In Alaska – First Impressions

Captain Bartlett Inn

The Trip Up

Well, the trip up to Fairbanks, Alaska was… looooooong! I met up with the other programmer in training in Atlanta so I at least had some good geek company while hopping different flights. I even met some people in one flight that lived in Alaska and they had some good suggestions and offered some rather, ummm, interesting conversation. Apparently the retail store chains of the world are spying on us and attempting to usurp our human rights…. ok.

In the stops in Anchorage and Fairbanks the planes didn’t actually pull up to the terminal. They just got close and then lowered down the portable stairs. We had to walk to and from the plane outside. It wasn’t a large distance but it was first taste of the cold weather. All in all I thought, that’s not so bad. The air was pretty dry compared with Florida and it wasn’t cutting me through to the bone. We met up with our contact in Fairbanks at 1:55 AM (yes, it was extremely nice of him to come pick us up at that hour) and had our rental vehicle warmed and ready to go. My colleague had driven in the snow before so I let him have the honors.

We are staying at The Captain Bartlett Inn. Now if you look at their website it looks really nice, right? Well, it probably was 50 years ago. Let’s just say that this hotel has seen it’s better days. Oh well, it’s a bed to sleep on and I’m not footing the bill so it is nonetheless appreciated.

First Day

Remember that little thing I said earlier about the cold not being so bad? I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. It is C-O-L-D… COLD! If I’m outside for more than a minute I can feel my nose hairs freezing together and they get all crunchy. The worst part is my face, legs and hands. I think the shoes and socks I got are doing pretty good with keeping my feet warm and dry. Nevertheless, it is cold.

We got to work and started on our adventure with the new company. They are in the third floor of a bank, which is different for me. I’m in a large room with about fourteen other people working. Most are engineers but there are also some QA (quality assurance) people, human resources and other logistical type personnel. The people are extremely friendly and very helpful. Of course I didn’t actually do any work the first day; mainly I just filled out paperwork and read through an employee manual. Fun.

For lunch my supervisor and several of the other engineers all piled into two cars and headed to lunch. What did we have? Thai food. I love Thai food. But in Alaska? So asked if there were many Thai restaurants in Alaska. Apparently yes. So I’m sitting in a Thai restaurant in Fairbanks, Alaska with a bunch of Northern geeks. The Thai food was exquisite, the staff were all dressed in traditional looking garb, it was dark and snowy outside. I thought to myself… I really am in a different world.