Showing posts from June, 2013

Boat Passenger Comment Card #2

Part of my job up here in Seward, Alaska, involves entering the feedback we receive from hundreds of comment cards that are returned to us by passengers after they have taken our boat tours. These are some of their least feasible suggestions. 

Comment Card
June 21st, 2013
Anonymous, Florida USA

What can we do to improve the tour?

Let otters run around on the boat

Dear Anonymous of Florida,
WTF are you talking about? If we put a few wild otters inside the boat they would likely gnaw you to death in a panicked rage before you could locate the exit. No.
We thank you for your feedback.

Boat Passenger Comment Card #1

Part of my job up here in Seward, Alaska, involves entering the feedback we receive from hundreds of comment cards that are returned to us by passengers after they have taken our boat tours. These are some of their least feasible suggestions. 

Comment Card
June 17th, 2013
Anonymous, Australia

What can we do to improve the tour?

Get the whales to jump higher and stay out of the water longer for better photos

Dear Anonymous,
You seem to be under the impression that we control the whales and other wildlife. This is not the case - hence the prefix 'wild'. The whales are also contending with gravity, thus in order to satisfy this request we would need to change the physical laws of the universe. We are currently unable to do so.
We thank you for your feedback.

Summer Season In Alaska: Second Impressions

I've been in Alaska for just over a week and the weather continues to be unusually warm. In fact, yesterday Seward experienced it's hottest day since July 1999, with a temperature of 88°F. This is great except for one minor issue: there is no air conditioning anywhere in Alaska. None.

Amidst the heat wave, I've begun work at the front desk of the Glacier Tours* company. Our tours go out into the Kenai Fjords National Park (pronounced 'keen-eye fyords'), which is accessible only by water (with the exception of Exit Glacier, which is accessible by road). My job involves checking-in passengers and directing them to their boats and assisting people who wander into the office. As part of my training, I was sent out on an 8 hour boat tour and got to see Aialik Glacier (pronounced 'eye-alik' glacier), one of the largest tidewater glaciers in the park. It was the best paid work day I've had since that time I was paid to fly to Rome to pick up a roll of film (a…

Where's That Accent From?

I have a unique accent. I know this because whenever I talk to someone for the first time, they make random, incorrect guesses as to my origins before surrendering and asking where my accent is from.

I've given the answer more times than I can count. In it's summarised version; I was born and raised in South Africa. I moved with my family to Australia when I was in high school. And after I finished university, I flew to North America where I have lived, on and off, ever since. 
Unfortunately, what usually happens next is that the conversation heads in one of two directions:
1. The new acquaintance asks me whether I know that one other random friend they have from Australia/ South Africa/ Any foreign country.

The answer is always 'no'. Just because I'm Australian does not mean that I know your Australian friend, Wallaby Sheila, who was living in Darwin back when you visited in 1987. There are 22 million people in Australia, mate. And frankly, Wallaby sounds like a bit…

Summer Season in Alaska: First Impressions

As with any journey worth talking about, this one began with kneeling on the airport floor at the airline check-in counter, trying desperately to make three pounds of luggage disappear via redistribution. I thought I had packed with restraint. Not even close.

I flew into Anchorage and thanks to the clear weather and low tide, I was able to enjoy a view of the exposed mudflats along the coastline. I'm fascinated by this quicksand-like area, because on my previous visit to Alaska I learned from the locals that it is an ideal place to get rid of a dead body.

From the Ted Stevens airport, I caught the People Mover bus (real name) to the transit center in downtown Anchorage, where I boarded another bus to take me to Denali. This would have been great had I been trying to get to Denali. Unfortunately, I was trying to get to Seward, which is in the exact opposite direction.

Adding to the embarrassment, I was wearing my comfortable travel clothes, including a sweater from the Aussie store…

Texts To Rob: Exciting Update!

(Don't know who Rob is? Me neither! See where the mystery began here.)

I have received the latest unexpected, misplaced text from Rob's boss. It was written with his usual abrupt style and devil-may-care attitude toward punctuation.

It read: Rob Asha are u on way. We really need to start early as really short week. I have given rob extra day off and it poured with rain so management will be an issue. Lets make this week a winner. Asha rob is now an uncle

Through the mental insertion of a comma following the name 'Asha' at the end of the text, I was able to ascertain the news regarding Rob, as declared above.

Exciting news everyone! It appears that Rob is now an Uncle!

Summer Season Working in Alaska

Of all the things I will be accused over my lifetime, failing to provide great stories for my friends to laugh at will not be one of them.

This year, I believe I'm taking things to a whole new level with my bold and hasty decision to abandon all adult responsibility and instead spend the summer living and working in Alaska.

I will be based in the picturesque, seaside town of Seward, a place I visited for around 2 hours on my first and only trip to Alaska (a trip that also spawned the worst photo ever taken of the Northern Lights). Ultimately a fishing town - some have made the daring claim that it offers the best salmon fishing in the world - Seward has a population of 3000, an average summer temperature of 55°F (13°C) and sits at the entrance to the Kenai Fjords National Park. The town is the prime jump-off point for the boat and kayak tours that carry tourists along the waterways for close-up viewing of tidewater glaciers and marine wildlife. It is with one of these glacier tou…

The Most Misleading Job Offer I've Ever Received

I'm currently house sitting for a friend in Studio City (Los Angeles). It's a lovely apartment with a small, friendly community and recently, I ran into one of the neighbours, Mel*. She was interested to know what I was doing in town and I explained that I had recently arrived from Australia and had yet to find employment.

"I run my own business," Mel had informed me. "We're looking for some help. Are you interested in part time work?"
"Yes, absolutely."
"Well, why don't you drop by tomorrow? It's at the Craftsman Lodge* down the road. Do you know it?"
"I think I've bicycled past it a few times." (Yup, that's how I roll. Pun intended.)
"I'm usually there from seven to ten. Stop in and we'll talk."
"Great, I will. Thanks!"

I had no idea what the job was, but I was excited at the opportunity to discuss some potential sideline work. A few hours later, my phone rang. It was Mel.


Texts To Rob

I've recently become the involuntary recipient of someone else's text messages. Someone is texting my number and mistakenly believes me to be a gentleman named Rob.