Posts Tagged ‘best humorous travel blog’

It’s all fun and games, until you end up in the blog

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

If my dad is adamant about one thing, it’s that he doesn’t want to show up in the blog…which is a sorry shame, because I would have so much more material if he would ease up on that rule.

What a photogenic bunch. (And Dad, if this is a problem, Photoshop some other heads onto yours and send it to me, and I'll replace it!)

What a photogenic bunch. (And Dad, if this is a problem, Photoshop some other heads onto yours, and I'll replace it!)

Regardless, I still have to tell you this little story (and I don’t think it makes anyone look bad, so hopefully I won’t get in trouble for doing so!)

After a quick break, a slight digression: Have you ever gone to the bathroom and tried and tried to zip your jeans only to realize they’re already zipped? How the hell did that happen? How did I get them off and back on zipped up? Or did I zip them somehow without ever consciously realizing it? Weird.

So back to the story, we’re here in Wildwood and (to everyone’s chagrin) there’s some kind of motorcycle rally in town, called Roar to the Shore (Not to be confused with Roar at the Shore in Erie, PA. The shore being Lake Erie, I suppose, which is actually kind of sad. I’m not into trying to convince myself that a lake – no matter how large – is the same thing as being at the shore).

Point being, there’s an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 rough-looking people on a mix of motorcycles and choppers, and if you’ve ever seen Gimme Shelter, you have a healthy respect for (and certain amount of fear of) the Hell’s Angels.

This is what you get when your brother takes pictures for you. This is the best shot of the bunch. Unfortunately.

This is what you get when your brother takes pictures for you. This is the best shot of the bunch. Unfortunately.

However, before they got here and started intimidating us (or me, anyway. I have no idea if anyone else is intimidated, but I figure any man in his sixties in a 100% leather outfit and wispy white  hair down to his butt is trying to warn me that he’s got some screws loose. And the lady with the Cruella de Ville hair? Also trying to send me a message akin to a fluorescent orange frog to a potential predator. I have been warned, and I will heed said warning). So anyway, before they all got here, we were checking out the convention center where they were setting up for the festivities.

I personally have never been to a convention where there’s a Jack Daniels semi-truck offering ‘free tours’ (free bourbon???), but I guess that would be a tough sell at a banking convention (or maybe not. Some of those people can throw them back like you wouldn’t believe. One of the drunkest nights of my life occurred at the Bank Administration Institute’s Retail Delivery conference in New Orleans. I spent the next day barfing in the convention center bathroom…but not before drunk dialing my boss. True story.)

Anyway, if you’ve ever wondered why I’m so sarcastic and inappropriate, I’ll have you know you can blame it on my family.

You see, there’s a Miss Roar to the Shore Biker Babe contest, and my dad is egging me on to enter it. Actually, to be fair – and accurate – he’s urging me to be a double winner (“Everybody loves a double winner!!!”) and take that trophy as well as a Walking Poker Run (whatever that means. How can you walk and run and play poker at the same time?)

Then, in jest, he was trying to get my brother to change his flight to stay and support me.

“Just tell them, my sister is in a wet t-shirt contest, so I have to change my flight. It’s going to be classic!”

Then there was some discussion of my dad’s girlfriend going up against me (with the pseudonym of Candy, due to her passionate love of The Fudge Kitchen), but I’ll stop the anecdote right there to protect the innocent.

Unfortunately, my dreams of being Biker Babe 2009 are probably not going to come true for a number of reasons:

1. I don’t own a leather (or even a pleather) bikini.

2. I don’t have a single tattoo, and the only temporary tattoos I could find featured fairies.

3. I’m afraid of bikers.

The t-shirt looked a lot like this. Except it was a drawing. And there was foam around his mouth. But you get the idea.

The t-shirt looked a lot like this. Except it was a drawing. And there was foam around his mouth. But you get the idea.

I’d rather this town was hosting a wild mongrel dog convention than a biker convention. I’d feel less intimidated. Nonetheless, in the spirit of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” I went in search of some clothing that might help me fit in. Although I found a t-shirt with a horrible, scary, snarling Rottweiler with a spiked collar and the words “Till Death Do Us Part” (What the hell does that mean? Because from the looks of that dog, one of us is about to die any minute now),  I ended up buying some Cookie Monster booty shorts instead (blue shorts with the Cookie Monster’s face on the butt. Very mature and appropriate for fine restaurants) and red child’s hoodie (that fits me perfectly! And for only $12 because it’s kids clothes. This could revolutionize my clothing budget), which is probably proof of a latent desire to not fit in with that crowd.

If anything (reviewing what I just read above), it sounds more like I’m trying to fit in with the elementary school set instead. Emotionally, that’s about right. As I’ve already told you, I have the taste of a 12-year old boy. The other upside? At least I’d live through competing to be “Miss Sesame Street 2009″ without getting shanked…

Share This Post

The Tao of Travel

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I was actually going to call this the yin and yang of travel, but the Tao of Travel sounds so much more svelte, dontcha think?

I know you kids like pretty and irrelevant pictures. I'm just doing my part to keep you happy.

I know you kids like pretty and irrelevant pictures. I'm just doing my part to keep you happy.

I once had (and probably still have in a box somewhere) some book called the Tao of Pooh and then the Te of Piglet – they came together – that I swear I bought because the titles were so damn clever. But I never really read the original Winnie the Pooh stuff, so the point was kind of lost on me.

At least that’s my excuse. As much as I think it would be cool to be a deep and enlightened spiritual guru, I tend to find that kind of reading crazy boring.

Anywho, due to my posting snafu on Wednesday and my icky tummy on Thursday, I am now a bit behind in terms of timeline. In other words, here are my thoughts and reflections from my journey back to the USA, which technically happened a couple days ago, not that I’m CNN or something such that it actually matters that you get my news in a timely fashion.

Today is a four-flight day.

Four flights, in my humble opinion, are four flights too many. First off, flying always makes me feel slightly pukey. I have never actually thrown up on a plane, but I always like to do an equipment check when I first get into my seat and confirm that there is, indeed, a barf bag. One can never be too careful.

(more…)

Share This Post

Have remote, will travel

Friday, July 17th, 2009

(Sorry about that, folks. I like to keep you guessing as to my alive/dead status.

Actually, I wrote an entire entry and *thought* I posted it two days ago. Then yesterday I felt really crappy and didn’t have the energy to publish the post I’d written. And then today Brad complained that I hadn’t blogged in a while – thank you, Brad, - and I was very irritated that ‘since when is two days a long while?’ and then it dawned on me that once again the blog had outsmarted me.

She’s tricky like that. Yes. It’s true. After a year and a handful of months, I’ve come to view the blog as a sentient being, one who is slightly interested in causing me pain, even though technically my pain is her pain and I have the power to destroy her. But enough about that…

Here’s the post you didn’t see but I thought you saw. And yes, I am still alive.)

 

Sheesh.

I thought we were bad.

 

But it turns out the Mexicans have not one, not two, but THREE channels dedicated to 24/7 Michael Jackson coverage. One of them appears to be running the American memorial service in constant rotation (and subtitled). One of them seems to be playing constant concert footage. The last is focused on a mix of the two.

It seems to be they miss the King of Pop more than the Americans.

To get to the bottom of this, I went to Google and performed some searches and…nothing. Not a single thing.

However, I did find some theories that he was transgendered, which is kind of interesting…and not entirely out of the question.

I also found this photo where they did that aging thing they do on missing kids where there’s an approximation of what he might have looked like if he didn’t decide to go the space alien route.

michel_jackson_nextnature_before_and_after_5301

Anyway, and in other news, there’s other TV to discuss!

 

Taking a little tour, on de pelicula:

 

The next time someone takes a picture of me, I'm going to attempt to make this face.

The next time someone takes a picture of me, I'm going to attempt to make this face.

Black and white film featuring Hitler sobbing and holding a baby in a blanket. Some lady is now outside the door trying to talk him down, and he’s listening and making a face an awful lot like Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle Rico thinking about being weightless, in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by tiny little seahorses.


Now Hitler has opened the door and handed the baby to the lady. They sobbed together for a while, and now she’s walking away with the child.

Now she’s laid the blanket on a bed and it looks really long and odd, and I’m not even sure it’s a baby. Maybe it’s dead baby? Or a blanket-wrapped leg? Or a blanket wrapped around a log?

Mysterioso.

 

Jennifer Lopez’s husband is on channel 11. He has a funky chicken/frog leg dance, and a large old people following. The whole front row is full of elderly women swaying precariously.

 

Channel 10 is a talk show called Netas divinas, and they’re talking way too fast for me to catch much of it. Maxine Woodside – the queen of radio – is the guest. Trying to translate is giving me a headache…so I quit.

 

Channel 7 is the news, which I actually wish I could interpret. They keep cutting to scenes of the (scary) Federales marching around, and that can never be good. Plus, I’ve heard the country has been extra uncivilized since I got here…which is why I pretty much haven’t left the resort ‘compound.’

Let me rephrase that, since the harrowing 12-hour drive to the resort compound (which I was told would take five hours), I haven’t left it.

 

Channel 5 has some movie featuring Leslie Nielson dubbed over in Spanish. Leslie = not funny = not interested.

 

Harry Potter translated into Spanish on Channel 4. Enough already. Has no one heard of subtitles?

Young Harry really was a homely kid, eh?

Next up, we’ve got Alf dubbed in Spanish.

I’m actually a little stunned to see anyone on earth is watching Alf in 2009, but whatever floats your boat.

 

Moving on…Jesuscristo. I just realized there are 114 channels.

 

I guess I’ll quit while I’m ahead, and let you know that I’ve found something in English featuring Nicholas Cage (and before the really bad toupee years) at war, and I’m sticking with it.

 

With that, let’s take one more gander at MJ and wonder how it all went so wrong (I, for one, am looking forward to that movie. I think the alien from American Dad is a shoo-in for the role of the adult Michael.)

I'm sure this seemed like a good idea when he first got started, but you kind of half to wonder why no one ever stepped in and mentioned he no longer looked human?

I'm sure this seemed like a good idea when he first got started, but you kind of half to wonder why no one ever stepped up and mentioned he no longer looked human?

Share This Post

Don´t try this at home.

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Sometimes I have to learn lessons the hard way.

Like the lesson that other people really aren’t my responsibility.

 

Case in point: The friend hosting the week in Mexico (at a timeshare owned by her parents) revealed to me that she was going to drive to Acapulco from Guadalajara (and back) by herself, about five or six hours each way.

 

Me the night before the big drive, looking surprisingly alert despite the fact that I was running on about two hours of sleep. Other members of my party have been cropped out to protect their identity!

Me the night before the big drive, looking surprisingly alert despite the fact that I was running on about two hours of sleep. Other members of my party have been cropped out to protect their identity!

Now I’ve driven through Mexico before, and let me summarize the experience by saying that when we got back across the border in Nogales, Arizona, I literally knelt down and kissed the ground.

America never looked so fine.

 

Nonetheless, some sympathetic motherly part of me was concerned for her safety and volunteered to come along. Two is safer than one and all that.

(Otherwise known as: “You’re putting yourself in harm’s way!? Well, let me do that too!”)

 

More than anything, my concerns centered around the current drug cartel activity (a.k.a. random killings) and Federales stops. In my previous experience, the Federales would stop us, separate us, interrogate us, and search the VW van end to end, followed up what looked like a oil check, but wasn’t. They’d have us drive over a big hole in the ground – exactly like you’d see at Jiffy Lube – and someone would inspect or do god knows what underneath the car.

 

A mob of horses (per Wikipedia, this is a legitimate term) just popped out and crossed the 120 MPH freeway. I spent the rest of the trip praying we wouldn´t crash into another mob of the giant beasts.

A mob of horses (per Wikipedia, this is a legitimate term) just popped out and crossed the 120 MPH freeway. I spent the rest of the trip praying we wouldn´t crash into another mob of the giant beasts.

In hindsight, the VW van was the equivalent of wearing forehead tattoos that said “we’re drug smugglers” (although we weren’t), and something of a magnet for trouble.

Thanks to the fact the rental car was some kind of tiny Chevy, we at least had that going for us.

 

In any case, we set out from Morelia around 10am, and within two hours were in the middle of freaking nowhere.

Seriously.

No-where.

 

Now, nowhere is one thing, but Nowhere, Mexico is quite another thing.

 

Nonetheless, not wanting to add stress to the situation, I held my tongue and didn’t ask to double-check the directions or scrutinize the map. However, when my friend inquired if I thought we’d pass a town with a gas station soon (as we were nearly out), I broke down and spoke the three fatal words: “Where ARE we?”

 

She informed me that we were somewhere on Highway 14 or 14D, and when I asked if I could take a peek at the directions, she handed me a notebook in which she’d scrawled “14D to 37 to 200.”

 

I just realized all the pictures of the dirt roads we had to go down are vertical shots, so here are the musicians at the very cool guitar bar in Morelia from that first night.

I just realized all the pictures of the dirt roads we had to go down are vertical shots, so here are the musicians at the very cool guitar bar in Morelia from that first night.

Ummmm….?

What?

 

Feeling my stomach sink to the floor, I realized we didn’t have a map. Or Google directions. Or even (sometimes terribly inaccurate) MapQuest directions.

We didn’t have distances or landmarks or, well, anything.

And barring the generic answer of “Mexico,” we didn’t know where the hell we were.

 

Truth be told, although I admired her devil may care/just ask for directions from the locals approach, all could imagine was my dad’s reaction when he learned I’d be murdered somewhere in the middle of rural Mexico and we didn’t even have a friggin’ map in the car.

 

That stated, when we finally came upon a gas station, I went inside and acquired a Mapa Carreteras immediatemente. Thank god for the thing, too, because we weren’t just off track then…there were several other ‘where the hell are we?” and “which city do we head toward?” moments to be had before it was over.

Three cheers for the mapa!

 

Meanwhile, apparently the male Mexican sense of time/distance is different from that which I like to call reality.

You see, it doesn’t take three hours to go from Guadalajara to Morelia, it takes four or five (depending upon traffic). And it doesn’t take five hours to go to Acapulco from Morelia…it takes TWELVE.

 

That’s right, we rolled up to the resort, sore-butted, bleary eyed, and road weary just around 10pm.

 

Needless to say, I have wizened up, and I will not be returning to Guadalajara via motor vehicle. Nope. Tim has wonderfully, graciously, kindly booked me a flight, and my friend has a Mexican friend accompanying her back to Morelia, if not Guadalajara, so I’m not abandoning her to the elements.

 

Moreover, I’ve learned a valuable lesson about trusting your gut and cutting corners to save a few bucks.

 

Never again will I go against my own instincts in the interest of ‘going along to get along’ or being a good friend, so if you’re planning a big road trip through the Middle East later this year, you can count me out.

 

I’ll be in my own house, knitting a ‘home sweet home’ pillow, with an American flag in one hand and my life insurance policy in the other. And grateful for every minute of it.

Share This Post

Greetings from Mexico

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

I didn´t tell you about this, because I didn´t want you to worry.

And also because I thought perhaps they´d have heard of a little thing called wifi. Or at least a cord with a line to the internets in the room. Turns out, not so much.

So Im here in the fancy resort ´cyber cafe´using their impossibly slow and wildly overpriced computer access (and I can´t even find a place to put a USB drive to load the funny blog I wrote for you yesterday during my TWELVE HOUR ride from Morelia to Acapulco. Don´t even get me started on that.) and feeling a little irritated.

There. I said it.

I´m annoyed.

It´s almost 2010. Unless you´re African Bushmen or living in a grass hut along the Amazon, I expect you to provide me with some freaking wifi somewhere in your building. I´ll sit in a lobby. I´ll pay $10 or even $15 for a day´s privilege…but can you at least let me use my own computer!?!?

In other news, it´s lush and green and hot as Hades (I went on a seven mile run this morning that damn near killed me), and there´s not much I like better than lying around in the sun by the ocean or a pool or even a stagnant pool of fetid water and reading  a book. And maybe slugging the occasional cerveza.

So, minus the fact that I have no way to keep in touch with my friends and loved ones (and that includes you. If you´re reading this blog, I automatically love you.) all is well.

So hold tight and as soon as I can find some other way to get my computer online, I will get back to the business of amusing and delighting you )or whatever it is I´m doing that´s enough for you to be reading this blog at this very moment.

Gracias and Hasta luego!

Share This Post