November 16, 2009 at 10:18 am
Hey, everybody! I am still in Los Angeles on the most anxiety-ridden vacation ever. First my bag got lost, now my leg hurts so much I can barely walk, and yesterday my rental car was damaged. Jetta vs. armored truck: armored truck wins. And no, I was not driving the armored truck. At least the driver didn’t think I was trying to rob him. No one was injured and my insurance will cover it, but I will NEVER go back to the Santa Monica Pier again. Oh, and did I mention that I missed the Mulholland Drive exit on the 405 and drove all the way to the north side of the Valley before I figured it out?
But then, when I checked into my hotel that evening, thirsty, hungry, and stressed out, I found this waiting on my pillow and on my desk:
I nearly broke down and cried. Something small and simple like finding a nice little gift in my room at the end of a crazy-ass day did wonders to cheer me up. (Though [...]
November 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm
As a chronic sufferer of Paranoid Traveler’s Syndrome, it was almost a moment of triumph when the airline lost my bag. Finally I could say, “See? I told you something like this could happen!” It also led me to understand why everyone crowds around the boarding gate trying to be the first one on the plane. Before Friday, I thought these people were stupid. All the passengers are going to leave at the same time, so why spend more time crammed into the plane than you have to? The answer is: So you get space in the overhead bins to store your luggage.
I was one of the last ones to board my flight from Indianapolis to Minneapolis because my seat was towards the front of the plane. When I got to the door of the airplane, there was no room left in the bins, so they told me I’d have to check my bag. The flight attendant attached a tag to it and asked me what my final destination was. “I’m going to Los Angeles!” [...]
July 27, 2009 at 10:52 am
This is what the Megabus looks like after it has been set on fire:
No, I did not set it ablaze, but after my recent experiences I would not blame anyone who did. As with most disaster victims, I had no idea what was going on until it was over. I was confused when the Megabus driver pulled over to the Kankakee rest area on northbound I-65, because there were no scheduled stops between Indianapolis and Chicago. Yes, the construction had forced us into one lane and an accident in that one lane had turned the freeway into a linear parking lot for an hour, but we’d finally gotten past the congestion. Why were we still traveling at 25mph?
When we pulled into the parking lot and the driver dove for the fire extinguisher under the front seat, I began to realize something was wrong. Then he opened the door and white smoke started to billow in, at which time I almost pissed myself and decided I needed that rest stop after all. I grabbed my backpack [...]
June 26, 2009 at 9:28 am
After the plane ride and the metro ride and the bus ride, I drove my car home the final leg from traveling abroad. I waited at a stoplight next to the Fresh Market, a local grocery store. I gazed at the green glow of the sign spelling out the store’s name and thought, If I were from France, that supermarket would be totally exotic. If I were a tourist in America, I would want to walk inside and take pictures of the labels on the chocolates. I’d want to gawk at the strange American foods that they don’t make in other countries, just like I was fascinated by prawn sandwiches in London.
When I was walking around my city in the following weeks, I looked at every single statue or fountain or old building and thought, If I were from Britain, I would have to snap a digital photo of that. As a rule, when I was overseas I took a picture of every piece of statuary or art or plain old engraved boulder, just because [...]
June 15, 2009 at 8:06 am
“London or Paris (choose one). Which city did you like better? Why” – Mary Jo
Hmmm, this is like asking me which piano-based musician I like better: Ben Folds or Tori Amos. One is a flame-haired, kooky, piano goddess and the other is a charismatic, geek, rocker. I like them both for very different reasons.
I like that they speak English in London, or at least some variation of English. Despite the fact that there are no trash cans downtown, London seemed cleaner than Paris. I found the London tube to be easier to navigate and prettier than the Paris Metro, which was grimier and not as well labeled. I also disliked the little rectangular paper tickets you have to use in Paris, which littered the ground at many stations.
However, London was much more expensive than Paris. By the time I was ordering my first lunch in French, I was relieved by the much lower prices. The French food was better, allowing me to sample tarts, chocolate bread, crepes and other naughty carbohydrates. Paris was also home [...]