One Man's Alaska

"In the Ghetto" - Notes from Wasilla, Alaska

May 30, 2010

I don't want to say that I live in a bad neighborhood here in Wasilla, but I have taken to singing Elvis Presley's song "In the Ghetto" from time to time.

There are times I feel like I'm on a reality show, where a successful businessman sells his business, says goodbye to everyone he knows, and goes to live, well, in the ghetto. This is usually followed by the thought, "Al, what were you thinking?"

The neighborhood actually looks okay, and I don't want to get into it too much now, but many of my neighbors are part of the "U.S. and Alaska welfare system", where they live on a variety of state and federal programs. Many of them have legitimate needs, but at least two of them pretty much just refuse to work, which continues to annoy me to no end.

Rental costs

The good part about this neighborhood is that the rent is only $725/month, which equates to $400-500/month in most other areas of the United States. The only utility bill I have to pay is electricity, which cost less than $10 last month. In Kentucky, I was paying well over $1,000/month for rent and utilities, so this is a little savings compared to that, and a huge savings compared to the $1,250/month rent-plus-utilities I was looking at with most other rental opportunities back in March and April.

If I haven't said it here before, good rental units are extremely hard to find in Alaska, and are also extremely expensive. The cost to buy a home aren't much different than Kentucky, but the rental market is completely different.

I know I worked extremely hard back in March trying to find a place to live, but I wish I could have landed again in Talkeetna, Seward, or perhaps Palmer. In many ways Wasilla is like many small cities in the Lower 48, so other than having the mountains just down the road, there's nothing special about this experience. When I move again in September/October, I want to keep these things in mind.

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