By, Deseret Brown
day 1: I arrive to the mystical ethereal land of Anchorage Alaska. As the plane touches down I shed a tear because I am making history. Today is the day I make a dream come true. Traipse the Alaskan wilderness and bartend on a train. Ive done it. I made it. I’m finally here.
I arrive at my apartment at 2:30am with the sun still barely shining through a gray sky. I promptly attempt to break in because the guy I’m renting from hasn’t left the key for me yet. Landlords, awakened by Scratching and rattling by noises come out to confront the bandit trying to conquer their house and find me and the uber driving digging through flower pots to find the spare. We look up like moose in the headlights. “Hi, I’m Yat’s friend! Can you let me in?”
Didn’t expect to meet them this way.i imagined a much more warm welcome in which homemade bread and hand-sewn aprons are involved.a welcome Martha Stewart would have been proud of… instead It ended up looking like illegal activity that Martha would have been proud of. Luckily, they’re friendly and all I could ask for in landlords so I apologize for the noise, thank them for their hospitality, pray that they don’t find out Yat and i don’t actually know each other at all and we contrived a whole fake friendship story in case they asked, and proceed to settle in with thoughts of forthcoming adventures running through my head:
I can’t wait to hike something.
Maybe I’ll fly in a Cessna.
I hope I see a bear. Better yet, a bear catching salmon from a river! Yep, that’s all I really wanna see.
Later on in the day:
Don’t have a car so I’m taking the bus. Bus stop to Walmart. Girl whose car was stolen throws fit when she realizes that the bus wasn’t going downtown. At the bus stop is a man who seems to have had his brain fried from one too many somethings. He is loudly complaining about who knows what to anyone who is standing still long enough to listen. I observe these situations and think “my father was right”. These people really are rough like he said they would be. But no fear, Im from the 103 in Jacksonville, FL. The west side raised me for this. Anchorage got nothing on me.
Meanwhile, Cessnas are flying through the mountains to the east of me and I couldn’t have cared less about the mess around me because it is all so beautiful. Wait… are those Cessnas? I should have watched more Flying Wild Alaska.
First day on the train. I live across town and am running late so I have to Uber to the Train depot. Uber driver picks me up. He’s stoned. I get in and he asks me how to get where I need to go.
Uuuhhh… isn’t that your job? I think.
He takes off down the street while telling me that his app has been glitching and taking him to the other side of town on some routes.
I can’t be late on my first day so I pull a map in case his app decides to glitch on me.
We arrive to the railroads on time but son of a glitch we can’t find the office. I call the boss and she directs me. Following her direction high Uber driver and I proceed. Uber driver overreacts to a guy who didn’t put on blinker. I’m glad I don’t do drugs and gave up road rage a long time ago.
Find the office, thank the heavens above I survived the tide and begun my first day.
Training day was good!nospills and this Mormon girl can make a Bloody Mary and black coffee. Woohoo!
I successfully shadowed Grant all the day long claiming that he’s Peter pan and I’m his shadow and this training is Wendy sewing us together. He doesn’t catch the reference. At least, he’s a great bartender.
Arrive in Healy, i grab dinner with best frien mike then crash.
Day 2 on train. Saw only moose, no bears. Shadowing josh was fun. We got lots of tips and I advanced to making margaritas. Plus josh is cool and invited me camping. Alaska is calling me!
Arrive back in anchorage. Bus to Walmart for black work pants that aren’t leggings . Man approaches me at bus stop and asks me about myself. I think I’ll start lying about the details of my life…
But at least he was nice enough to offer me his fruit snacks…and phone number…
Still no bears. I quit Alaska. They advertise bears and moose everywhere but it’s day 4 in AK and I’ve seen a grand total of 5 moose. Who do I talk to about this?
Other than the fact that the bus driver was zigzagging towards downtown at a speed that would make astronauts nervous, the bus ride was disappointingly uneneventful. At least I have a brisk walk through the rail yard to look forward to. It’s fun to be alone in a place that just screams “Dump your dead bodies here!”.
Train life is busy but it is also a blast. Once I learned to fight against the centrifugal force trying to push me over while carrying a tray full of Moose Marys (that’s what Princess calls their bloody marys) , I’m really starting to get the hang of my job! I can make most of the drinks on the menu now without having to look at the recipe, and I’m not bad! While I was hunched over cleaning up a mess Cinderella style, I heard the gentlemen behind me whisper “that girl sure knows how to make a drink.” That made my day. A Mormon bartender 4 days into the job and already getting compliments! I felt just as cool as I did last night when the cashier at the pizza place in Princess lodge was teasing my friend and I about being innocent Mormons and I dropped the “ well we’re Mormon bartenders” ball and he shut up. Later, he joins us while we eat.
Brielle is interested. He leaves for break. She leaves her number on a napkin. He enters the dining room as we’re leaving. Embarrassed, she and I take off through the restaurant and run across the street to take refuge in the Wilderness lodge. She’ll probably marry him.
Wake up from sleep. So tired. 15 hour day ahead of me. Need all the sleep. Thankfully, I like this job a ton. It’s pretty cool being a bartender at the coolest bar in North America. I mean, we serve drinks in the Alaskan wilderness while passengers scout out wolves, bears, and moose. Does any other bar in North America do that? No.
I’m pretty lucky.
Except, I didn’t realize the bus stops running at 8:30pm and I book the .7 miles across Downton anchorage from the train depot to the bus stop because my People mover app says a bus is arriving at 8:55. I get there at 8:49pm glad to save myself $10 bytakong the bus and not uberring. I check app and realize I made a mistake. The map says 8:55 am. I’m an idiot, but luckily my Uber driver isn’t.