I went to Alaska for the Labor Day long weekend. I can not wait to share my experience with you all 🤗
In this post, I want to write about some wonderful people I met on the trip and the things I learned from them 🙂
Korean Woman @ the Chinese Restaurant
On our way back from Seward, we decided to visit the town of Whittier. This town is specifically famous for its one-way tunnel, which is shared by cars and trains. Also, it is the only way to get inside Whittier, the town has no other road connectivity. The whole town was probably like 5 miles at most. We reached the place around 9.30 pm and were a lot hungry. Almost all the places were closed, except this one Korean restaurant. The place was good. The owners were sweet, they shared their personal stories with us
The owner of the restaurant told us that she was Chinese. During the 90s, a lot of people from third-world countries migrated to the United States. According to her, Chinese dishes are pretty time-consuming to cook. Comparatively, it is easier to cook Korean food. So, most of the Chinese people learned to cook it, and started their Korean restaurants.
She barely knew us. Yet when I approached her, thanked her for working so hard at an isolated place and serving visitors with good food – she humbly thanked me for appreciating her food. It is a good practice to show respect and being thankful to people you meet along the way 🤗
Rockstar Uber Driver
I was returning from the 49th State Brewery with my friend around 9 pm. We ordered an Uber and were waiting for him in one corner. A drunk guy came up to us and started asking for a cigarette. None of us smokes, so we did not have any to offer him. Yet, he persisted. After much insistence and putting up a big show, he started asking us, and I quote “Do I look like a sandstorm?” 😤 I am very pretty sure he said sandstorm because he repeated it like 10 times. Then he held my friend’s hand, his other hand was in the pocket. I won’t lie, that was a shitty situation. Thank god for the Uber Driver, who arrived at the right time 😮
He saw us engaging with the homeless when he was around. He honked when he got closer. He already guessed that we were visitors, so he advised us not to panic and ignore the homeless people. He explained how the people in Alaska were different from other Americans. According to him, they have thick blood, which can stand cold, icy Alaska winters. That is how our Uber ride started, and he kept talking for the next 20 minutes 😶
The thing I learned about Alaska from him >>> Alaskans are obsessed with cars. Each home has at least three cars. Based on my calculation having three or more cars is a profitable deal in Alaska. If you rent one car for $100/day ONLY. You will easily earn $3000/month and $36000/year doing nothing. By this logic, if you have 3 cars on rent, you do not have to work at all. The cars pay for themselves in less than a year. This is why most people in Alaska have their own businesses – working for others is unlike them.
Our uber driver is a certified truck driver. He had more than five different automobile driving licenses. In cold winters, he goes up to the North Pole, to build roads on ice for the oil companies. These roadways are essential to oil companies for transportation. It is always cheaper to hire people to build roads than to even entertain the idea of air transport. These drivers are highly professional and are layered in thick winter coats during their work duration in the icy plains.
The guy earns $4000/month working in those plains. He is just a truck driver, engineers probably earn a lot more. When he was sharing his story, I could feel a sense of pride in his voice. He should feel proud of himself for doing the work he does. People like him are the carriers of human civilisation – they work hard for the nation in their own nano ways. Only a few selective people get to work at the place where he works, and I think is pretty cool 🤗
The Girl with the Spiral diary
On the way to Seward, we went to a bar. We met a young girl, who was sitting alone with a thick diary. She was fully immersed in writing when we sat next to her at the bar. She is probably experiencing the life that a lot of us want to live. She lives in her RV, travels across states, sleeps in her van, and works local jobs. That is admirable!
She has taken a brave step. Honestly, I can not imagine a girl in India doing the same. Firstly, let’s accept that it is not normal. Second, Indians have a mindset that “women need a man in their life!”. The third and the most obvious reason is the big security concern that tags along. For an Indian woman like me, witnessing the strong footing of women in the US was a huge deal.
Some strong females I witnessed during the trip >>> I saw female truck drivers on the highways of Alaska. I also spotted women on the road construction sights holding STOP signboards on the highway. Our instructor during the glacier hike was also a woman. She was carrying around 10 kgs in her bag, including a hammer to cut ice. She hammered screws for ice climbing and guided the way. Also, we had a lady as an instructor at Denali National Park bus tour, she drove the bus at the same time. I think all such hardworking women make America the world’s most powerful country 🤗
“Alaskan people are lame! They don’t come out or party during the weekdays”Anchorage Downtown Bar Owner
The Trainee at the 49th State Brewery
Let’s call this guy Alex. The day we visited the 49th State Brewery, it was Alex’s last day as a trainee at the Brewery. He, like the other girl, travels and does local jobs. His favorite place so far has been the Caribbean, because he is vegan and he was surprised to see so many vegan-friendly options on an island.
The Couch Surfer
Have you heard about Couch surfing? We used this app to find accommodation in Anchorage. People across the world use this app to find a place to stay in the city they are visiting. It could be a couch, bed, or air mattress. In this case, we were lucky. We got a pretty cool place. The guy who hosted us had a huge house, with two floors and a couple of empty rooms.
Our host, Joey is an awesome guy 🤗 He is an avid couch surfing app user. He has people coming to his place almost every week.
Bailey was the best part of our stay. Such a lovely, adorably cuddly piece of love 😍 I wanted to bring him back to SF. He is such a cuddle buddy, he stays with Joey the whole day. Joey takes him to work every day. He also gets to travel in the cargo flights (as Joey has an airline business). If you leave Bailey home even for thirty mins without Joey – he becomes restless – he will sit at the door waiting for Joey to come back 😭
The New Yorker
We met this guy at the cabin at Denali National park. All of us stayed alive until 3.30 am to catch the Northern lights. He was talkative and extroverted. Maybe because of the drinks, he ended up sharing a lot about his personal life with us. My friends and I were pretty surprised to listen to him talk in Hindi.
Mike is a gay person. He was born and raised for the first 17 years of his life in Mumbai. Having lived 30+ years of his life in the States, he has Americanized.
If you were raised in an Indian family, it’s very pretty difficult to run away from those deep guilt for prioritizing yourself over your family. Mike has not forgotten his Indian roots. He is polite, who has been through way too much. Fighting for your sexuality with your family can bring you down in a million ways. Eventually, he immigrated to States after much convincing. The United States of America is free, it is for everyone. It is accepting and empowers you.
Mike worked hard. He did multiple small jobs without a college degree. Eventually, after a lot of struggle, he joined JP Morgan as a clerk, and gradually grew to a decent earning position at the firm. Having no one to look after, he decided to quit the job at JP Morgan and moved to New York. He started and quit his Bachelor’s degree within a year, and took up an odd job that he enjoyed.
Mike is living his big life. He is 47 years old and still possesses the enthusiasm of a 12-year old teenager. He doesn’t believe in demeaning people. He is accepting of anyone and everyone. Mike is good, be like Mike.
Uffff… that was a looooong post 😄 I am grateful for all the memories xoxo