Alaska, Go! Americas

Sociology on the Denali Bus

Where would be better to study sociology than on the Denali National Park bus?  You could write an entire PhD dissertation by observing interactions among bus passengers and perhaps get a masters degree in family counseling while you’re at it.  Each of our buses appeared to have at least 5 countries represented and lots of large multi-generational family groups.  After a few hours of listening to Grandma, Mother, and Grandson, you sure know a lot about how that family works.  There was the Dad in the big camouflage jacket who kept clapping his son on the back and saying “ya know, if we’re gonna start hunting, we gotta get you some better gear.”  Though the son smiled back there was nothing in any of his body language or replies that suggested he had even the slightest interest in getting a gun and wandering around in the woods.  It also might be worth classifying reactions to wildlife (some keep calm, some jump across the aisle and squeek with glee, some complain that the wildlife don’t come closer to the bus, some just keep reading on their Kindle).  I’m sure that these reactions would correlate extremely well with professional working styles or Myers-Briggs personality classifications.  On our fourth bus, there was a large group of Thai graduate students studying in the Boston area.  When the bus slowed and someone pointed “bear”, each student whipped out a camera larger than my blowdryer and started clicking.  Loud clicking … everywhere within the bus.  I was tempted to turn my camera (which wasn’t going to capture anything of that bear beyond a small speck anyway) to video mode and just record the noise.  Where with all their pictures travel?  Who will see those pictures?  If the bear only knew.

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