Alaska Air is a frightening airline. I was supposed to fly out of Seattle at 7 am, arrive in Anchorage at 10, and have 45 minutes to catch my connection to Dutch Harbor. Apparently, they couldn't find their pilot, so I (and 4 other workers) got bumped to the next flight... 9 am. We naturally miss the appropriate connecting flight, and are put on standby until they have space on another flight. This is Sunday. In the Anchorage airport, I meet some of the cast of characters that I am going to be spending the next month with. Abel, a cherubic multilingual Chilean with a passion for italian wine and women, Kenny, beefy like wow, with a kanji tattoo on his neck that says "Leo" (and the coolest cat on the boat), Fafagu, smallish for a Samoan, whose name means "when the English wake up", and Jesus. Jesus is Spanish. His english when we met was limited to interruptions in conversation about what I should expect on the boat with "Jew must make sure thee knives arre verry verry sharp". Sharp knives I can handle. I can make them sharp, keep them sharp, and use them sharp. His passion for sharp knives was exemplified by his enthusiastic repetition of the aforementioned statement every 15 minutes for 2 hours. I chocked it up to him not understanding the basic gist of the conversation, and trying to steer it toward something with which he was more familiar. I figured wrong. This fat, 8 fingered pain in the ass would turn out to be the bane of anyone who worked near him.
We are stuck in Anchorage overnight. I've been stuck places before, no problem. It falls on me to get the dinner, breakfast, and housing vouchers from Alaska Air. This would normally be no problem. Alaska Air tried to blame the other airline for our dropped flight, and when they finally accepted the blame for dropping the ball (90 minutes and 4 airport laps later), they gave us food and hotel vouchers. The food vouchers that they gave us had different monetary values on each, which were crossed out, and handwritten over. The hotel vouchers had other people's names on them. These both posed issues with our restaurant of choice, and hotel of necessity.
Our waitress was a matronly woman who was anxious to please. She had been working there for 2 days. She took our orders, and disappeared for 30 minutes. I saw the manager (who looked like a red haired wicked witch of the west, complete with massive warty chin) approach, and seemingly berate our poor waitress. When our matronly server brought our food out, she was crying. I already had a bad taste in my mouth from Jesus' renewed vigor on the topic of sharp knives ("Do we keep them sharp?" "No, dey should be sharrp all thee time when we get there."), but making your employees cry while deliviering food is inexcuseable. This poor woman might get tears in our hash browns. I knew then that this red haired witch demon MUST PAAAAY! When we walked out of the diner, she would not accept our vouchers. Assuming that the handwritten numbers were of our own doing. I got this bag of human to start shouting so loud in her own restaurant, that finally, a consortium of elderly patrons decided to pay the difference between our meal and the printed vouchers just to get her to shut up. I let them. Just to increase her embarassment factor. The Elderly consortium and I exited simultaneously, and I paid them back the money that they put down for us when we were out of sight. I didn't want to impose on other people's decency, just teach this atrocious woman a lesson.
Back to the Hotel, where I have the fortune to deal with the misnomers on the vouchers. That's another trip to the airport, and another hour waiting for those moronic Alaska Air employees to fix ANOTHER MISTAKE!!!!!
Wake up next Monday at 6 to get to the airport and hang out for a space on an airplane going to Dutch Harbor. I get a confirmed flight and land on Dutch Harbor's 30 foot runway 3 hours later. It is time to baptise my trip in the glacial blue waters of the Harbor. This being my second baptism, I consider myself a convert from the broken church of east coast mania to the Pacific church of coastal coolness.
We are picked up at the airport by ParsHay. A bodybuilding fisherman/mechanic/self proclaimed pimp/quality control manager. Part of this man's persona is to grow out his fingernails as long as he can, keep them clean, and do some of the dirtiest jobs in the world. Pull up to the dock, and I get to put a face to the voice on the other side of the phone. Marlea and I press flesh, and it's onward to the factory tour, the slimy pit of stainless steel where I will be spending my fish filled days knee deep in the yearly holocaust of the underwater realm.
Tomorrow, 2 days in dutch and the steam out
Questions?, Comments?, Hate Mail? Send it to Pete or John
11/18/06 Issue 17 - Moregon
11/06/06 Issue 16.2 - Metal Ist Krieg!! Cont'd
10/31/06 Issue 16.1 - Metal Ist Krieg!!
10/27/06 Issue 15 - Cape May to Cape Flattery or
10/23/06 Issue 14.2 - 2 days in dutch and the steam out
10/17/06 Issue 14.1 - Seattle to Dutch
08/25/06 Issue 13 - Holy Mackerel!!!
08/22/06 Issue 12 - Ever heard the verb shunt?
08/18/06 Issue 11 - Close but no cigar
08/14/06 Issue 10 - On the hunt
08/09/06 Issue 9 - I've really been at my parent's house this whole time.
08/07/06 Issue 8 - Nooooorth Dakota where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
08/02/06 Issue 7 - Grooves, Grates and Gravel
07/30/06 Issue 6 - Moon Over Parma
07/28/06 Issue 5 - I LEAVE TOMORROW!!!!!!!
07/24/06 Issue 4 - Why Jersey, and what's the holdup?
07/23/06 Issue 3 - Is this fraud? and Welcome to Delaware
07/22/06 Issue 2 - MVA, Headaches and Miracles
07/21/06 Issue 1 - Mission Statement