My 1st H was stationed in Germany and I lived there for almost 3 years. I wanted to travel, but he was an A-hole and never wanted to do anything, and I was too young and stupid to know I could just go by myself if I wanted to.
The one trip I managed to talk him into was Amsterdam. We took an "express" tour. What that meant IN THEORY was that we'd travel overnight and sleep on the bus, tour the city during the day, and travel/sleep on the bus coming back. What it really meant was that we ended up on a bus that a large group of GI's thought they had privately chartered. They were drunk to start off, got drunker as the night progressed, and were pissed that there were "outsiders" on "their" bus.
As soon as we got off the bus, I was approached by a young man wearing a vest, who said, "Hashish? You want hashish?" I said, "Um, no thanks." He then said, "Cocaine? Marijuana?" And I said, "Oh, no thanks. Nothing from the menu, I'm good."
Everywhere we went was a disaster. Our bus driver got lost 3 times. We were to go on a boat tour of the canals and then to a diamond cutter's. Our tour guide led us to the boat and then said, "I've been on this tour many times, so will not join you. You will be getting off halfway to tour the diamond cutter's factory and I will meet you there with the bus." The boat was packed. There were 3 other groups besides ours, one Japanese, 1 German and 1 other English speaking group. We started out on the deck, but went inside a few minutes later because it started raining.
The boat guide would do her little spiel in German, then Japanese, then English for every site that she pointed out. At one point, the boat stopped and someone started up the aisle with a display of postcards. The guide said, "We are offering some souvenir post cards for sale to our German group, because they are going to be leaving the tour now to go to a diamond cutter. The rest of you will be able to purchase these at the end of the tour." Nobody from our group said anything. When the post-card seller got close to our seats, I leaned over and said, "Ma'am, I think we are supposed to go to this diamond cutter too." She went and got the other lady. I repeated that we were supposed to leave and tour a diamond cutter. She got all huffy and said, "I ASKED at the beginning of the tour if anyone would be leaving before the tour was over and you didn't say anything!"
I said I was sorry, that I had been outside and didn't hear her ask that. (Not to mention I wasn't the leader of the group, just the only one bold/stupid enough to say anything) So then she said, "Well, which diamond cutter are you going to?" "I don't know. Our tour guide just said she would meet us there with our bus." We ended up having to stop at 3 different places, get off the boat and look for our tour guide, before we found the right one.
The bus driver got lost again on the way home, and instead of going to the bus depot where we were supposed to transfer to our bus back to our post, stopped out in the middle of freaking no-where, outside of some kind of concert venue. We sat there for almost 3 hours until the bus company finally sent vans/buses to take us all back to our posts.
So what was your worst/funniest travel story?
My flight landed at 9:30pm. I get to the car rental place and there's one guy ahead of me. The rental agent looks up and says, "Can I help you?" I told him who I was and that I needed my rental. He looked very confused and said, "I just rented this guy my last car." I told him he'd better find me one because I had a 3-hour drive ahead of me and had to work the next day. (Because this was a govt. job, I could not make my own arrangements. If I had decided to stay overnight in Aberdeen, I would have had to pay for my room without reimbursement.)
The guy rummaged through the drawer, pulled out a set of keys and said, "I guess you can take this one." I went out to the car--and it was filthy, inside and out. They never rent you a dirty car...As I was loading my bags in the trunk, he drove by and waived. I left the airport and realized the car only had a 1/2 tank of gas. Another red flag. I filled it up and got on the road. These are back country roads, not a highway.
I get about a 1/2 hour outside Aberdeen and the 'check engine' light comes on! Shit! What do I do now?? I decided to go back to the airport. It was closed down for the night! Shit again! So I covered the light with a sticky note (so it wouldn't shine in my face all night ) and continued to Yankton. I got there at 2:30 am.
The next morning I had a one-hour drive to the agency where I was working. When I got there I called the rental agency to rant. The guy that answered the phone said, "I'm so sorry. That guy is an idiot. He rented you my personal car!" It turns out this was a car that the owner of the agency would leave in Minneapolis so he'd have something to drive when he went to visit family. The car was in Aberdeen for service.
I told the owner that I had to drive an hour each way to work that week, and I was NOT driving the car back to Aberdeen to switch it out. He said that was OK; the car just needed routine maintenance.
Then I called my boss to complain. My next flight to Montana was at 8:00am out of Aberdeen. This was just post 9/11, so I had to get to the airport very early. That meant I had to leave Yankton at 3am, drive the 3 hours back to Aberdeen, fly to Billings, and drive 6 hours to get to Wolf Point. I said the travel coordinator either needs to put me up in Aberdeen the night before the flight or in Billings for the night before my 6-hour drive. He yelled at her and had her change my flight to Sioux City, IA, about an hour from Yankton. That meant I had to leave the rental agency owner's car in yet another airport! Oh well...
I made the mistake of scheduling a family trip from St. Louis to Washington, the five of us plus my mother, so ages about 3 through 75. On United, the worst airline ever.
From my sketchy memory, due to incompetence or malevolence, my trip from St. Louis to Denver to Spokane became St. Louis to Denver to Las Vegas (for ALL NIGHT) to San Francisco to Seattle to Spokane, and we had to break up the group. A 5 hour trip became 25 hours.
Did I mention I fly United as a last resort ever since?
ETA: If you have Pandora or spotify, check out Bob Newhart's "Grace L. Ferguson Airline and Storm Door Company" routine. Reminds me of United.
ETA more: http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=9irPWEKmHJs&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Ds-WemyIbgJQ%26feature%3Dshare
Hudson & Landry: Ajax Airlines. Also reminds me of United.
[This message edited by TrustedHer at 11:42 AM, May 26th (Monday)]
We also seem to have a medical emergency almost every time we travel anywhere. The 2 most memorable:
In 2007, we went to Disney for my older ds's Make A Wish trip. We stayed at Give Kids the World, which is AWESOME. On our (supposed to be) last day at Magic Kingdom, JM had a kidney stone that decided to make itself known. We were in Frontierland when it hit. I managed to get him up to the first aid station, where an ambulance was called. Guest services drove me and the kids out to our rental van and gave me this lovely little printed card with directions to the hospital. (Side note... who the f*** names a hospital CELEBRATION?????) By the time I got there, he was doped up on morphine and said, "I don't wanna ruin the trip. Y'all go back to Disney World. I'll catch a cab back to our room."
Oh yeah. I'm really gonna do that and hear for the rest of our marriage how I left him in the hospital with a kidney stone to go back to Disney World.
The other also happened in Florida. This was on a deep sea fishing trip, also a trip for ds(now)22 through another wish organization. We were 20 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, and the guys were catching king mackerel like crazy. It was just the 4 of us, our guide and the fishing captain. My younger ds was 11 at the time. JM was holding the fish ds11 had caught for a picture, and it slipped out of his hands. DS was standing right beside him, and the fish's teeth raked across his shin, opening up a gash 3" long and at least 1/2" deep. I was HORRIFIED. The captain threw me a first aid kit and I covered it, wrapped a towel around it and practically laid down on it to keep pressure on it. He pulled in the gear and hauled butt back to shore... took almost an hour to get back.
After that trip, I joked that we were touring all of Florida's emergency rooms. DS ended up with a cool scar and an awesome story, but he swears he's never going out on a boat like that ever again.
I arrive in Tegucigalpa (capital of Honduras) at sunset with my team. (I'm the oldest and the only one who speaks any Spanish). Within 20 minutes of getting through customs Ann and I are in a taxi separated from the three boys in the other taxi. We have given the driver the address of our "hotel" and our driver takes off in the opposite direction from the other. We have NO seat belts, there seems to be NO rules about lanes or traffic lights. "We are going to die...or be sold into white slavery." We make it to the hotel and beat the guys!
The next day we take a bus east to the literal end of the road to a beautiful town called Catacamas. We stay with a loud but friendly family. (I feel like I've been thrust into the middle of a novella . Seriously the son and his wife were having sex on the porch.) Did I mention how naive and young I was? And Ann was two years younger than me!
Hmm, oh how I've used this trip as a teaching moment with my patients:
Don't eat off of street vendors! Check. Ice cream. Muy enfermo.
Don't drink the water: whoops! I forgot the white jug was Agua Pura and drank from the Amarillo (yellow) jug. Mucho mas muy enfermo. Yep, this time 104 fever with my montezuma's revenge. Got a big ass shot in the butt which cured my infection but then gave me a rip roaring yeast infection.
And as soon as I was better it was off to the jungle. (Yes, all that was in town!)
Rode a stallion in the jungle (evidently Hondurans don't neuter their animals). He saw a mare. You know where this is going right? I'm thrown off, the mare's owner is screaming at me in Spanish, I'm like As I have heard time and again at least I wasn't on the mare!
I refuse to ride the horse again and get stuck with the mule. Well fine. At least it isn't thinking about sex. Later we are going down a steep hill after a rain (did I mention it was monsoon season?!?) and I get off the mule to step down myself when the stallion slides past me on his haunches like he had thrown Ann off. Not our day.
A couple of days later I fell while crossing a river tearing my labrum in my left shoulder previewing the next 22 years of shoulder pain I was going to have. Normally you'd get an X-ray but we were a two hour hike from the horses, six hour ride from the jeep and a three hour jeep ride from a town with an X-ray machine so just fuck it. I took some Tylenol and wore a sling.
We did manage to do a lot of good work with immunization clinics and the such. I lost TWENTY pounds in THIRTY days. I should have started a diet craze. Spend one month sick as shit in the jungle with just rice and beans and shed FOUR years of college calories! Our team would sit around fantasizing about food. We were also the "whitest" team ever with three blondes, one redhead, and one light brown haired guy. The little kids thought our sunscreen made us white. They kind of had a point.
Did I mention I was still living with my 80s hair spraying aquanet on a butane curling iron and wearing makeup?
The last day in Catacamas was my 22 birthday. I started the festivities with stepping on a scorpion. Later that day I met the Honduran ritual of having my face slammed into the birthday cake.
After that we took the bus west back to Tegu and then caught a flight east over the same area to get to Roatan. Their planes are like buses and make un scheduled stops. At La Ceiba we had to get off the plane at machine gun point as the federales searched the plane and us for contraband and Nicaraguans. Evidently there was a war going on there and refugees were flooding into Honduras. Of course we were all so hopped up on Dramamine we didn't care. We finally got back on the plane and landed on the Bay Islands.
The next day a boat took us and landed us on an island and said they'd be back later.... Come to find out it was ten hours later. There we were with no extra water, shade, sunscreen. Sigh. The snorkeling was great. Still the best I've ever seen. The boys gathered coconuts and broke them open for liquid. Have you ever peed next to an Iguana? "Stay over there big fellow." Finally we were picked up and sent back to our cabins.
The next day we all had second degree burns, fevers up to 102. Shit! I cannot hide this burn from my Dad! On the way back to the airport the front wheel pops OFF the van. We careen towards the 100 foot cliff overlooking the airport and shimmy to a stop. Just then an old 1960s type ambulance comes by and we all pile into the back of the station wagon and on to the airport!
The next thing we see at the airport doesn't belong in F&G but suffice to say I saw my first death before medical school on that lonely tar runway. Double sigh.
I (with my pitiful espanol) managed to get us on the flight back to Tegu, to our hotel, to a Pizza Hut for the best pizza EVEH, and then on to the airport the next day to fly back to the states on SAHSA (stay at home stay alive) airlines.
And so concluded my first mission trip! As dangerous and funny as the trip was it changed me as a person. It expanded my world view and taught me how to step up to the plate and take responsibility. I wouldn't trade those memories for the world.
When the service was over we stuck around to talk to the locals. They brought us food and were very nice. I started to hear people talk about rain and I was confused because the day had been so nice.
We looked out the front door, and it was sprinkling. We had about 10 cityish blocks to walk so we decided to get going. After a couple blocks the sky opened up and it started pouring. We started running, and by the time we got to the Arno river, a thunderstorm had descended upon us.
I will never, EVER forget the sights and sounds as I sprinted on the bridge across the river - the lightening literally hitting points along the Arno as we ran. The Ponte Vecchio was to our left, and each thunderbolt lit it up like day.
We got back to our rooms and just started laughing hysterically. Then we took pictures pretending we were singing - soaking wet in our heavy clothes.
Once we were traveling home from Mexico - LA to MSP in the middle of the night and someone started screaming in the airplane. Then more people screamed. We were in the back and I thought, "omg, we're almost home and we're getting hijacked." So I threw a blanket over the girls' head (they look uber American) and hubby and DS composed themselves together to see if anyone wanted to rush up with them and confront whatever was happening. Turns out someone had had a nightmare and was screaming in her sleep, scared the crap out of other people so they started screaming.
Two years ago we rented a cheap pontoon at Lake of the Ozarks. While this lake is not particularly wide, there is so much traffic on it the waves can get enormous. So, we're driving the pontoon back to the marina and a storm comes up. Waves are huge. DD (age 23 then?) starts crying she's so scared and I am worried for my life too. But I think, what's the worst that can happen? I am a good swimmer so I'll owe someone 20k for a pontoon and I'll lose my iPhone. I try to calm DD and say, "you are the best swimmer on this lake and could swim 25 yards in half a minute, so don't worry, you'll be ok." She says, "What about Dad?" I look at him driving the boat and say, "I'll take care of him." and then he looks at us and says, "why is she crying, it's beautiful out here!" So I say to DD, "ok, forget about Dad, it's every man for himself." And we made it just fine, lucky for him.
I remember flying the red-eye from MSP to Anchorage with three babies. We stood up the entire 6 hours so they could sprawl out and sleep. The entire plane slept and we just walked up and down the aisles and of course arrived exhausted with three kids under 1 to take care of.
I used to travel a lot with my job, mainly to legal conferences in NYC. Being a southern woman, the Big Apple always seemed like a foreign country to me at times. The taxi rides alone used to have me lying down in the back seat so as not to watch the near wrecks and the way cabbies threaten each other.
Anyway - I had a wonderful opportunity to be a representative to the United Nations at the World Conference on Women and Girls, dealing with the issue of treatment of incarcerated women world-wide. I was in awe of being at the United Nations. My travel there got off to a bad start when a stop over in Dallas resulted in a day's delay due to weather. Luckily I'd thought ahead and about scheduling and made my hotel reservations at the large hotel next to the UN. I was on the 41st. floor and there was a foreign dignitary staying on the same floor so guests on that floor found ourselves subject to a search when we exited the elevator on our floor. Body guards were everywhere but we NEVER found out who the important person was. The three day conference went well. A reception on the last night lasted way too late and I didn't get back to my hotel until midnight and I had a 6 a.m. flight out of LaGuardia. The conference had arranged a car so I sleepily shuffled down to the car at 4 a.m. to get to the airport. I promptly fell asleep in the car on the way to the airport. I woke up when I arrived at the airport, tipped the driver and collected my luggage. Something wasn't right! It took about 5 minutes to realize I was at the Newark airport instead of LaGuardia.
This started a chain of events that lasted all day and all night as I tried to get on the right track. I was informed that I had two choices ... I could get a bus to LaGuardia (fastest way, they said) and they would put me on another flight at noon or I could stay at Newark, pay an extra $700 and leave immediately for Detroit, where I had plans to visit friends for three days. I chose the bus. There was an accident and the bus sat in stalled traffic and I was watching the clock ... tick tick tick ... and yes, I missed my noon flight. Finally I was scheduled to fly out at 6pm for Detroit. Sitting and waiting, overpriced food. 5:30 came, no calls for boarding ... just a 'flight delayed' notice on the big board. 7:30, we were promised flight would leave at 8pm. Same thing, flight delayed. Then people started to panic and got on their phones arranging other flights. By 10 pm the board still said 'flight delayed' and the employees at the boarding gate knew nothing. Thank goodness I had not checked my luggage but I had to drag it around, even when I went to the restroom because you KNOW what happens to people in airports who leave luggage 'unattended' -- and who the hell wants to say YES when they ask if anyone has asked you to 'watch their luggage.'
By 10:30 only one employee could be seen in that part of the airport and myself and one other woman remained, waiting on a plane that wasn't coming. The employee started to gather her purse to leave and we both pounced on her at the same time. She said ..."Oh I'm sorry, didn't you know? The flight has been rescheduled for 6 a.m. tomorrow!" NO, we didn't know. No announcements, no change on the board! So she said she'd arrange transportation for us to a hotel, courtesy of the airlines. Okay. At midnight we were told to go outside to our 'car' and it would take us to a hotel. There it was ... a huge limo. So the other lady and I got in the car. And we rode and rode and rode .. and it was 2 a.m. We kept asking where we were being taken and the driver said a hotel name that was not familiar to either of us. At 2:30 we arrived at a beautiful hotel, right on a beautiful beach - in Long Island! We were each given our room keys. Now, I have traveled a lot to NYC, San Francisco and some nice places but I have never stayed in such a FANCY hotel. I later checked and the room rates were $650 per night and this was a few years ago. I took a very quick shower, got into bed and had barely closed my eyes and the phone ringing woke me up and the desk clerk said the 'car was there' to take me to the airport for the 6 a.m. flight. I looked at the clock and it was 4 a.m.!!! Grabbed my stuff and headed out and got in yet another limo with the same woman. We were both quiet, numb and barely awake. Like stumbling drunks is how she described both of us. Turned out she was a Senator's wife from a northern state and she was NOT happy! She had been on the phone with her husband and thus we'd been taken to the 'nicer' hotel. Miles and Miles away from the airport!
Got my flight to Detroit and slept all during the short flight. Got to Detroit and got a rental car and arrived at my friend's house and slept for 8 hours straight. They couldn't believe the difficulty I'd had. Enjoyed my visit and headed to the Detroit airport for my flight home. Checked my luggage because I felt like the pull handle was starting to grow to my hand. The flight had a Dallas stopover schedule but due to storms we were routed to Memphis. My destination was Tulsa, Oklahoma but I could not get on a plane to go THERE for some reason. So I was routed to Dallas on the first available flight, which resulted in another additional 5 hour wait. Got on the flight and after 10 minutes in the air we got the ...."Ladies and Gentleman" speech from the pilot saying due to a minor problem, the flight would be diverted to Tulsa so the 'problem' could be checked out. Landing at my destination!! When we landed, I got OFF the plane!! However ... my luggage went on additional trips as I could not get it. Luggage arrived home 3 days later.
After that trip from hell, I vowed to NEVER fly if my destination was 1,500 miles or less. I DRIVE. I am in control when I am driving!
One trip I flew into Shenzhen from Shanghai. There are signs everywhere that state to go to the taxi stand and to not talk to drivers who are standing on their own. So I go right up to the taxi stand and there is a driver standing there. I ask if he takes credit cards and he says he will take me to the ATM. OK no problem there and I get a bunch of cash out.
Then we walk to his cab but it is away from the taxi cab. At this point I know I am getting duped but he has my luggage. Then I see that his cab is green. Green cabs are for the outer parts of the city while red cabs are for the city center. I start yelling at him that I don't want to go with him but he has my bags in his trunk. He yells that his cab is a Shenzhen taxi just like that one is a Shenzhen taxi. So I get in and he wants 200 RMB. I pay him then he gets to the toll booth and tells the girl in the toll booth in Chinese - "Watch this while I fuck with this American" and asks me for the toll. I came unglued and started yelling at him telling him that I know he speaks English and he better get me to my hotel before I report his ass. Well he gets me to the taxi stand at the city perimeter where he has to negotiate with the other cab drivers to fins someone to take me the rest of the way because his green cab cannot go any further. Fortunately that was the end of that drama. I found out on the return trip that the taxi fee was actually only 65 RMB.
Another time in the same town I am flying from Shanghai to Shenzhen to take a coach across the border to Hong Kong where I have my flight back to the US the next morning. A bad storm was coming into South China so my flight was delayed but when I asked how long it was delayed for the response was "We don't know". After an hour delay they brought us food. After a second hour the flight was called up and they fed us again on the plane - all included in our ticket price.
When I landed the border crossing I wanted to go across was closed for the night. A lady wrote down the name of the other all night border crossing so I could give it to the cab driver and he took me there. There was a mob of people that I had to walk through. One guy kept trying to grab my garment bag saying "Me help, Me help!" until I stared him down and got into the secure area.
Then I walked across out of the People's Republic of China but I was in between China and Hong Kong. There were buses for HK Disney and other places in HK but nothing about the airport. And I could not find anyone who spoke English. I finally went up to a vendor
Me: How do I get to the airport?
V: There is no airport
Me: Yes there is. I have a flight tomorrow from there.
V: They tore it down.
Me: No I mean the new airport
V: Yes there is a new airport
Me: Where is it?
V: I don't know!
(Honest this is the actual conversation)
Finally someone told me to follow them, I took a very crowded bus to a border crossing to get into Hong Kong and then crossed the border. Then I had to get a cab driver to accept Chinese RMB because I did not have any Hong Kong Dollars. I policewoman had to come over to translate. I finally got to my hotel at the airport at 4 am and I had a 10 am flight.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - Aubrie
Our first stop is a small motel just off the interstate in a small southern town. We got in around 7, ate dinner, early bed, wake up call for 6am so we can get on the road towards our destination, Williamsburg, Va.
I'm not a great sleeper in the best of cases. And I had been burned once before, a wake up call never happened, I missed a friend's wedding. So, after a sleep, I woke, went to the bureau where my friend had left her expensive gold watch, saw that it said half past 5, I got up, showered and woke the others. The complaining friend turned on the TV, while the other friend went to take a shower. To our surprise, Johnny Carson was on! We just assumed it was a southern thing.
But then, complainer put her watch on. It was 1:00AM! I had read the watch upside down. In my defense, it was one of those fancy-dancy ones with only golden specks at the hour, half hour and quarter hour. Complainer proceeded to bang on the bathroom door to tell on me.
It's 35 years later and I still get razzed about it.
I put on the dress Iíd brought along for nicer days of touring, it shrank since the last time I wore it and is now resting just above my knees instead of covering them, a big no-no for visiting churches. I scoot it down a bit, pull down on the sides, itíll do. The driver who picks us up for the Vatican tour says nothing. Guide says nothing. We get into the Vatican museums without an issue so I finally relax. Following the tour the guide leaves us for lunch and directs us to the area we go for the excavations tour. Great, eat, get there a bit early, the Swiss Guard takes one look at my knees and turns us away. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!
So we are popping into every shop in the vicinity trying to find something to cover my whorish knees. Itís all scarves and purses and tchotchkes. Donít they sell pants in Rome?! Five minutes to go for the tour. We give up. The ex is surprised that Iím not melting down. I take off my sweater and hand it to him. He is even more surprised when I drop the top of my dress down in the middle of the street, slide it down to cover my knees, thank God for empire waist, I wouldnít need a belt, then put the sweater back on over my bra. I hope the Pope approved of my impromptu stripping because the Swiss Guard let us in with no issues.
Hit the ground in Atl and had 7 minutes to make the connection to Miami. Made the decision to hop the flight knowing there was no way our luggage would make it.
Me: "We get on the flight, I'll go to baggage claim and you go to the desk and ask. It will likely come on a later flight."
STBX: "Yeah. This is Atl to Miami. Surely they have flights back and forth all day"
Me : "Don't call me Shirley." She never thought that was funny. No wonder we are divorcing.
Anyhow, bags came on a later flight. Delta treated us to dinner while we waited. Thought the day of travel was over.
We missed the hotel shuttle and decided to take a cab. Let's just say I'm not sure English was this guy's THIRD language. Nice enough guy, just a language barrier. We should have come more prepared, printed a mapquest or something. Lesson learned. Anyhow, got a two hour tour of the greater Miami area, and the meter crept close to $200 bucks. He found the hotel and I offered him half the meter (it was a 30 dollar ride if straight line). He took half, then gave me back half of that. I invited him in for a drink, he declined.
We had grand plans in Miami but by now it was after 9 pm. Found the hotel bar and told the lovely Cuban-American bartender our story. She made sure we were good and relaxed, didn't charge us a dime. Almost died laughing when she pretended to not speak English when a man ordered a Mai Tai.
Man : "I'll have a Mai Tai and my wife would like a nice Zinfandel"
Me: "there's no such thing as a nice Zinfandel"
Bartender: "I....I no tie tie" as he tried to explain the ingredients.
Then back by us: "it's ten minutes to close. I'm not making him a f$&@$? Mai Tai"
Sorry so long. That was fun to think about. The moral of the story is treat the service people well or you:
A) won't get your bags
B) will pay way too much for a cab ride And
C) won't get to make fun of people with the bartender and have to pay for your drinks.
No wake up call. There was a big boom, our bed starting shaking and it sounded like the shuttle was launching right outside our door. Hubby grabbed the video camera and ran out into the parking lot with just his underwear on to tape it. No one noticed. They were all looking up!
The first day I tripped on marble steps in Arlington Cemetery. My knee was gushing blood, I'm in flip flops, we'd walked a couple miles to get there. Aussie bandaged me up the best he could until we eventually hobbled to a drugstore.My knee swelled up to twice it's normal size, and I have a nice scar years later.
Next stop is NYC. This is where I learned Uncle had planned the whole trip, and since they were there from Australia, they wanted to fit EVERYTHING in. He had tours scheduled from 8am-10am, then our tickets for other event were from 10:05-Noon. And we had reservations for lunch at 11:58. This was how the whole week went. We actually managed to get a bit of time to ourselves to go to Central Park. But, we had been told, MANY times, we HAD to be at the ferry for the Statue of Liberty at 2pm. So, we tried to head over. Thinking we had plenty of time. We waited and waited and waited for the subway. Finally I realized there was a sign on a pole. Saying that that track was closed for work, so you would have to go back up, take the bus, then the subway, then another bus. Well, crap. Now we had to run. Remember knee injury from earlier? We finally get there, get off the bus, and realize we are the first ones there. Then dad and step mom pull up in a taxi. Aunt and uncle are on a horse drawn carriage, aunt and cousin are on bikes. it was some crazy Amazing Race.
Next, a bus ride to Niagara Falls. Uncle had booked it. We got on, and there are a whole bunch of people that know each other, and then us. The ride starts. The whole tour is in Hebrew. Sometimes we can get the guy giving the tour to speak in English and tell us where we are. But, for the most part, he'd talk, we'd question, and a bus full of people would laugh at us. A woman spilled hot coffee all over Aussie's shoes and my purse, and when we complained she told us if we didn't like it maybe we should get off at the next rest stop. Somehow we ended up stopping at an outlet mall on the way. When we got back to the bus, people had put their bags in our seats. It was a 16 hour drive.
We went to the falls, that went pretty well. Except for not REALIZING we were there at first, because nobody would talk to us, and we are both too short to see over the crowd. Now, we need to get back into the US. A busload of people is sent through in a few minutes. Stepmom and I are the problem. We were really irritated. We were the only Americans! We just want to go home! They said that's why they were paying more attention, because if we got in, we would be staying. Had to make sure we belonged there.
We went back to the same places since then, so we could enjoy and not have to see everything at warp speed. And, we still vacation with his family, but have a strict no buses policy.
It will all be ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end
Happily remarried to a wonderful man (Aussie). I think I found the right guy and the right finger this time.
New Year's Eve on the high seas ... some of us are looking forward to a great party, and W & I had had pretty bad luck on NYEs before.
Just after dark we hit a storm, I guess. Ship bounces around like mad. W wedges herself into the berth, and I went looking for a party....
I found just one other passenger walking around. The bars were closed. No bands played. I walked out of a salon (on a middle deck) to see what it was like outside - the waves were higher than my deck.
I really enjoyed the trip even without the party.
As a former road warrior who lives in Chicago, I did a lot of flying with TH's favorite airline. The year 2000 was awful the whole year.
1996, Chicago to Cleveland, due to take off at 8 AM: I board early, grab my overhead space, seat myself, and doze. That was my usual protocol.
I wake at 8:20, notice we're still at the gate, and the effing pilot announces, 'You're probably aware that we haven't taken off. The ground crew neglected to deliver coffee to us, and I insisted that they give it to us before we take off, so we're waiting.'
If that shithead had taken off on time, we'd have been on the ground in Cleveland with coffee in out gullets before he eventually took off from Chicago!
I complained, got the brush off, and wrote back something like 'Your apology is meaningless unless you make some changes, such as a)..., b)..., c).... Here's my bill for consulting. Send a check to my address of record.' They sent me a coupon for $100 off a flight, useless for the flights I took.
1991 or so - United for a day trip from Chicago to NYC. My boss and I get to LaGuardia for the flight home a little early. The desk attendant is already frazzled but there are no other passengers around. Boss strikes up a conversation. The first night of Passover is the next day, she's got 18 people coming to dinner, and she has to work an extra shift to cover for someone who called in sick.
We check in. Boss goes to soda machine, buys a Pepsi, and we walk over to give it to her.
She stops, looks at him like he's a gift sent by God, reaches into the desk, pulls out a handful of envelopes for us - each envelope had coupons for free alcohol, free movies, and free headsets with no expiration date. The $0.90 investment in the Pepsi got us each about $60 in alcohol alone - and, boy, did that come in handy when we both went on the road a year later.
Flight's overbooked. We volunteer to be bumped - we'll get home an hour later than planned with 2 coupons each for free RT travel in the lower 48. The desk attendant asks if we really want to get bumped. We say 'Yes'. She bumps us and puts us in 1st class for the substitute trip home.
Now THAT was a good trip! UAL sometimes was a good choice.