For a number of years now, I have spent Christmas day either on a plane or in a non-Christian country. I find this entertaining; it causes my mother no end of aggravation. Last year was an exception, in that yeah, my bro and I ditched her early xmas morning (love you, Jarrod!), but we did manage to get ourselves to a severely Catholic country… Guatemala. Yes, yes, land of Mayans and murders. And people burned alive with flaming car tires. And drugs, and corruption, and blah blah blah. Turns out it’s also the land of “cheap way to get out of the States on Xmas day”, haha!
So we leave at like, 8am? Vomit. And have both managed to get upgraded to first class (yes, I am that travel whore who refuses to use miles for free flights cause I need to earn miles to get Gold Elite. Anyone out there wanna donate? I need Platinum??). So clearly we go to the Elite lounge in Cleveland airport. I mean, it’s xmas! Get on the plane, not sitting together and, unbeknownst to each other, order double bloody mary’s. cause it’s xmas! And they’re free! I almost feel bad for the older lady next to me, until hers arrives first. She nicely switches seats for us, and it is ON. By the time we connect in IAH,
[[Side Note: I seriously love Houston’s airport. Not just cause I live here, but cause it’s AMAZING. Especially in comparison to:
Nina’s Top 5 Most-Hated God-Awful Airports from Hell
5) Venice Treviso. Not cause it’s all that bad, mainly cause I tried to take the local bus there from downtown Venice, which took like, 2 fucking hours, ended up missing my flight (goddam RyanAir) and generally just hated everything in life.
4) London Luton. Not cause it’s all that bad, mainly cause I was flying WizzAir, who I DETEST, and because it turns out I really don’t like staying up all night to catch a 3am bus to luton (which I missed) for a 5am flight (which I almost missed), for which I had to stand in a line of people, and I’m NOT fucking kidding, who were holding livestock. IN ENGLAND.
3) Atlanta. Not cause it’s all that bad (although it really bloody is), but cause the day I decided to fly through was that day in 2005 when that dude shot a judge downtown and fled, forcing an airport closure that was technically termed “weather”. Weather my ass, and damned if I didn’t have to spent the night in ATL and NOT go to France. I’m severely anti-death penalty, but I kinda hope they caught and executed that guy.
2) CDG. Clearly enough said.
1) Madrid Barajas. This occurred like, months ago, and I can hardly bring myself to speak of it. Let’s just say, if I pay 40 goddam Euros to take a Spanish toll road, I expect it to be a road. I also expect an airport to be an airport, not 4 whole airports in no general proximity to each other, with ET décor straight out of Close Encounters and not one person willing to sell me a road map.]]
visit another Elite lounge, fly to Guatemala City, and land, the old people behind us are so drunk-ass we consider helping them to a cab and / or asking them to stop making out. Instead we head into town. The plan was to get a cab to the bus station (the nice one. For tourists. We’re not that weak, I swear, but G City sounds sketch and it’s like, 20 hours to Flores to see the ruins of Tikal, and I’d thought it might be nice to have things like… lights. or AC), sit there till it left, sleep on the night bus, and then culture ourselves. Given this blog’s title, it’s clear that’s not what happened.
So it turns out that, unlike most religious people on xmas (or maybe quite like them?) Guatemalans do not use this day to celebrate God, hang with family, or in any other way better themselves. They use it to get shit-canned in the middle of the road. They bring their children and old people. They do it determinedly, and with no class. I totally approve. We were told in no uncertain terms by the very nice guatemalan dude who sold us our bus pass to go THAT way and NOT up there. So we wandered where he’d suggested, found us a nice bar and some cock beer (Gallo, claro), and started in on our liters of delicious liquid. By “nice”, just btw, I mean a condemned shit-hole. At one point the dude who was passed out on the table in the corner stood up, dropped trou, and pissed on the floor. My Spanish being what it is (no bueno, en todo), we let him be. Our nonchalance in no way deterred the owner’s small child from screaming bloody murder about it. All finished and pleased, he went back to drooling on himself, and we went searching for bus supplies. $4 later, we had a liter of Guatemalan vodka (please don’t let the Russians see this, they’d cry if they had tasted it…) and a 2L of fanta. I love vodka fanta 🙂
I feel we spent like, 8 hours in this town? Quien puede decir. There was definitely amazing unidentified street food eaten in a gutter, numerous fireworks shot way too close to my head for my comfort, some dancing with drunk drunk strangers, and more beer.
Finally made it onto our bus, completely sloshed by now, and decided to be good and like, play cards or something. Sadly, I have never encountered a Guatemalan bus with interior lighting. It being like, 9pm, and pitch black, we decided to drink our vodka. All of it. Which we accomplished. Loudly.
—3am, interior of a darkened Guatemalan “luxury bus”:
Jballs: stop giggling. People are sleeping.
Me: but you’re so good at pouring that stuff on these crazy roads!
Jballs: it’s cause you bought me these awesome non-breakable wine glasses!
Me: that’s true, I am quite amazing…
Jballs: here, have some more vodka-fanta. Giggle Giggle
Me: shut up! You’re so fucking loud!
Both: repeat. And again.
—4:45am, somewhere in deepest Guatemala, darkened road, unmoving bus:
Me: fuck, wake up, we’re here.
Jballs: fuck, what? Can’t be. Sound of snoring
Me: fuck. Ok. Yo, tuk-tuk driver man! take us to a hotel.
Tuk-tuk dude: claro. Es cinqo dollares Americano.
Jballs: fuck you, tuk-tuk man, that is a NO BUENO.
Nina: fuck both of you, I need bed.
—4:47am, approximately 500m from origination of tuk-tuk ride:
Tuk-tuk dude: esta aqui.
Jballs and Me: fucking seriously?? Ok, fine.
It should be noted, if you are ever in Flores, Guatemala, this town is adorable. It also has approximately 9,386 absolutely charming and reasonably priced hotels. Instead, we stayed at the White House. This is the only time I have ever left a place for potential fear of bug beds, and I swear to god I have actually stayed in that place where Leo slept in The Beach. We made it till 10am and ran away crying.
And that is why you should always go to Guatemala for Christmas.
One thought on “Nina’s Travel Rule #3: Christmas Time is for Hanging Out With Strangers”
You forgot the guy who got up and moved cause we were whispering SO LOUDLY that we should be more quiet…. although I forgot about the Guatemalan dudes who REALLY wanted to take you home with them!
PS the other woman with the Bloody Mary was a lesbian Harley biker, and EVERYONE in first class ordered drinks after they saw us get ours.
Enjoyment level = 8 that when I talk in your stories, I talk like you and not me…. yet in real life, we talk exactly the same.