Posts Tagged ‘travel humor’

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.


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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Get ready for some bitching and moaning

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Traveling has come full circle.

It used to be you’d load up a wagon and push across vast distances and encounter disease and pestilence and wild animals and angry natives and hope you and yours lived to tell the tale. Now you are pillaged to the tune of $30 per bag and wedged into intensely uncomfortable seats and forced to survive on two ounces of liquid and three mini-pretzels or throw down another $7.00 for a sandwich that was made last Tuesday and all the while hope that when you get there the bag that you paid $30 to ship actually made it.

This is your brain on drugs. Or me without sleep for two days. Not so bad. Kind of blurry. Or something like that.

See? It’s just as bad now as it was then.

Maybe worse.

As a further case in point, allow me to share some of the highlights of my day. A day that started Thursday at 8am, and is still far from over here at 6:39pm on Friday evening.

My Blackberry has totally choked (a.k.a. Pushing the buttons does nothing) for mysterious and unknown reasons early this morning. Probably the same reason I can drive down the street and half the street lights go black as I pass under them. Electromagnetic weirdness or personal intensity or bad juju or something.

Anyway, it is currently resting in a ziplock bag containing the seven little packets of silica gel I scavenged out of purses and coat pockets and from one bag of peppered beef jerky. Hopefully that will be enough to cause a resuscitation. If so, my Blackberry will henceforth be known as Lazarus.
If not, it will be called mofo $#@*&?!!, which is kind of like The Artist Formerly Known as Prince except for sub in bad words rather than the stuff about Prince.

This is a man ready to get his ass to Kauai.

Have I mentioned that I’ve slept only four hours in two days?

Plus the half hour I kind of slept here in my wildly uncomfortable window seat. No doubt with my mouth open because my nose is completely and totally stuffed from the airplane air and because mouth breathing is such an attractive look on me.

Let’s back up a second. Did you note that I am in the window seat? Did you suspect I’m rather unhappy about it? I am. It’s a friggin’ seven-hour flight. If I’d realized this, I would’ve had a catheter put in or worn an adult diaper or something. There’s nothing like holding your pee for three plus hours to make you really grumpy.

Actually, ‘window’ is terribly misleading. I’m in seat 22F of a really old tin can of a 757 and row 22 is the one right in front of the wing which means it has no window of any kind. The lady in front of me has her seat reclined, and I actually felt a little claustrophobic for a spell there and stood/kneeled in my seat staring at everyone in the rows behind me as both a challenge to come up here and fight me to a duel of words and just to feel a little less caged. Anyone wanna see how many of us we can cram into a phone booth when this is over?

Seriously though, I may as well be crammed into a box and traveling underneath with the luggage. Which is kind of how I feel. Plus, there’s no temperature regulation whatsoever. it goes from surface of the sun hot to dry ice chilly in regular hourly rotations. Right now we’re coming down from a particularly sweltering spell, and I’m within a minute or two of needing to put on my blazer. In another twenty minutes I’ll be wearing several airline-issue blue polyester blankets in the manner of an Apache squaw. I’ve managed to squirrel away four of them since this little joy ride started.

There’s a real shrieker of a baby two rows back. His dad is trying hard to hush him, but it is not working. At all.

Once again, your friendly, strung-out, sleep deprived blogger in her airplane prison cell. Note the slightly deranged look in my eyes. And this - the third flight - was still sitting at the gate at the time. It got a lot worse.

Once again, your friendly, strung-out, sleep deprived blogger in her airplane prison cell. Note complete and total lack of window by my head.

There was just a brief break that you didn’t notice, but which occurred nonetheless, and during which time I was able to escape my airplane cell and went and brushed my teeth (I didn’t see angry signs about ‘water is not potable!’ but I guess we’ll find out whether or not it is a few hours from now) and washed the extensive and pervasive magazine ink smears off my face. I looked kind of like Hitler on Ash Wednesday. Which, combined with the mouth breathing, is hot stuff.

My butt is numb.

There’s a lady three rows back with a great big eye patch on. She looks angry. And the eye patch is very unflattering and a bit gross. It’s white with medical tape all over it. Major trauma more than pirate.

500 Days of Summer is playing on the TV that I can only kind of see from my awesome seat. I was disappointed with that movie. I really wanted to like it – I love Zooey Deschanel. She’s so quirky and awkward, and I find that rather appealing – but it was kind of meh. The problem was the main guy. He was such a pussy. Hey, is that guy the one who was the kid with the long hair on Third Rock From the Sun? This is just occurring to me now. What a weird show that was. I think it’s that guy, all growed up. And without any boy parts.

Did you see Yes Man? Zooey Deschanel was in that. I don’t usually like Jim Carrey, but he was pretty non-spastic in that movie, and thus I enjoyed it. More than 500 Days of Summer, actually. I liked the plot of Yes Man. The idea of saying “yes” to every offer you get appeals to me.

Although in my case, the story would be more likely to end up in a police file than on a big screen. That’s another way of saying I get some strange offers. From strange people. I make streets lights go out and weirdos love me. It ain’t much, but it’s what I’ve got.

They sure are stingy with the club soda around here. I asked for the can and the overly tan flight attendant guy haughtily refused me with the added and unnecessary feedback that there are only eight cans of club soda on the entire plane. Doesn’t he know that the people adding it to booze are only doing so so as to seem less booze hound-ish to the person in the seat next to them? They only need a splash. In my case, I wanted to guzzle copious amounts of the fizzy water itself in an effort to undermine and survive what is clearly an orchestrated attempt to kill me through dehydration and kidney failure.

Speaking of alcoholics, the lady in line behind me in line at security REEKED of alcohol. At 5:30 a.m. Ouch. That’s either a late night or an early morning…but a rough 5:30 a.m. either way you slice it. I shouldn’t judge. Maybe she’s afraid of flying? Perhaps she was given some advice that being super drunk and hungover by noon would provide a good distraction?

Jacket is now on. I almost dislocated my shoulder trying to wriggle into it in this prohibitively small space. Recovered from my near-injury, I’m now considering the first layer of synthetic static electricity-causing blanketure.

It smells like pepperoni in here. At least that’s what I’m telling myself that smell is.

I can’t believe I forgot to tell you this part: As I was boarding the first flight (of THREE. That’s tickets bought with frequent flyer miles for you) at six o’clock this morning, I felt eyes boring into me and was uneasy to note that they belonged to a female TSA agent standing in the jetway. Moments later and just feet from the door of the plane, she stopped me with a snarly drawl about how they were going to have to do some “additional screening” on me, and then proceeded to pat my arms, torso, and up one leg and down the other in a rather invasive manner. Because I look exactly like the people that historically have bombs in their shoes and explosives wrapped around their stomachs. White, blonde-haired, blue-eyed women in form-fitting clothes, carrying vintage Pan Am bags and a bottle of water are continually blowing up…absolutely nothing.

The baby is working himself into a real lather once again.

It’s a good thing no one has come by to do a Cinderella glass slipper test with my shoes, because I would fail. My feet have swollen to at least twice their original size, and I can barely get my shoes on. It’s a true Johnny Cochran courtroom moment.

But it was all worth it.

Because in about ten hours, I’m going to wake up in Kailuea on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.  Boo-rah.

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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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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.


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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.)



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.


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?



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?

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