Sunday, November 20, 2011

If You Are My Friend, I Promise to Shank Your Killer While Wearing My Pajamas and No Makeup if Necessary

Let me set the scene: my travel companion and I have just returned to our hostel from watching a terrible tween flick with Spanish subtitles at a local theater. We´re pulling our suitcases out of a locker and preparing to move them to our new room, located at the top of a flight of stairs, when we are approached by two visibly intoxicated gentlemen.

¨You got an iPhone?¨ones slurs.

I´m not really inclined to lend my phone to this guy - who is inexplicably carrying a boom box - so I pretend I don´t.

¨Where you from?¨ he continues.

We politely answer. ¨Guess where I´m from!¨ he says, now situating himself between Blonde Beyonce and myself. ¨Croatia!¨

Well, that´s nice and all, but this guy is now saying, ¨Do you know where that is?!¨ over and over again. Yes, I have a vague idea where that is, but this dude is starting to get on my nerves.

We try to excuse ourselves and head upstairs, but he won´t get out of the way. ¨Which room are you in?! We are upstairs too!¨

This dude is now inches from Blonde Beyonce´s face and insisting that we invite him and his silent buddy over. Umm, fuck no. The more we try to leave, the pushier he gets. ¨C´mon ladies!¨ His silent buddy turns to me and says, ¨My friend is really drunk.¨ No shit, dude.

I´m now actually now trying to drag my suitcase up the stairs, and drunk dude still won´t get out of the way. Finally, I decide to stop being polite. ¨Hey, dude, back the hell off, okay?!¨

But no dice. And now my guide to not being a creepy motherfucker:

  1. I don´t care how drunk you are, if a woman asks you to back the fuck off, you back the fuck off.
  2. If you don´t back the fuck off, I am going to assume you are a rapist. This means anything goes, and I will not hesitate to A) scream very loudly, B) cause you bodily harm or C) destroy your chances with any other women by telling them all you are probably a rapist.

Now my guide to not being a douche if you are the friend of a potentially creepy motherfucker:

  1. Saying ¨my friend is really drunk¨ does not excuse you from your responsibilities as a human being. You are still required to keep your friend from terrifying all the women in the immediate area.
  2. If one of the women your friend is terrifying says, ¨Hey, please tell your friend to get the hell out of our way,¨ do not respond by offering her an alcoholic substance in a coke bottle. You think I´m a fucking moron? Your friend is probably a rapist and you think I´m going to drink unidentifiable liquor out of your plastic bottle?! I´d just be asking to get roofied.

So, anyway, we finally wrestle our way past these guys and head up to our room. We decide to retire for the night after a few rounds of, ¨Holy shit yo, I think that guy was an axe murderer!¨ After calming down, I quickly fall asleep.

Fast forward a few hours.

I wake up and discover that Blonde Beyonce is, for some reason, not in her bunk. I decide I must be dreaming this. I fall back asleep.

I wake up again, and no, Blonde Beyonce is definitely not in her bunk. I even get up and check, because I think maybe she´s hiding under a blanket. Nope.

This is probably a result of once watching the movie Hostel (which I don´t suggest you ever do), but I immediately jump to this conclusion: Blonde Beyonce went to go brush her teeth and was jumped in the hallway by the axe murderer and now her body is buried in a Madrid alley way.

I spring into action. I grab my keycard and leave the room in my pajama pants with no makeup on (evidence of my commitment to this Blonde-Beyonce´s-been-murdered theory). I check all the hallways. I run into a girl I had met the night before and ask, ¨Have you seen Blonde Beyonce?!¨

¨No...is she missing?¨ I consider explaining my theory, but that might cause unnecessary alarm, and I want to be able to sneak up on said rapist unannounced.

I creep down the stairs, through the kitchen and around the corner, knowing any minute I could run into Jack the Ripper, when suddenly...I see Blonde Beyonce sitting at the computer.

¨I THOUGHT YOU GOT MURDERED!¨

¨Nah dude, you fell asleep and I wasn´t tired.¨

Oh.

Well.

This was an excellent outcome, as I think it might have been difficult to stab a man in the jugular with a key card, which was, at the moment, my only weapon.

But just know…I totally would have tried.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Procrastinator's Guide to Mildly Functional International Travel*

*Disclaimer: This should not be considered a definitive guide for your next international vacation, as there is probably a lot of other crap you should be doing, like, I dunno, booking the appropriate tours and getting the necessary vaccinations.

To put it in perspective, assume this guide was written by a girl who thought that gauging the extent of a scorpion infestation by the light of her Blackberry in a Thai train car was a perfectly amusing experience.

Contact your bank before you depart. I have a pretty amazing track record of forgetting to notify my credit union that I will be attempting to charge things to my credit and debit cards outside of the U.S. Then they have the gall to get all pissed at me for trying to withdraw forty thousand riel (that's a lot less money than you think it is) from a shoddy ATM next to a fried bat stand in Phnom Penh. Seriously? You guys should know me by now. Even my estranged father assumed that our stock accounts hadn’t really been hacked, as his daughter had “probably been in Australia recently checking her earnings” or something.

Roll with it. Look, I spent $30 on a wicked awesome travel guide, but I’ll bet you another $30 I didn’t even open it (I'd win that bet). I have no idea where I’m going. I probably won’t even know how to pronounce the names of the cities I’m traveling in until I get to them (here’s looking at you, Xi’an). Somehow, this will work out.

If you forgot it at home, you can buy it where you’re going. The exception to that rule is tampons with applicators in Southeast Asia. Repeat: Buy all the Tampax at your local CVS before touching down in Laos. You will thank me.

Getting lost is half the fun. Okay, so, at some point, you’re probably going to have to get from point A to point B and something is going to go terribly wrong. Don’t panic! What’s the worst that could happen? So you could end up sleeping in a “love hotel” (re: place where horny teens hang out) or “DVD Bang” (re: other place where horny teens hang out) in a far-flung Korean province because your friend (ahem, you know who you are) forgot to explain that the main subway route has two branches and now you’re trapped in a dark neighborhood and the metro has stopped running for the night and you don’t have a working cell phone. Channel your anger at your friend into bribing/charming a taxi driver. I mean, it’s not your friend’s fault anyway. You’re the idiot who didn’t properly read the subway map.

Pepto Bismol is your best friend. This wonder-drug has conquered the following foods: water buffalo soup, crispy fried tarantula legs, dog on a stick, dog in a soup, fish sauce, random leaves I wasn’t supposed to be eating, soju dumped in beer, spicy chicken anus, street food that most likely contained stray cat, a burger topped with ham and refried beans, green beans topped with tiny whole fish, pickled mango, crickets on a stick, Vietnamese iced coffee and copious amounts of chili oil. Wow, just thinking about all these things together is making me queasy.

Pack light. Dude, the only people who will know you wore the same pair of pants two weeks in a row are the people you’re traveling with. They’re probably doing the same (unless they showed up with a suitcase the size of a wild boar and now you want to murder them because it takes your whole group to wrangle their suitcase between hostels). If your thoroughly-used jeans are smelly because you went clubbing in them, don’t worry. There’s a bathroom sink and a store that carries detergent somewhere. Hint: Be sure to scrub like mad, because when detergent dries on clothes, it gives them the consistency of cardboard. Also, bleach and detergent bottles can look extremely similar if their labels aren’t in English, and I know you’re not going to want to party in ‘90s acid wash-style jeans.

Carry some crisp American bills. You never know when you have to bribe some guys with machine guns to cross the border into a semi-dangerous nation to avoid being trapped in another country on an expired Visa. (Also, don’t mention this adventure to your mother, okay?)

Fuck traveler’s checks. Basically, these are the most pointless thing ever, and you’re never going to use them.

Is your passport expired? Check that, like, 30 times. This helpful hint is in honor of my poor friend Kirin, who had to venture to Norway without her three siblings due to an expired passport debacle and then was nearly killed in an ill-fated fjord road trip from hell on the day of a bombing and mass shooting (unrelated to the road trip, but I sent her lots of obnoxious “are you okay?!” messages only to discover she was in the hospital due to a completely different catastrophe). I’m sorry Kirin. You win the worst-trip-ever contest.

You live in the United States of America. No matter how tired, dirty, or dehydrated you are, the dudes at customs are still going to make fun of you when you write that you’re from “America” on your customs form. “America” is not a country. Get your shit together.

Purchase a phone card when you arrive at your destination. Phone cards are the best thing ever, and much cheaper and usable if you don’t try to buy one in the U.S. And dude, I know your smart phone gets service, but five dollars a minute is not a reasonable price to pay for convenience. Seriously. I know from experience. (Although, picking up an ex’s phone call to say “I can't talk right now, I’m on a bus in rural Cambodia” was almost worth the five dollars.)

Book your accommodations beforehand. This sounds like common sense, but I'm going to be in Madrid on Saturday, and have booked no accommodations. To save face, whenever someone inquires as to where I'm staying, I shrug and tell them I forgot the name of the hostel. This trip is going to be awesome.**

Don't fall madly in love with a local, marry him/her, and become an ex-pat. I only include this because my mother has been repeating it to me like a broken record for two weeks. I find it troubling that this is the kind of mistake she thinks I'd make (if it, indeed, is a mistake. I think I'd quite like a sexy Spaniard for a spouse). However, mother dearest, I'm much more likely to A) get punched in the face by a lacrosse player, B) take up smoking banana leaf cigarettes, C) be offered services at the brothel I thought was a bar, D) teach prostitutes how to do the Macarena, or E) end up in Vietnamese hospital with an infected foot. (True story.)

**Luckily, the accommodation problem has been remedied by my much more organized travel companion. We are currently at the Way Hostel in Madrid, which is pretty freaking awesome, yo.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Halloween Party Awesomeness Litmus Test

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[This is basically all you need to accomplish an acceptable Halloween costume. Sad, but so, so true.]

Over the weekend, I spent 12 hours in my car just so I could party in Northern California for one night. You bet your ass it was epic.

Hence, a magazine-style quiz based on my one night in NorCal:

1. When you regain consciousness the morning after the party, you are A) still wearing false eyelashes and B) everything within a 30-foot radius is covered in glitter. Add 2 points.

2. You would get out of bed, but you have no sensation in your right foot. Rather than panic, you decide to “sleep this off.” Add 1 point.

3. You finally get up, and still can’t feel your right foot. Your toenails are all still intact (somewhat) but your right knee doesn’t work. No points awarded.

4. You take a shower lying down with a cup of coffee in your hand. Add 5 points if you don’t get shampoo in the coffee.

5. There is a trail of clothes leading from the front door, up the staircase, and to the bedroom, but you don’t remember how you got into your pajamas. They are on backwards. Add 3 points.

6. You discuss the evening’s events with your cohorts and discover that, collectively, y’all may have made out with a total of seven people, but nobody is certain if that count is accurate. Minus 3 points, because, well, ew.

7. You also realize you got a free ride back to your place with a foreigner wearing a gladiator outfit. Minus 5 points, because you are all idiots who are asking to be murdered. However, you refused to let him come into the house to “hang out,” and yelled “Access denied!” as you locked the front door, so add 4 points.

8. You and your best friend had a super clich├ęd chick moment at the club, and locked yourselves in the handicapped bathroom stall so you could talk about how “all men are assholes.” Minus 3 points.

9. You recall that your knee injury is the fault of a guy dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, who fell backwards off the stage you were dancing on (how delightfully skanky of you) and took you down with him. Add 2 points.

10. You acquired a stalker dressed as Will Ferrell’s character in “Semi-Pro” who tried to abduct you by dragging you out of the club to his car. You ran in the opposite direction like a track star in stilettos while screaming insults. Add 10 points.

11. You and your friends lose each other 15 minutes into the evening and don’t regroup until the lights in the club come on at 3 a.m. No points awarded.

12. You called 10 cab companies. You tried to leave angry voicemails. Add 1 point.

13. Wait. Did you do tequila shots at the expense of your rejected stalker? Add 3 points.

14. Within 20 minutes of entering the club, the bartender knows you by name and takes your order by giving you a thumbs up and winking. Add 5 points.

15. You walked up to a random guy with massive biceps and told him he was hot (you really couldn’t tell, with the lighting and all) and ran away before you could gauge his reaction. Minus 1 point.

16. You’re so drunk, you forget to make that promised drunk dial to your friend in Hawaii. Minus 2 points.

17. You wore a white bra under a low-cut black shirt (oh heavens) and because of the black light, it was your most notable attribute. Minus 3 points because your lame packing skills turned you into a hussy.

18. Your shirt was longer than everyone else’s dresses. Plus 3 points.

19. You eat leftover sushi at 4 a.m. while prostrate on the couch. Add 1 point.

20. You have to drive back to Southern California – a six hour journey – with a legendary hangover. You stay in the right lane so you will have easy access to the side of the road in case of vomiting. Minus 10 points.