Several of us traveled to Valdez to attend the Last Frontier Theatre Conference at Prince William Sound Community College. John had the hook up because a play of his had previously been featured in the program. In exchange for a bit of volunteer work we enjoyed all of the festivities and amenities of the gathering.
Though dormitories were available to us, we opted to tent on the lawn outside of them. Cozy, fun, slumber party-reminiscent accommodations, though not terribly good for a solid night's sleep. Running on fumes after a few nights in one of these with five other people. No regrets.
One dimension of the community that I find so attractive (and which constitutes one of its chief delights for a visitor) is a highly developed culture of food. This deserve much more attention elsewhere, but for the moment suffice to say that travel will be no excuse for food preparation to be anything but creative, joyous, and gorgeous on the taste buds. When in the company of people raised here there is no shortage of accomplished cooks, who on the Valdez trip prepared full-blown, glorious gypsy grub meals, tailgate style, with fresh ingredients including greens from the garden and home made tofu, tempeh and seitan.
This improvisation turned about to be something of a Thai spicy peanut butter seitan. Some were skeptical of the genius who conceived of the peanut butter plan, but none could deny the deliciousness of the results. The bread pictured is also smeared with an absurdly tasty dressing of Emily's creation (she has proven to be a dressing master with many tricks up her sleeve), originally intended for salad but capable of improving any food it touches.
We also got to take a little evening cruise on the sound. Emma peers out on otters and floating glacial ice, and someone mentioned dolphins, though they seemed to be hiding from our sight.
It would be difficult to visit Valdez without being reminded of the event that took place here on Prince William Sound back in the spring of '89 (when I was still a wee lad), one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in human history (which, now that I think of it, probably puts it pretty high in the running for greatest environmental catastrophes in the earth's history), and one case for the possible wisdom of pursuing sources of energy other than petroleum, while striving to make our use of it more efficient.