Oh the joys of summer in southeast Alaska.
Rain. Clouds. Rain. Bears. Clouds. Cruise ships. Rain. Tourists. Rain.
The first cruise ship of the season arrived into Juneau today. I have worked in tourism since cell phones were non-existent and am in love with this industry. Where else can you work and experience the feelings of happiness, envy, exasperation, shock and awe all in one afternoon? Some days those feelings, and much more, are experienced within just an hour of trying to dispatch tours on the pier.
They’re a breed on to their own. Not so much Homo sapiens but more like an alien life form. How many times has someone asked me what port they’re in, what city, what country….too many times to count. Really, they should have an inkling of where they’re going before they take off from the home port. It amazes me how often people are stunned to learn Alaska is cold.
Yes, you see a majority of our guests believe Alaska is right off the coast of California and Mexico. No, I’m not kidding. Have you looked at a map of the United States over the last decade? Here, I’ll share my bottle of Tums with you.
The flip side is they’re surprised to see we don’t live in igloos and actually have electricity. But then are disappointed to learn there’s no gift shop on the glacier.
Have you ever argued with a tourist? Let me tell you, as a local, I know what I’m talking about. Let’s see, I’ve lived in this town for the last 17 years and can guarantee you that really IS downtown Juneau across the street. Nope, we’re not hiding a sprawling metropolis somewhere under the glacier – this is it.
One of the things I tell my guests, when I have to drive a 40′ motor coach, is first of all pick your jaws up off the floor. I know I’m short but I’m big enough to ride the rides at Disney World, therefore I’m tall enough to drive the bus. Second, really….you’re giving me a complex with taking my picture as I stand here talking to you. Lastly, whatever you do, don’t blink as we leave town. If you blink you will miss downtown Juneau – guaranteed.
I was walking down the pier this afternoon and the gentleman in front of me did a double take when the police officer walked past. He stopped so short I nearly walked right up his back side. Yep. We’ve got walking police officers – crazy isn’t it?
Since I’m a people watcher, I love tourists. The outfits. The families. The upset couples. The crew members coming off the ship. The outfits. I love our guests who are trying to blend in with the locals. Wearing snowsuits and ski suits does not make you a local. Not kidding – I’ve seen it. Whole families bundled up like they’re headed out into the Antarctic wilderness. Or the fur coats and high heels. No, you can’t wear those heels on the glacier. While you think they’ll act like an ice axe, I’m here to tell you they’re going to break your ankle. Both of them.
It’s 65 degrees out. The ear muffs, scarfs, gloves and downy coat makes me sweat. The brand new hiking boots kill me – cause apparently we’re all about rugged dirt roads and mud puddles.
The other thing that gets me are the picture takers. Have you ever wondered what people are taking a photo of? I do. I’ve stood behind people trying to figure out what they’re taking photos of and have given up. Is it an eagle? Nope. The tram-car? No. A waterfall? Notta. What the heck is it then? An old semi trailer and trees. Really? And what’s with the license plate photos? I never understood this and yet see it all the time. Yep. It says Alaska. They’re not even fabulous looking. I guarantee you walk through a parking lot and you’ll see someone bending over to snap a photo of our blue and yellow plates. Weird, but it takes all kinds.
Cheers to another season of fun and head scratching moments. I can’t wait!