I headed to Wasilla on inauguration day, looking for signs of congratulations or outrage or any recognition of Sarah Palin's vice presidential nomination. I'm sure I must have missed something because I was only there about 2 hours, but I saw nothing. No indication at all of Palin's election bid, which I had guessed might be a point of pride. Wrong!
Wasilla is quite a mystery. First, it's way smaller than I had anticipated. Way, way smaller. The "town" is built right off of the highway and is comprised of strip malls and big box stores. It's a slightly elevated highway with the strip malls on either side of the main highway. I'm not decrying these stores, I don't know enough about the structure of the economy in Wasilla, but it was a little depressing. Maybe this is the new "America" and the local has eroded to the point where these massive, somewhat generic, businesses are our "local hardware" stores. I find Wasilla to be really fascinating in that sense because almost all of the Alaskans I've met are fiercely invested in Alaska as a world apart from the "lower 48" and Wasilla seems to be the antithesis of the desire for autonomy that so many Alaskans espouse as something of great importance to them.
However I did meet this awesome woman who is a mechanic and built her own massive, MASSIVE, truck herself. She told me she had "nothing stock" under the hood.
And I met these great taxidermists.
And the ride out to Wasilla is beautiful, but I can't help but wonder about who does city planning there.