May. 7th, 2007

nemo2342: (Default)
I originally wrote this in an email to my mother on 5-5 while I was waiting for the bus to Denali from the airport:

Computer: There were problems with the old harddrive from my old PC, and because I relied on Nate to get it working it wasn't ready to go with me, and there wasn't time to buy a new one. So almost all of my computer stuff (music, games, etc) are sitting at home with Nate. Theoretically he will get it fixed/replaced and send it with his Dad, who comes up next week. At this point I'm not holding my breath.

Packing: There was just no way to fit everything into one suitcase and a carryon, so I had to bring another duffel bag with me. I still didn't manage to bring everything with me (I know I forgot my bathrobe) though. Also, the restrictions on liquid items meant that I had to leave my bodywash behind, since I neglected to buy a smaller bottle (I already had 2 at home), so I'll need to pick that up when we stop at the store.

Airport (RDU): Laurel dropped me off, and one of the nice airline ladies pointed me to the right machine to check in with. The ticket lady actually recognized me, as she used to be a regular shopper at Food Lion. She was able to switch my seat on the second flight to a window seat, which was nice. I didn't have any problems going through security, and they didn't even check some of the things Laurel told me they would (I didn't have to turn my laptop on, for instance). I didn't spend a lot of time here, since we boarded the plane around 1:20pm or so.

Flight 1: The flight to Dallas was pretty uneventful. It took about 2.5 hours. It was pretty freaky looking out and seeing the ground from that high up. It was also pretty amazing that in an hour we had made a trip (to Memphis, TN) that I had only made before in 13 hours (on the greyhound). I have found that I am very sensitive to the movements of the plane. I couldn't tell if it was bothering anyone else, but I could definitely feel it every time he tipped the wings, or went higher/lower. It kind of gave me that light headed feeling I get whenever I go on one of the rides at the fair. There wasn't a whole lot to see on the way there, unless you like looking at clouds.

Airport (Dallas): This airport is freaking huge. I heard it was bigger than Manhattan. I had quite a trek from the arrival terminal to the departure terminal, though at least my gate was in walking distance (some of the other gates were only accessible by skyway, which would have been neat to ride). I spent a little over an hour here, waiting for the next flight. Which was fine, since it gave me time to eat and use the restroom (if you think the airport prices are inflated, you should see what they charge on the flight itself. $3 for a $1.19 thing of chips, yikes).

Flight 2: This was a looooong flight, almost 7 hours in fact. It actually had in-flight movies, but my headphones were in my checked luggage and I wasn't going to pay for their crappy headphones (they were the cheap earbuds you get free with any headphone/cd player you purchase these days). I did my best to sleep on both flights, but it was hard to get comfortable and the best I could manage was to doze. I generally alternated between reading and dozing, though I did look out the window from time to time. The best part (view-wise) was wen we crossed over Canada into Alaska. Some of the mountains were beautiful, with the way the sun was shining off the snow covered peaks. The really stunning ones were the ones we passed in Alaska itself, as we were descending at that point and you could see how huge they were.

Airport (Anchorage): I didn't see much of this airport, since I was in a hurry to go and get my baggage. Everything showed up fine, except for my duffel bag. The shoulder strap was apparently lost during transit, so I've had to improvise with my carrying (I've strapped the large bag to the carryon, and am wheeling both of them around together at least until that strap gives).

Hotel: You get what you pay for, and this hotel wasn't anything special. The room had an odd smell, and there was no way to turn on the a/c that I could find. Still, it had a bed, a shower, and free internet (I wish it had had breakfast), so it sufficed.

Oversights: Food. I really messed up on this one. I ate before I left, and I had a light meal at Dallas, but I wasn't able to get anything in Anchorage, and once you get to baggage claim there's no way to go back to the restaurants. I would have eaten more in Dallas, but I didn't want to fly on a full stomach in case I got any queasier. The best I could manage was some junk food from the hotel vending machine. I think we'll stop for a snack on the 6 hour ride to Denali, but other than that I'll be using breath strips to keep the edge off (I find that for a while after eating one I lose the desire to go and eat anything). I didn't bring any food with me, because I didn't realize I would be getting here too late to eat. (I did eventually find a coffee shop that had some bagels, so I didn't starve)
nemo2342: (Default)
The ride to Denali took damn near forever. It was about 7 hours stuck on a tourbus with a driver who would not shut the hell up. I was in the very back of the bus, next to a guy named Charles who happened to be one of the main cooks at the employee housing area. He's done 5 seasons here, so he had quite a few tips to share with me and the couple in front of us. By the end of the drive the four of us were known as the Peanut Gallery, as we were constantly mocking the lame "tour" our driver was giving, and picking on some of our coworkers (we currently have a bet to see which ones will get fired after the first pay period).

The lodge itself is beautiful, but the employee housing was not quite as advertised. Many of us were lead to believe that the rooms had attached bathrooms, when in reality most rooms did not. The communal shower for my hall (38 rooms, 1-2 people per room) only has 4 shower stalls, 4 sinks, and 2 toilets. The public restroom on my floor is Out of Order, with no ETA as to when it will be fixed. This is fairly bad, since all the guys have to have neatly groomed facial hair (unless they're in food service, where they have to be clean shaven). Also, the "wifi" appears to only work in the rec room, and not in the bedrooms. I heard a rumor that this was being worked on, but we'll see.

My roomate is a gentleman by the name of Howard. He appears to be in his late 40s/early 50s, and he is morbidly obese (he's easily 350 lbs). My current priority is to get him moved to another room. He drank a fifth of gin from 9pm to 11pm, then promptly passed out on his bed and began snoring. I could deal with normal snoring, but his snores were extremely loud and obnoxious, not to mention the groaning, wheezing, and grunting. The only time he stopped snoring was when he stopped breathing altogether, and at times I wondered if he had finally choked to death in his sleep.

Needless to say, I only managed about an hour's worth of rest (I wouldn't call it sleep), and at 4am I said fuck it and got ready for work. From 4-5 I hung out in the rec room, using their computers to check up on a few things to kill time. At 5am I ran into another insomniac, and we hung out until we left for work at 7:30am.

Work itself was pretty boring. We started with the usual "go in a circle and say something about yourself" BS, then moved on to a half-assed customer service video in a building with no fucking heat. After that we had some generic hot pockets and soup for lunch, and then we had some job-specific training (except for me).

Here's the deal. I'm not an auditor in the transportation department, as I originally thought. Rather, I am THE auditor for the transportation department. I unlike the other Outfitters, I have my own office in a completely seperate building from the Front Desk. So before I get my specific training, I have to run through a lot of the general Outfitter training so that I can figure out how they've screwed up the books.

This reminds me very much of my last job, in fact. I'm not one of the supervisors, but I'm not one of the peons either. I'm pretty glad to not be in charge of anyone's work but my own, though I do have one supervisor across the hall from me who said I could help her with her work if I had spare time. I probably will, since 1)Princess seems to have no problems paying lots of overtime and 2)It makes it look better if I decide to come back next year. Plus I receive bonus pay (something like .30-.50/hr) at the end of the season, assuming I do a good job.

Despite the fact that I'm not working with the rest of the Outfitters, I still get all the benefits of being one. As a first year outfitter I have priority for any tours offered to the employees. Theoretically this is so that the outfitters, who are responsible for booking the various tours that go out from the lodge, will be knowledable and willing/able to push these (often pricey) trips on people. I've signed up for the first trip they've offered, which goes out tomorrow. I'm tired, and I really don't want to go, but I want to look like I'm a team player. One guy did refuse to go on this "strongly encouraged" outing, and I suspect that he's not going to make it through his contract.

Right now I'm exhausted, and starving. The line for dinner was humongous, so I'm sitting in the rec room on my laptop, catching up on my emails. Normally it wouldn't be this bad, since everyone wouldn't be in the homestead at the same time (the lodge has to be staffed in various ways 24/7), but right now we're all here since there's little point in staffing an empty hotel (except for the select few people who are there getting it ready for opening next week).


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