Tank tries her hand at journalism

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A pic from TV reporting days. One of two good hair days in my life. The other was when I was in grade 12.

Okay. I’m going to pretend I’m a news reporter and no I don’t miss reporting. Or newsrooms. Or the people who manage newsrooms.

I’ve been assigned a story to write. About a personal experience (read: nightmare) someone had. Concerns a roommate who had to be endured for seven nights in very tight quarters. A roommate whose personality was creepy and unpredictable. A roommate who hadn’t heard of TMI.

These are facts to be included in the story. Includes quotes from roommate:

  • Roommate is rich. A business owner (for real, Tank fact checked). Possibly self made. Maybe divorce settlement money. Is no dummy, but so clueless and thoughtless.
  • Four times divorced. Married third husband at age 27. Has restraining order preventing fourth husband from contact. Apparently tried to kill her. Lives alone. Usually spends Christmas alone. Has full-time housekeeper.
  • A Stepford Wife. Wanders around in a trace-like state, clutching a cup of tea. Asks you a question. You answer it. Looks blankly at you. Then, re-asks the question. As if she didn’t hear your answer the first time she asked.
  • Spends $1500+ USD per month for injectable human growth hormone. Also takes hormone replacement and testosterone. “I have the body of a 35-year old.” Botox, restylane, juvederm. Puffy Lisa Rinna-esque lips. “I Brazilian wax.”
  • Has a “lifetime commitment” with a probably married travel-industry employee who lives in another city. Describes her beau as a spoiled, demanding whiny baby. When they fight he disappears for months. When he told her he hated her dogs she got rid of them.
  • Has adult children she said she didn’t really raise. For their own good. “I always had nannies.” Estranged from two step-children, whose childhood antics include laying down a sheet of gunpowder on the hardwood floor in the house. Then, lighting it. Then, ending up in hospital.
  • Has daughter in her early 40’s married to a pension-aged rich guy with adult children. Together, they have pre-school aged twins, “monsters who throw their toys in your face.”

“Surely Tank, you’re making up these facts,” you say.
TaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnk is NOT a fiction writer.

 

No bitching when dream trip a bust

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So, my long anticipated trip to the Galapagos in Ecuador didn’t go exactly as, well, anticipated.

What I didn’t expect turned out to be the highlight. What I had expected didn’t pan out.

To be clear, I’m grateful to be able to travel. Lucky too. Travel has enriched my life. I’m fortunate beyond belief.

I started planning my December 2016 trip in October 2015, when I put down a deposit on a seven night scuba dive trip aboard a yacht. A bucket-lister, take-money-out-of-savings kind of trip.

Long story short (for now – I’ll cover in more detail in the coming weeks), the diving was disappointing. I expected schools of hammerheads, sun fish, and marine iguanas. The Galapagos bills itself as the best diving in the world.

What I got was poor visibility (so not much to see) crazy strong currents (strong beyond what I’ve seen described in the marketing material) and laxity, in my opinion, in safe diving best practices.

I also could have done without Avianca failing to put my luggage on the plane on which I was travelling and having to wait two days for it to arrive. Note to self: pack a change of clothes in carry-on.

Still, the trip was marvellous for reasons I didn’t expect. San Cristobal, where I spent a few days before and after boarding the ship, was alive with critters. Sea lions everywhere, barking and being cute, marine iguanas, and grapsus crabs. Finches joined me for breakfast each day – enjoying as much of my meal as I did.

The people of San Cristobal were helpful and wonderful and I loved the food.

There were two other highlights: a shore visit to a tortoise reserve and our zodiac boat (aka panga) being surrounded by dolphins.

I won’t return to the Galapagos as a diver. Perhaps a land-based excursion next time. Because this really is an amazing place.

 

Tank’s Travels boorish traveller award of 2016 goes to….

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The teen beasts of Britannia.

Way to go England.

There’s no escaping these monsters. Rich, privileged British kids. Moaning, whining and eye-rolling in faraway destinations. Suffering the indignities of luxury travel and the shitty lifestyle to which they were born.

Exhibit A

San Cristobal Island, Ecuador. Hotel lounge. I’m seated about 15 feet away.

Teen boy. Looks to be 18 or 19. Bitching loudly about the grade he has received on a university quiz. A grade he has just accessed on his IPad.

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Here’s a sampling of what tumbled out of his foul mouth – barking as loudly as the sea lions nearby. “Fuck. Shit. It’s so much rubbish. Fuck. I worked so hard on this. Why did I only get 63 per cent?”

“Fuck, FUUUUUCK. The [instructor’s] notes said I didn’t reference properly, but I did.”

Of course, he did. Because vulgar, entitled little creeps are always right. Everyone else is stupid and wrong.

Knocks a glass off the table. Breaks it. Waits for a housekeeper to clean it up. No thanks/gracias/merci offered.

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The adult (mom/nanny/tour guide/servant) at the table stares into space.

British prime minister material in future Conservative government? Methinks so.

 

Exhibit B

Avianca flight. Business class. San Cristobal to Guayaquil, Ecuador. I’m many rows back, but close enough to observe and hear.  Plus, took a ‘walk’ during the flight in order to take the pic.

Two teens and their mother. She looks like a British pop star of yesteryear. Or a reality show star of today.

Spectacle begins with the boy. Seventeen or thereabouts. Wears a shirt sporting the logo of a luxury yacht for scuba diving based in the Galapagos. Where a seven-night excursion goes for roughly $5500 USD per person. This family surely isn’t flying on points.

Apparently, his aisle seat in BUSINESS CLASS is unsatisfactory. Refuses to sit down. The boarding process grids to a halt. He won’t get out of the way. Scans the cabin for a different seat. Mother repeatedly orders him to sit. He does, finally. And pouts.

Next, mom gets down to business with two IPhones and an IPad. Draws boxes and writes numbers on the barf bag. Keeps folding and unfolding the bag.

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Later, the teen daughter acts up. Refuses her meal. Then demands it a few minutes later. Once finished, she places her feet on the cabin wall. Right next to a sign – in English – asking passengers to keep their feet off the wall. Lovely.

Mom just keeps scribbling on the barf bag.

The majority of the people I encounter when I travel are well-behaved. The majority I interact with are smart, interesting and funny. I’m fortunate enough to keep in touch with some.

Then, there are the awful ones.

Congratulations to all the contestants for the Tank’s Travel’s boorish traveller of 2016 award.

Tanks Travels boorish traveller award for 2016 will soon be announced

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Montreal

Ah, December. That time of the year when Tank reflects on the horrid travellers she has encountered during the year. When it comes time to award Tank’s Travels most boorish traveller of the year.

Joy to the world. We’ve got amazing contestants this year.

Now, I’m kinda cheating here because it appeared on my other blog, Tanks View. But who could forget the night Tank travelled several blocks in her own neighbourhood to investigate the out-of-control rooftop party hosting at Bob Rennie’s art gallery? Wherein the so-called Condo King said eff you to residents of the area and city noise bylaws.

Since I’m cheating anyway, what about the lunatic drivers of Montreal who made my life as a tourist hell. Wherein Tank said eff you, she’ll take her travel dollars to another city in 2017.

I’m reposting the contestants stories in the next few weeks so you can get reacquainted with them.

The winner will be announced just before new years.

Enjoy.

PS: here’s last year’s (2015) winner. A potty-mouthed scuba diver in Cozumel.

Here’s some of the other contestants.

Countdown to Tank’s Travels boorish traveller of 2016 award

IMG_2264-2Where has the year gone? Can’t believe it’s getting near time to award Tank’s Travels boorish traveller of the year award for 2016.

We have some terrific contestants this year.

Who could forget the horrid people I had the misfortunate of encountering in gorgeous Palau.

Or Darrell, the Alberta drunk who tortured us with his barbarianism on a trip to Cuba.

I’ll be reposting the contestants stories in the next few weeks so you can become reacquainted with them.

The winner will be announced just before new years.

Enjoy.

PS: here’s last year’s winner. A potty-mouthed scuba diver in Cozumel.

 

 

 

 

Tankstravels.com most popular post is

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Like you, I wish it were the Puerto Vallarta bum crack guy. That was a memorable photo shoot, for sure. Or, the scuba diver who brought her stuffed animals on the dive boat in Cozumel.

Alas, it is this: My horror story with Zooom Electronics. A company that ripped me off. An Amazon.ca (amazon.com) merchant.

I hope the thousands of people who’ve read the posting have taken their business elsewhere.

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-8-32-42-pmThat’s right. THOUSANDS of hits since the posting appeared in December 2014.

Nearly 100 hits in 2014. 2600 hits in 2015. More than 4400 in 2016 and the year’s not up.

What’s even better? Where the posting sits on the Google search engine. Right below Zooom’s amazon website.

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Why post this now? Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that’s why.

Zooom counts on positive reviews because it makes the majority of its money on Cyber Monday. This is what a Zooom guy told me when he was trying to fix their first screw up – selling me an advertised camera they didn’t actually have in stock.

There are some great Black Friday-Cyber Monday deals out there. My hope is that you’ll find your deals anywhere other than Zooom Electronics.

Need an alternative? Try London Drugs. Had a not-so-great experience there turned into a positive earlier this year. So much that I’ve returned to London Drugs several times since to buy more gear for my Olympus mirrorless camera and GoPro. London Drugs has an online store, just like the retailer who ripped me off.

Finally, a postscript on Canon’s involvement in the fiasco. Canon Canada came through with a new housing to replace the one that leaked.

We must punish bad behaviour and promote the good merchants.

I’m launching a new website called SOLTERRIFIC. The first post has the word prophylactic in it. A good start, methinks.