Common Questions

Posted: Saturday, February 02, 2008

Q: How can you spot an Alaskan?

A: Southeast Alaskans are often decked out in rubber boots, well-worn Levis or Carhartts, and tattered, hooded sweatshirts. Their complexions are dewy and they squint when the sun comes out, followed by comments about that strange yellow ball in the sky.

Q: Why don't locals use umbrellas?

A: Call it stubbornness or being in denial, somehow the umbrella just never caught on here. People are drip-dry, and umbrellas just can't take the wind that so often accompanies the rain; besides, umbrellas are for wimps.

Q: How high is Juneau?

A: The ocean gives you a clue. The Inside Passage is the Pacific Ocean, which places Juneau at sea level. High tide used to lap South Franklin and Front Street. Canoes were parked where people are walking now.

Q: Does it always rain here?

A: No. Sometimes it snows. Juneau gets about 150 inches of precipitation a year; we call it "liquid sunshine." Around these parts, any day without rain is considered a beautiful day.

Q: Do you take American money?

A: You bet. However, due to our proximity to Canada, don't be surprised if a cashier gives you Canadian coins for change. The two coinage types mingle freely here.

Q: Do I need a passport when I come to Juneau?

A: Only if you plan to continue your journey to Canada, Russia or the Far East.

Q: What time is it here?

A: Alaska time. Things will get done, unless the sun is out or the fishing is exceptionally good. Most of Alaska is on Alaska time, an hour earlier than Pacific time.

Q: Where's the midnight sun?

A: Go north above the Arctic Circle, where the sun never sets during the summer, about 66 degrees north latitude. Juneau is just above latitude 58.

Q: How many hours of daylight do you have?

A: On Juneau's longest day, June 21, we have 18 hours and 18 minutes of daylight. The shortest day in December, we have 6 hours and 22 minutes daylight, which means most working people don't get too much time outdoors.

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