Friday, December 9, 2011

The Trip From Hell (complete with pictures)

Okay, so about five weeks ago, another assistant and I went on a 15-day vacation, because we could! And here’s everything that happened. Complete with pictures! And the way to make sure you have the best vacation possible. We went to Reims, pronounced reighnss in English (purple), Barcelona, Spain (blue), Perpignan, France (brown), Narbonne, France (orange), Carcasonne, France (green), Toulouse, France (pink), and Albi, France (yellow).

The Perfect Vacation Checklist:

  • ð        Get really sick
  • ð        Then get Really REALLY sick and feel like you’re dying
  • ð        Go to bed at 10 p.m. for three nights and miss all the fun
  • ð        Run to Luxembourg for the day – spend hours shopping
  • ð        Spend 25 hours on trains (not consecutively – but over a period of 12 days where you have to lug your suitcases up and down flights of stairs to get to the platforms…. (Hey France, ever heard of escalators?)
  • ð        Throw out things in the middle of the airport because your bags are too heavy (Fuckin Ryan Air)
  • ð        End up paying to check a bag anyway after you already threw things out
  • ð        Feel like your head is going to explode during landing and having to push on your ears so your brain doesn’t leak out
  • ð        Stay in a hostel where people wake you up every five seconds and they serve microwave pizza for dinner
  • ð        Go out and party and get lost on the way back to the hostel
  • ð        Get lost
  • ð        Eat lots
  • ð        Don’t speak the language, get shitty directions
  • ð        Get lost some more
  • ð        Stumble upon something really cool
  • ð        Take lots of pictures (see below) 
  • ð        Get lost
  • ð        Go to zoo
  • ð        Eat tapas (see right above) 
  • ð        Sleep 4 hours a night
  • ð        Continue to get sicker
  • ð        Don’t plan the trip ahead of time and realize two days before you’re supposed to move on to your next destination that it’s going to cost about $1,000 to do the rest of what you’d wanted.
  • ð        Feel like you’re stranded in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language
  • ð        Spend 15 hours trying to make your travel companion plan something
  • ð        Stay up all night – not partying  
  • ð        Make some food
  • ð        Eat
  • ð        Go to train station to leave country – OOPS, train tickets we bought online – invalid. Argue in a language you don’t speak, pay lots of money for new train tickets.
  • ð        Get on train and run away from Spain
  • ð        Get back to France – where you speak the language, and still get lost going to your hotel
  • ð        Barely avoid dog shit every three steps
  • ð        Rename the town you’re in from Perpignan to Poopignan
  • ð        Get to beautiful hotel, on the river, next to a castle – and get a room with a view of neither
  • ð         Walk to McDonalds and buy lots of deserts
  • ð        Pig out and stay in
  • ð        Get up, go exploring, eat
  • ð        Visit some random places
  • ð        Get bored
  • ð        Shop
  • ð        Hang out in hotel again
  • ð        Get up, get on yet another train to Narbonne
  • ð        Get really, really lost trying to find hotel – have directions to center of town, find out hotel is way the hell OUTSIDE of town – Rename Narbonne to Notbonne (bonne means good in French)
  • ð        Stumble across part of the original roman road that Hannibal the Conqueror used
  • ð        Go to tourist office, wait for it to open. Get directions to hotel.
  • ð        Get off the bus, in the wrong spot, because the intern at the tourist office was a moron
  • ð        Wait 40 minutes at the bus stop, get harassed repeatedly
  • ð        Laugh hysterically at the bullshit
  • ð        Get back on the bus
  • ð        Get off the bus at the right stop
  • ð        Climb a mountain to get to the hotel – no, this is not an exaggeration, we were in the Pyrenees Mountains  
  • ð        Stand in lobby unable to get into the locked doors of the hotel
  • ð        Call the emergency number
  • ð        Get into hotel, climb back down the mountain, go into town
  • ð        See some cool stuff – spend part of Halloween in underground Roman marketplace complete with soundtrack
  • ð        Buy Halloween costumes at GiFi
  • ð        Go back to hotel, sleep, get ready for the kickenist Halloween party in Notbonne

  • ð        Realize hotel for next night is way the hell out of town – make new reservations for hotel across the street from train station
  • ð        Get harassed by guys in car wearing mask on way to Club
  • ð        Get to club – only ones there – free cover charge
  • ð        Realize the place is all decked out and friken HUGE – decide maybe we’ll have a good time after all
  • ð        Get free drinks
  • ð        Dance in an empty club
  • ð        Dance in a full club
  • ð        Get more free drinks
  • ð        See same idiots from car – ignore them
  • ð        Get free drinks
  • ð        Injure yourself pole dancing
  • ð        Stumble back toward hotel
  • ð        Get lost
  • ð        Find beach ball
  • ð        Try to sit on said beach ball and fall on your ass
  • ð        Find hotel
  • ð        Can’t get into room
  • ð        Call emergency number
  • ð        Try again – success
  • ð        Sleep
  • ð        Get up, take CAB to train station, leave Not-too-bad-bonne for Carcasonne
  • ð        Feel really ill
  • ð        Feel worse – self-inflicted pole dancing injury causes muscle spasms in neck and shoulders
  • ð        Whine
  • ð        Realize you’re out of muscle relaxers
  • ð        Whine some more
  • ð        Go to a kickass old city fort/castle – and be unable to look upwards to take any pictures or see it

  • ð        Go back to hotel – sleep fitfully
  • ð        Wake up – still in pain – go across the street to train station – get later train
  • ð        Go back to sleep
  • ð        Get up, find pharmacy, buy muscle relaxers OTC, sans prescription, because France is AWESOME
  • ð        Less pain – kind of drunk and stumbly
  • ð        Get on train to Toulouse
  • ð        Take cab to hotel – CREPPY front desk man, weird hotel
  • ð        Don’t check bed for bedbugs
  • ð        Leave – go exploring, get lost, have ice cream
  • ð        Go on waste of life 2 hour boat tour that’s boring as all hell and horrible
  • ð         Go back to hotel
  • ð        Sleep
  • ð        Wake up covered in bedbug bites
  • ð        Freak out!
  • ð        Leave for Albi – start writing new book on train (National Novel Writing Month has already begun)
  • ð        Have lunch in hotel restaurant, go to Toulouse museum (not in Toulouse of course, but in Albi)
  • ð        Find some cool things, go back to hotel, write
  • ð        Eat, drink, sleep
  • ð        Wake up looking like you have the chicken pox because your face is covered in bites
  • ð        Get on another train
  • ð        Get off train, wait in train station restaurant
  • ð        Get on another train

ð        Get to La Rochelle
ð        Wait for bus
ð        Get home, strip naked in front yard, run into house.
ð        Take shower and de-bedbug all items before bringing them into the house – vacuum everything that can’t be washed, bag everything that can and leave it sitting in front lawn
Well, there you have it folks – my wonderful three week trip!
Despite everything you’ve read here, there was lots of good food, sangria, friends, laughter and an all around semi-descent time, though the week that followed of boiling and freezing my clothes and turning everything very interesting colors in 90 degree Celsius water was soo much FUN! 


  1. So . . . it sounds like you had a good time, at least that's what I got from it (minus the dog shit and getting lost and harassment and self-inflicted pole-dancing injury and bedbugs). :-)

  2. Well, it was one of those situations where you either laughed, cried, or committed homicide - I chose to laugh ;-p