Posts Tagged ‘humorous travel stories’

Photo Safari!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I know he’s a wife-beater and that ain’t cool, but I just can’t get enough of Chris Brown’s song, Forever. I don’t know why. It’s something about the cheezeball lyrics and old school keyboard and happy “Woman, I love you, and I can’t wait to come home and batter your sweet ass until you look like bruised fruit” melody that really gets me going on a long run. When I hear the opening notes and that “1, 2, 3, 4!” I often throw my hands in the air and double my pace. “It’s like I waited my whole life, for this one night…” – it’s crack for my quads. What can I say? Forever is my Chariots of Fire.

Bermuda morning glory

Glorious Morning Glories!

Why am I talking about this? Well, because today I went for an extremely hot, ridiculously thirsty, and absurdly wet run. It was one of those runs where you can actually wring out your shirt with your own sweat. I know. Stop. Ixnay on the details. You can’t take anymore, because it’s just too sexy.

Bermudian house.

For reasons I cannot explain, it almost instantly occurred to me that I could climb over the hill, jump onto their roof, and go in through one of those windows. I have no further comment on my apparent latent cat burglar tendencies.

Anyway, my point here was not about the copious sweat or Chris Brown’s infectious poppy nonsense so much as the fact that it was a rather long (seven miles? eight? It took an hour and a half, so I hope I at least went that far) run and I nearly died of dehydration but I remembered to bring my camera. (!) That single gesture instantly elevated the hour and a half adventure from semi-grueling exercise to fantabulous photo safari!

Chenille plant, aka Acalypha hispida

Cool, furry, fuzzy caterpillar-ish plant thing! (a.k.a. Chenille plant; a.k.a. Acalypha hispida)

Moreover, I figure you’re still coming down from the contact high with the shameless excess of the pornographic beach scenes the other day, so I’ll give you a break and show you the softer, come-hither side of Bermuda. You can thank me by buying me a beer already, moochers. Oh, and beer at the grocery store is like $2.50 a pop here, so don’t be stingy!!!

Bermuda run

Me on my running safari, looking thirsty for beer, but less horrible than you'd think (or less so than I expected, anyway.)

Bermuda Railway Trail

There is a tunnel on my run, and it defies what I thought was a given for all tunnels: it does NOT reek of human urine!!! Color me impressed.

Yellow and White Plumeria

Damn, I'm good. This picture makes me happy. :)

Discarded beer bottles

Party time.

Red flowers

Unrelated to this photo, my ass is starting to ache. Oh, and did you read that thing about the guy who bought (what turned out to be) Ansel Adams negatives for $40 at a garage sale and they're worth $200,000,000!?!? I hate garage sales, but maybe I need to rethink that position?

Bermuda lighthouse view

A little blue water just to prove it's still Bermuda.

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If this is true, then I’m golden

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone

- Blaise Pascal

Audrey Hepburn lookalike

Channeling my inner Holly Golightly.

In the last week and two days I have proven – in spades and in excess – that I am capable of sitting quietly in a room alone.

Hell, I thrive quietly in a room alone.

I’m like a low-maintenance houseplant.

Or a cat with access to a dripping faucet and an open feedbag.

Go about your business and don’t worry about little old me. Just leave a light on and let a neighbor know I exist, okay?

All the same, I’m kind of appalled at my own absence.

Five days?
How did five days get by me?

Well, for starters, I’m sitting quietly – minus the ticky tacky tapping of Macbook keys – in a room alone all the livelong day (and night).

I could be on Mars for all I (or you) know.

Secondarily, I’m writing a chapter a day.

I should be proud of this, but the thing of it is, my (overly, I now realize) aggressive schedule had me writing two a day.

Two!?!?

Who do I think I am?

Joyce Carol Oates?

(I once read that on a real roll she writes 40 pages a day, so she is my Parthenon of big-time page quota writing)

Mexican laundry on the line

Doing my laundry old school. Feeling very salt of the earth and wondering to myself, "Do I own any clothes that aren't gray?"

Anywho, I’ve been writing a chapter a day, which honestly isn’t easy, and due to my own strange (inspired?) idea to have the first ten chapters be parallel and modern-day retellings of the life of Christ ages 30 to 32, they’re tedious as well. In addition to the time spent doing said writing, I spend about two hours a day reading Biblical interpretations.

Which I kind of hate.

Okay, I hate it a lot.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate Jesus…but when you’re dreaming about the man in a scholarly kind of way, you’ve possibly/probably/definitely gone too far.

Anyway, I’m working like a dog and making daily progress. Despite this, I’ve been growing increasingly despairing.

“Why?” you ask.

Well, if you’d been paying attention, you’d know I’m growing increasingly despairing because I thought I could write two chapters a day, and it just ain’t happening.

So self-admonition and “mañana, mañana” kick in until today, when the landlord sneeringly asks me, “So are you getting any writing done? Or do you have writers’ block?”

“No,” I told him, “I’ve written nine chapters.”

The sheer look of shock was enough to make me realize that although I may not be JCO (see above for secret decoder ring), but I am doing pretty darn good.

And then he stammered, “Wow. You’re a disciplined writer.”

Giant box of Special K

I only buy cereal that's at least four times the size of my head. And yes, the house really is as round and pink and freakishly fluorescent light lit as it seems here. I've grown accustomed...

And THEN he went and made my day (sort of) by adding that he’s happy if he writes a chapter a month.

I don’t have any clue what it is that he’s writing, but whatever.

Doing some quick math, I calculated that on his ‘aggressive’ plan, it would take me three years to write this book. So two or three months instead of one ain’t too shabby.

And it certainly isn’t three years.

So yay me.

In other news:

  • The first day I got a funky tan from my ever-present necklaces, but I have hence removed now-not-so-much-ever-present necklaces and evened that mess out.
  • Last night, in a fit of “I’m sick of corn tortillas and beans” I made cabbage rolls (any of you with any kind of Eastern European or Russian heritage know what I”m talking about), and they were wonderful. And I ate more for breakfast. And more again tonight for dinner. And there are still five left. Happiness…
  • I was trying to trim an errant hair with oversized scissors and cut a chunk out of my eyebrow. Oh well. It’s hair. It’ll grow back.
  • I have a girl crush on Ellie, the fast-talking Mexican maid. Not my maid, mind you. I do my own laundry and dishes and sweeping and cleaning. Not that I mind. It’s kind of a simplified, hand-hewn Little House on the Prairie-type existence. Anyway, back to Ellie, she’s so sweet and doesn’t seem to care a lick that I only understand about 30% of what she says. And she’s willing to try all kinds of words until she stumbles into some vocabulary I recognize. The same cannot be said for everyone…  Enough said.
  • I miss TV. A lot.
  • I am really damn tired (it’s a little after midnight here) due in large part to the aggressive ray of sun that shines directly on my face every morning at 7:00am and my persistent very late night bedtimes. In other words, I couldn’t let another day go by without posting something, but in just a few more words that’s all there is to say. Be good. More soon.

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Coming soon to an airport near you!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Completely superfluous and unnecessary processes dreamed up by the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in order to make themselves appear useful and/or alleviate job boredom!

There must be a rule that you have to be a certain amount overweight (and love beer) to qualify.

There must be a rule that you have to be a certain amount overweight (and love beer) to qualify.

(And guess which one is actually real!)

  • Driver’s license height/weight honesty evaluation – Because if you’re willing to deceive the DMV you fat, lying, 5’4” bastard, who knows what else you’re hiding?
  • Carry-on luggage overhead military press - If you can’t bench press it, we clearly need to examine every single article inside it. Look! A shiny ball!
  • Sbarro pizza slice poison prevention taste test – We’re only looking out for your safety. Sbarro poisoning is the 137th leading cause of airport death.
  • Ass width measurement - Because there’s nothing worse than getting on board and realizing you don’t actually fit, you fat, lying, 5’4” bastard. (In order to prevent claims of discrimination, you’ll find the TSA agents may also measure those with backsides that might be described as a shapely or slender or small or fine. Just doing our job.)
  • Water vapor testing strip administration – because one mutinous vapor can take down a whole plane
  • Palm reading – You may not know you’re a terrorist, but your life line and that mole on your index finger don’t lie.
  • Pop quizzes – “How much cash is in your wallet?” “Have you ever been to Dubuque? How about a rest stop in the state of Arkansas?” “What’s’ a four-letter word for light blue?”
  • “Promptly chug-a-lug that Starbucks in your hand, sir” bladder density tests. Because nobody likes a wet seat, whether drenched with coffee or…other stuff.
  • Pull my finger – It’s amazing what we can get people to do just because we’re wearing cheap, polyester government-issued uniforms!

Seriously though, the vapor strip thing is ‘real.’ As I was walking up to the boarding gate at the Orlando airport last night, my ticket in my outstretched hand, a TSA administrator with a gigantic beer belly stretching the capacity of his button-down shirt to its very limits, appeared out of nowhere and asked to ‘test my water.’ At first I thought he was trying to pick me up and had really, really bad timing, but then I realized he was serious. So after confirming I heard him correctly, I screwed the lid off and watched as he waved a little white litmus strip over the top of the bottle like a magic wand. And absolutely nothing happened. And he declared my water – bought just three minutes earlier from the news stand fifteen feet behind us – a clean, clear, vaporless water-like substance.

This is the Total Recall image I mention below the picture at the bottom.

This is the Total Recall image I mention below the picture right below this one.

Thank god I hadn’t dumped it out and replaced the contents with vodka.

That would have been hard to explain.

Meanwhile, I bet I could make a killing importing those strips into Bermuda.

Those five-legged toads would make me want to test my rain water vapors, and what’s easier to read than a ‘no news is good news’ strip?

White means it’s all right!

I found this image on the TSA blog. It's apparently what they can see with those body scanner things. Remember that movie Total Recall? Wouldn't it be better if they did it like that? Or if not better, then less embarrassing?

I found this image on the TSA blog. It's apparently what they can see with those body scanner things. Remember that movie Total Recall? Wouldn't it be better if they did it like that? Or if not better, then less embarrassing?

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Sarah Connor T2 arms, here I come

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

So when we last spoke, I was catching you up on how to move three cats from Seattle to Bermuda the hard way.

Or maybe that was how not to?

Or perhaps I was simply suggesting that you never, ever attempt this? Find good homes for your pets and start over fresh on the other side?

Me at some beach of which I can no longer recall the name. It was much like the others.

Me at some beach of which I can no longer recall the name. It was much like the others.

At any rate, since I know you’re dying for the ugly details, allow me to continue: Day two started off at the Hilton Miami Airport, where we had been (accidentally) out until 3am, (accidentally) having dinner in South Beach.  I was rudely awoken at 9am by people yelling in the hallway and the sound of a bed squeaking in the room above me. As previously mentioned, I’m something of a light sleeper, and once my brain kicks in, that’s all there is to it. I’m up. For the day.

Since I hadn’t had access to hand weights or a gym in three days and wouldn’t again for a week or more, I went to the hotel fitness room. And it SUCKED. You know those super lame gyms at cheap hotels where they have a treadmill, an exercise bike, and an ancient elliptical machine? This was that. But at a nice Hilton. And apparently they were proud of it. In the ‘thank you for staying here Hilton Diamond member, Mr./Ms. Wolf’ letter they handed me at check-in, they bragged that my Diamond status awarded me free entrance into the gym. Ummm… Nothing to boast about, people. Maybe check out the local Bally’s and get a clue.

The bay in Hamilton.

The bay in Hamilton.

And when your hand weights are the sharp kind that instantly cause calluses and start out at 20 lb, you are not exactly female friendly. I’m a girl, not Arnold Schwarzenegger. You couldn’t even come up with a couple of ten pounders? Nevertheless, I did what I could with the oversized, palm tenderizing beasts…and it took two days before my triceps stopped aching. Maybe that workout will be the thing that finally makes them look ripped? Probably not…

Another trip back to the airport with the overabundance of personal belongings, and it was off to the races.

First off, the people in Miami are not even 1/100th as nice as the people in Seattle. If anything, we were annoying the crap out of them with our mere existence and plethora of luggage. Thus, without even a warning or warmup tragedy, there was something of a meltdown regarding the cat immigration paperwork, which in turn caused my friend to get panicky, which in turn caused the lady ‘helping’ us to get her manager, which led to some feisty exchanges, which led to me having visions of my fellow travelers spending a night in jail.

However, despite the circumstances, we got checked in after a mere 45 minutes and had just enough time to repeat the whole security craziness with the private room and the cats running around and all that fun stuff. I grabbed a pre-made salad (I hate pre-made salads, but what can you do?), and boarded during the final call. Nothing like taking it down to the wire.

The bay in Dockside, Bermuda right as the bad weather (which is still here) arrived late yesterday afternoon.

The bay in Dockside, Bermuda right as the bad weather (which is still here) arrived late yesterday afternoon.

When we were filling out our immigration and customs paperwork, I should have known.

In hindsight, my instincts were fired up, but I think I was too tired to tune in.

Thus, when K instructed me to copy A’s paperwork with respect to the address where we were staying (“Mazarine by the Sea, 91 North Shore Rd, Pembroke, Bermuda”) I just figured that was the name of her apartment complex. And when we got there and she explained that the two of us (A + I) would go through together in the US Citizen line and she’d go through on her own with the cats into the Bermuda resident line, I was fine with that. And when we went up to get our passports stamped and answer the questions about how long we’re staying and why, it seemed fine.

It wasn’t until my single suitcase was stacked onto a giant cart with A’s two GIGANTIC suitcases that I started to worry.

V: “Ummmm….this is a problem.”

K: “Why?”

V: “He has so much stuff…for a week. It’s weird. They’re going to think it’s weird.”

A: “I’ll just tell them its your stuff. Women always overpack.”

V: “But it’s not my stuff. What if they open it?”

A: “I’ll just stay you like to wear my stuff.”

V: “That’s retarded.”

You get the idea.

And so did customs. A and I were promptly flagged over to the ‘deep dive’ section (where K was in the next aisle having a comparably easy breezy experience), and interrogated in a manner rarely seen outside the CIA.

Me just minutes ago, still in my workout clothes, and preparing this blog for you.

Me just minutes ago, still in my workout clothes, and preparing this blog for you.

I felt like one of those people who marries a person from a foreign country solely to get them citizenship and is now being quizzed by immigration and naturalization and failing miserably.

“What kind of toothpaste does he use?”    Ummmmm…..Crest?

“Is he left or right-handed?”  Ambidextrous?

“What side of the bed does he sleep on?”  He’s an insomniac. I’ve never seen him sleep.

“Where were you married?” In a church???

Although I lounged languidly against the table behind me in the hopes of affecting an air of bored indifference, in my head I was in a dead panic about the basics of my travel ‘partner’: What is his last name? What is the name of the place we’re allegedly staying? If he has a single f*cking frying pan or desk lamp in one of those bags, I am getting deported.

When they lady asked about the three bags and discovered that two of them were his, she deadpanned, “That’s a first.”

Basically, we just acted like he was a wacko clotheshorse who brought three coats, ten pairs of jeans, and six dozen t-shirts with him wherever he went. I, in contrast, am a highly organized weirdo who puts everything in little zip pouches according to the order I’m going to wear them. She admired the neatness of my packing job.

And another one. This moldy-smelling couch doubles as my bed. It's my everything right now. Looking at this picture, I need to go wash my hair as soon as I publish this thing.

And another one. This moldy-smelling couch doubles as my bed. It's my everything right now. Looking at this picture, I need to go wash my hair as soon as I publish this thing.

And although she asked A “Are you sure you’re leaving?” about fifteen times, in the end she gave us the grumpy pass, and we stumbled relieved into the Bermudian night…and right into a creepy dentist from Florida who spent the next 20 minutes trying to pick me up.

K had pre-ordered a van, but the guy didn’t show, so as we were waiting around, this 60-ish dude who reminded me of Kenny Rogers came up and started chatting at length. Chip claimed to be a dentist from Merritt Island  by day and a power investor by night (allegedly) and was in Bermuda for the week to lead some kind of investment seminar (allegedly) and was there at the airport to pick up some kind of professional rugby player (allegedly) and did I need any drugs or did I want to stay in his hotel room, which was very spacious. (No and no.)

He then spent another ten minutes outlining a series of dental medications which would make great date rape drugs, gave me his card, and we (sans The Gambler) headed off to the tiny apartment temporarily (at least for me) known as home. Par usual, K is upstairs snoring as I type (at 12:35pm), and perhaps I’ve got it all wrong? Although the snoring is crazy loud (like a dude) and has kept me up for the last seven nights, maybe I’ll find that I miss it when it’s gone?

We shall see…

p.s.

I added some photos to the post from Monday.

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Jesus should’ve been so lucky

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

And by Jesus, I mean Jesus…like the Hispanic name.

And speaking of which, I have a vivid memory which comes to me once in a while of being ten or eleven years old and in Manhattan with my dad, my brother, and my dad’s girlfriend at the time, (and maybe her awful son. If so, I’ve blocked him out of my memory. Poor kid. He really was a train wreck, and at this age I feel empathetic. However, when we were all the same age, my brother and I just thought he was an insufferable jerk. [He was.])

So anyway, we’re in Manhattan and in some kind of establishment selling kitschy gifts and there was a big display of New York license plate keychains, and I thought MAYBE I could find one with ‘Vanessa’ on it.

Sufficed to say, in the early 80′s – the emergent time for Vanessa Williams and Vanessa Huxtable – there was no Vanessa ANYTHING. I spent my whole early childhood being asked, “Were you named after Vanessa Redgrave?”  and even though I had absolutely no idea who that was, I would always say, “Yes.”

So anyway, I was frustrated at (yet again) not finding a single Vanessa trinket and ran across a keychain that said ‘Jesus’ and I remember being outrageously annoyed that they would make a Jesus (not knowing, again about ‘Jesus’ as in the Spanish version, so I mean Jesuschristo) keychain and not a Vanessa.

I mean the LORD gets a keychain, but I don’t!?!?!

(and is it any wonder I now write a self-indulgent and self-important blog? Not so much.)

But I digress…

I’m worn out on book writing (and yet bearing down on my 8/7 finish date. Yay me!), and received the following from a good friend. We spent all day together Sunday, so she is well-aware of my recent…um…adventure.

Which makes this all the funnier.

Water or Wine

To my friends who enjoy a glass of wine.. and those who don’t.

As Ben Franklin said:

In wine there is wisdom,
in beer there is freedom,
in water there is bacteria.


In a number of carefully controlled trials,
scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli,

(E. coli) – bacteria  found in feces.

In other words, we are consuming
1 kilo of poop.

However, we do NOT run that risk when
drinking wine & beer (or tequila, rum, scotch, vodka, whisky or other liquor), because alcohol has to go through a purification
process of distilling, filtering and/or fermenting.


Remember:

Water = Poop,        Wine = Health .

Therefore, it’s better to drink wine and talk stupid,
than to drink water and be full of sh*t
.

Touche.

And pass the tequila…

(and enjoy the random font-size craziness, because – as usual – I have absolutely no idea why that happens or how to fix it.)

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