Alaskan Postcard No. 5: Making
friends in the land of many men
By Ginger Warburton
October 17, 2006 | Besides taking tours for Grayline,
I would also drive to take passengers to enjoy different
excursions. One of the places I liked to go most was
Southeast Exposure. Southeast Exposure guides kayak
trips, rock climbing, a zip line and also a little mountain
Naturally the people who work at Southeast Exposure,
are all adorable hippies. There are about 13 employees
-- guys in their 20s and three girls.
The employees are from the West -- California, Oregon
Southeast Exposure is tucked back a little from the
main road. It is a tall warehouse filled with bikes.
It is hooked onto a large kitchen area for the employees
to cook meals, or drink coffee in between tours. Below
that is a small garden, still below that a gift shop.
(Every cruise ship venue is equipped with a gift shop.)
The gift shop is connected to a red building labeled
"inboard" and "outboard," and is
equipped with recycling toilets by Clivus. I'll give
you a second to figure out what genders belong to inboard
Still farther below, towards the beach, the employee
house is on the left. A boathouse is right on the water
filled with kayaks and paddles. A long boardwalk leads
to a small dock.
Every time I would pick up or drop people off, I would
wander the premises trying to make myself noticeable.
Kind of like when you know someone is having a party
and you want to be invited. I had met most of the guides
one of the first days I drove to Southeast Exposure.
To my disappointment, they all seemed totally uninterested
in me. This took me by surprise. I was in Alaska --
a place notorious for the fact there are many more men
After a few weeks of not being noticed, Sarah, one
of the guides I had met before, said hello to me. Contact!
I was so excited. I said "Hey," trying to
sound casual. Sarah, in her mid-20s, has long dark hair,
is slim, average height and has pale skin. She can't
help but be on volume level 10 all the time; her laugh
is like nothing I've heard before, a cackle followed
by a series of loud breaths. She took this as an invitation
to come talk to me, which it was. She said something
about us girls needing to stick together and we exchanged
As a girl who has been surrounded by men and boys
my whole life, this was an amazing moment for me. I
thought of the many times I had attempted and failed
at making girlfriends. I've often been having lunch
or something with friends (all guys), and noticed across
the restaurant a table full of girls laughing and talking.
This is something that has eluded me.
Meeting girls and asking for numbers is for some reason
incredibly awkward. It's a strange situation. I meet
a cool girl, I imagine us having tea parties and talking
about things only girls talk about. I think she must
be excited too. She already has girlfriends though and
has no need for me.
Inevitably the opportunity for tea parties never arises,
girly chats never exist, and I go back to the comfort
of my men. Sarah gave me a hug and made a comment about
making a jack Mormon out of me yet, making fun of the
fact that I was from Utah once again. I didn't care
-- I had a friend, my first of many I would meet through
out the summer.