Monday, May 10, 2010

Expires 5 of 13

Mom and I used to travel to romantic places with strange-sounding names, as the song (“Far Away Places”) goes. If the truth was to be known, as they say, the names were strange sounding, but the places weren’t that romantic. “Coldfoot” and “Deadhorse” aren’t exactly spots where you draw a hot bath and set out wine and candles.

I’ve been to Chickaloon, passed through Moose Pass, and just missed Totatlanika. Flew over Igloo on our way to Kotzebue, above the Arctic Circle. Kotzebue, small and isolated, at the end of a peninsula from Reindeer Station, northwest of Elephant Point. Funny thing about Kotzebue: They accept VISA cards.

So does some isolated roadhouse in a nameless stretch of the Glenn Highway between Chickaloon and Glennallen. It holds about 50 people, crowded, and writes up your credit card as so many gallons of Exxon gas. Not food; gas. Why? Because. Don’t ask questions; just sign the ticket and pretend your $10 meal was $10 worth of gas.

I realize our plastic is accepted just about anywhere; it’s the “anywhere” that sometimes surprises me. North of the Arctic Circle, for instance. You’d think they would be bartering in chickens or whale blubber, but it’s “cash or credit?” same as anywhere else. In the Caribbean, with its own currency, U.S. dollars or VISA, all fine with them.

I’ve traveled a lot and never found anywhere that didn’t accept VISA. I’ve found places that didn’t accept U.S. cash because it might be fake, but not plastic.


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