This week CJS is fresh off of our annual meet in sunny Tucson, AZ. In preparation for our quick vacation, we’d asked you to tell us about your weird, wild, and just plain silly travel stories. This week is quality over quantity, as we’ve only received submissions from regular contributers Deuce and Augie.Maestas.
Fortunately for us, both stories are nothing short of excellent. Augie nearly had to start a new life for himself South of the Border, and Deuce explains how the fantasy of every single male traveling alone on an airplane, can become horribly awkward and wrong. But first, Dagger reminds us that even in the 21st Century, traveling halfway across the world is a pain in the ass, and Hart tells us what we all already knew: a 7 A.M. Return flight from Las Vegas is never a good idea. Limon completes the CJS staff trifecta of boozing and flying stories with a cautionary tale about spending the night out in Alaska boozing at one of the greatest bars in America the night before your early morning flight home on your first ever business trip.
E Dagger: When we initially conceived this question, it was framed in a way that encouraged you to share your travel nightmares. I haven’t had many of those except for that round trip bus ride between Fort Collins and San Francisco to watch CSU get its teeth kicked in by Boston College in the San Francisco Bowl. Spending 43 hours on a bus over the course of four days is not only just idiotic (especially considering I had the opportunity to fly), it still ranks as one of my Top 5 Most Unpleasant Memories. Maybe Senor Limon or Keithage will tell you more about this because I don’t have the energy.
My story comes from flying all day to Umea, Sweden. Denver -> Washington, D.C. -> London -> Stockholm -> Umea. What a fucked up series of flights that was. On the leg to DC, my Dad had us upgraded to First Class, which would have been awesome considering up until three minutes before we were to take off, the seat next to me was empty. I should have never expected to be so lucky because the fattest man I’ve ever encountered in my life waddles in and sits next to me. Of course he fucking does. He was pushing five bills easy, had to get a seatbelt extender, and ate his meal holding the plate with one hand and his fork with the other because he obviously couldn’t use the tray. I also had to use the bathroom mid-flight, so when I came back my drink was spilled in my seat, and I realized after I picked it up and put it back on the arm rest, his fat had jetted out and knocked it into the seat without him even realizing it. He was a nice enough man, but tell me you’d want to sit next to him on your next cross-country flight.
On the flight to London I drank a little bit – again, business class – tried to sleep and ultimately felt like shit once we arrived at Heathrow Airport. Heathrow looks like a shopping mall which is awesome if you’re in a festive mood, and I definitely wasn’t. They put us in a lounge for international travelers where they had free beer. Even though I felt like I fell out of a dog’s ass, I was 22 and thought I’d be doing myself a disservice to pass up the free beer. What I failed to account for was that I was now in England meaning the beer was piss warm, looked like roofing tar, and had a bunch of leaves, sticks, and other assorted pollution in it. Y’know, standard English ale, right? I choked one down, decided I’d had enough, and switched to room temperature water. What’s with Europe’s aversion to ice anyway?
I still had two legs of travel left, and the planes progressively got smaller. The next time you consider traveling trans-atlantically, remember that you’ll likely wish you were dead at the end of it, so make sure it’s worth it. This trip was definitely worth it except that when I finally got to Umea (where the sun never sets during the
summer), I was so exhausted from the 24 hours of travel that I passed out immediately when we got home, slept for 15 hours and woke up with a kink in my neck that didn’t go away for four fucking days. Remember this next time you think Europe’s a good idea. It likely is, but it’s not without its costs.
Lee S. Hart: 7 Words: Six Thirty A.M. flight out of Vegas. Wait, is A.M. one word? Well however many words that is with however A.M. is counted.
I went to Vegas for a friend’s bachelor party. When I was booking my flights I saw a return flight at 6:30 am and it was the cheapest. I also found out the bachelor was using that flight as well. So I would have company on the plane.
Now I tend to book my flights in a sober state and I look at it as though I will be fully able to handle the flight regardless of the time. So my thoughts as I looked over this time was this will be perfect. I’ll have to leave for the airport around 4 to 4:30. We should be out drinking, gambling, having fun until then so I can just go. Seems like a good plan, in theory. In reality what happened was we drank all night the night before, then all day. During which time we ate very little. So as wee hit the club I split a 48 oz martini with Dagger, then blacked out. When I came to, amazingly in my hotel room, in my bed, I looked at the clock and saw that it read 6:38. My first thought was, “Fuck! I missed my flight!” My second thought was, “Why am I wearing my swim suit?”
I jumped out of bed and started to panic a little. I suddenly had no idea how I was getting home. I called the airline and told them the situation and they said to come to the airport and we’ll put you on standby. I gathered my shit, during which time Dagger informed me that he had thrown up in his bed. I was preoccupied and didn’t respond. Then I left.
I got to the airport and was put on stand by where I ended up waiting another few hours for a plane. I sat at the gate completely miserable and vowed that I would never ever drink again, and that I meant it that time while trying to fight back vomit.
I then rode the airplane with one of the worst hangovers I have ever had. I ached and this felt like the longest most awful flight I’ve ever been on. I once flew to Italy and yet this flight felt longer. When I landed I found the restroom and threw up. Then I sat outside in the hot hot heat waiting for my ride, or death. Either would have sufficed at that point.
I thought I learned my lesson, my I was in a similar shape for my 10 A.M. flight out of Tucson. In all fairness though, that was the day after St. Patrick’s Day.
Senor Limon: Like Dagger, I considered regaling you all with the story of the Bus Ride from San Francisco that just would not end, but much like Dagger, the thought of dredging up all those memories just doesn’t sound like a good time. Instead, Ill go the easy route and retell the story of Dagger and my return trip from Alaska the summer of our junior year of college.
Dagger and my trip to Alaska would cap off one of the single greatest summers I have ever had. Rampant changing of majors had meant that I needed to get a couple classes out of the way in a summer session in order to stay reasonably on track to graduate. I spent the summer taking two classes, both of which I really enjoyed, and doing little else other than drinking, watching daytime television and hanging out with a truly random assortment of people that happened to be out and about in a college town during the off season.
Unfortunately my summer-long antics didn’t really include working, so by the end of the summer I was hurting for cash, and worried how I’d be affording things like beer and peanut butter in the coming semester. Fortunately for me, the company Dagger’s father works for not only needed some temporary help to wildly overpay for a weeks worth of work, they needed someone to do it in Alaska. Dagger and I jumped aboard without much hesitation, and spent the week doing not all that much actual work, and quite a bit of stumbling around the small town of Wasilla, AK. Yes, the same one governed once by Sarah Palin.
The employees of the small branch of the company we were working for were pretty insistent that we spend our last night in Alaska partying in Anchorage at, what we we’re told, Playboy once declared was the greatest bar in America: Chilkoot Charlie’s. The company would put us up in a hotel nearby in Anchorage, and all the anyone seemed to be asking of us is that they be allowed to live vicariously through us for a night.
Dagger and I started off the night eating dinner and charging a few drinks to our hotel room. Before long, we grabbed a taxi to Chilkoots, immediately upon arrival my window was assaulted by a small group of extremely drunken swamp donkeys who insisted that I call their friend, and shouted a phone number in my direction. Dagger and I brushed them aside, and entered the fabled bar.
Anchorage is a town of around 300,000 people, and I’m relatively sure just about all of them could fit inside Chilkoot’s. The bar is a sprawling combination of rooms, each with a different theme. Upon ordering my first beer, I was scarred for life by a huge Eskimo woman who proudly showed me her missing front teeth and proclaimed she had lost them in a snow-machining accident. Dagger and I would soon move on, checking out all of the different bars, and strike up a conversation with a table full of surprisingly racist young women. Eventually we ended up in the techno bar, which is unlikely and unfortunate, since neither Dagger or I can really stand techno, staring desperately at the final pint of beer we had ordered determined to choke it down before heading back to the hotel for the night. The music was too loud to attempt to converse, but I don’t think either of us had much to say anyway.
There is no last call in Alaska, so I can’t even reasonably tell you what time Dagger and I finally managed to tumble back into our hotel room. I can say that we didn’t have the presence of mind to set our alarm clocks earlier in the evening, so upon arrival, desperately fearing that we would miss our early morning return flight, we both set our cell phone alarms, the hotel clock radio, and requested an early morning wake up call. Next, I vomited. For some reason at the time I was inspired to sing Pearl Jam’s Even Flow during the entire event, much to Dagger’s amusement.
Armageddon struck at approximately 5:30 A.M, when both of our cell phones, the hotel room alarm clock, and the wake up call all decided to erupt into a caucophany of confusion at the exact same instant. Dagger and I woke up in utter confusion and both of us just kind of darted about the dark hotel room for 15 seconds or so trying to decide if the building was falling down or not. After finally managing to silence everything in our room, we took the hotel courtesy shuttle to the Alaska airport. On approximately my third attempt at entering the 23 digit alphanumeric ticket confirmation number into the touch screen kiosk at the airline checkout counter that I realized I wasn’t hungover, I was still blatantly fucking trashed.
As far as I know the rest of the return trip went pretty much without incident, because the only other thing I remember clearly is staring at my pathetic plastic cup of orange juice, and Sausage and egg breakfast biscuit that I was completely unable to eat, praying that I would survive the takeoff. Somehow I managed without blowing chunks into an airsickness bag, or making a desperate run to the airplane bathroom, which would be an extremely unfortunate location to be forced to vomit.
Deuce starts off our reader submissions this week with another hungover business traveler story. This is pretty much the way pornos start out, except instead of being a wild and crazy single guy, Deuce was engaged, and instead of being a hot porn star, the person sitting next to him was a felony waiting to happen. That is, unless he imagined the entire thing.
Deuce: I am pretty sure I told my wife about this when it happened, if not, she’ll know now. When I was an intern at the job I currently am doing, I traveled back and forth to Washington DC for week long training classes about every other month. I loved going there for a large variety of reasons. What would usually happen by the end of the week would be a big night of drinking on Friday after classes and a hungover trip home on Saturday. I don’t remember exactly when this particular trip was, probably spring of 2006 because I know I was already engaged to Mrs. Deuce. But here’s what happened, I got on the 777, and for those of you that don’t know about these, they’re big inside. The seating sets up with 2 seats, an aisle, 5 seats, an aisle and then 2 more seats.
I was in one of the sets of two, sitting on the aisle with an empty window seat next to me. They seemed like they were getting ready to shut the doors when a whole slew of teenagers ambles onto the plane and fills in empty seats, including the one right next to me. It is what appears to be about a high school sophomore girl. After some customary hellos, I learn she is from Arvada high school and this is some group coming home from a 3 week trip in Germany. I try to doze off to recover from the night before. I can half hear her talking with her friend who is in the seat in front of me about some boy they tried to “get with” and blah blah blah. Anyways, somewhere over what I expect is Missouri, she taps me awake on the shoulder and I turn to look, and she says, “Excuse me, I need to go to the restroom. (brief pause) You’re welcome to join me if you like.” My quick and barely awake response was nothing short of scared as I said, “Sorry, I’m engaged.” So I move and she goes off and I start thinking: “Does this actually happen in real life? Do I really look that young? What happened to her over in Germany?” Then this last internal comment was the most troubling: “God I hope I heard her right.” So I lay back down in my seat and try to go back to sleep. When she returns, I, feeling very awkward, get up to let her back into her seat, she sits down and puts on her headphones like nothing happened and proceeds to read her book. I went back to sleep for most of the rest of the flight and no words are exchanged the whole time. Luckily when we landed the flight attendant made an announcement that all the high schoolers stay on the plane while everyone else got off so they could stay together with their chapperone.
Lots of thoughts went through my head on the way home from the airport, most of which revolved around whether or not I had heard her correctly when I was waking up and how stupid my response would have sounded if I hadn’t.
We’ll forgive Augie this time for not knowing the difference between the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs officers (we’ve made a few edits for accuracy’s sake) because his story is a a hilarious drunken cross between the events of Born in East L.A, and Babel.
Augie.Maestas: Sophomore year in college, my buddies and I decided to go to South Padre. Not enough cash to fly out there, but enough to drive. We head down to South Texas in an old beat up Buick. On the way down, we ran over an already dead deer which made the car feel like we just hit a brick wall. But everything was okay and we kept going. We hit South Padre and what a great time it was. However, one of the days we were down there, we decided to go to Mexico. I want to preempt this part of the story with some info about me – I have done some stupid things inlife that I regret in the past, and before this trip was one of them and the end result was a loss of my license.
So, we head down toMexico – a Mexican, a Black, an India Indian and 4 white guys. We do what every American does in Mexico and that is try to drink every drink on the menu. We succeeded, but while trying to get back across the border, the only Mexican in the group doesn’t have any picture identification. I was about to piss my pants when I got to the front of the line and the Customs Officer was about to ask me for identification and then this happened – three Mexicans started chasing a white guy across the border and knocked down four Customs Officers. Alarms went off and more Officers came running to assist in the situation. The guy who was about to check my identification just started asking people if they were American citizens and from what city they were from. So with an answer of “Yes” and “Denver, Colorado” I made it back to America drunk but safe. Not sure what happened to the guys running across the border because I got out of there as fast as I could. What a trip. Ended with me coming home to get my wisdom teeth pulled out, but it was worth it.
So, there you have it. If there is any lesson to be learned here, its that drinking and traveling don’t mix. Either that, or they mix hilariously and awesomely well, because when it comes down to it. Everyone involved today made it home safely. All we’re wondering here at CJS, is: When’s the next trip?
We suggest you get started soon with your submissions for next week, because we suspect that its a subject nearly all of our CJS readers know something about: Superman has his kryptonite. The drinkers here at CJS have theirs. We want to know what your alcohol kryptonite is. What can you no longer drink? What did you O.D. on in college/high school/grade school that makes you want to ralph just thinking about it? And tell us a story about it! Send your responses to email@example.com and join us in the Confessional next week.
Hart, Dagger, and Limon
22 Mar 2009 CJS Staff