there was shore, and then there was steep rock. But people wanted to build here, and they had high tech for the time -- they knew how to sink piles into the tilty rock seabed, and they knew how to build big wood buildings on them, and link them with boardwalks.

At some point, someone realized that since the whole area is solid rock, you could architecturally get away with anything here -- anywhere you can blast and drill, you can anchor a foundation and build anything you want; and once they brought in the gear for that, they built all over. It was then all connected with sidewalks and streets, in various layers of accretion, so you never know whether you're really walking on top of seawater -- until you look thru a gap between two foundations, and see that twenty feet down, the tide is going out.

So just about the only thing I haven't seen here is houses on the side of sheer vertical rock walls.

I have got to get a camera, or people won't believe how much this place is like Hak Nam, or Cité des Enfants Perdus.

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