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.

 

 

 

 

Butts on #Cuban beaches

I love Cuban beaches. Keep them beautiful.

I love Cuban beaches. Keep them beautiful.

I know, I’ve made cracks about butts before. This rant is different.

Cuba is about to become a popular destination with Americans. As they’re going to find out, the beaches are amazing.

Turquoise warm water, white sand. Clean. Well, mostly clean.

The resort employees work incredibly hard to keep places shipshape. You won’t find harder working or kinder people anywhere.

The dog hating tourist …

But, the beaches are public in Cuba (and had better stay that way). Some of the tourists who presently visit them are, well, pigs.

The Cuban cat …

I’ll take a sunburned butt crack over a cigar butt in the sand any day.

To be clear, this isn’t Cubans fouling the beaches with cigar butts. It’s tourists.

Bay of Pigs? Bay of Crabs more like …

The beach is NOT an ashtray or butt receptacle.

The beach is NOT an ashtray or butt receptacle.

I could scream.

I could scream.

Whomever left this here is a jerk.

Whomever left this here is a jerk.

 

Here’s my plea to future visitors. Smoke Cuban cigars. Lots of them. They’re the best. When you buy them, you’re putting money into the Cuban economy. That’s a good thing for Cuban families. But DO NOT, for one second, think that it is okay to taint, sully, soil or stain Cuba’s marvellous beaches.

I’ll be visiting Cuba later this year and I’ll be checking.

Tank’s Travels 2014 in review: a year of kooks, boors + crabs

Thanks for reading Tank's Travels. There's more to come in 2015.

Thanks for reading Tank’s Travels. There’s more to come in 2015.

The universe blessed me with another year of kooks and ill-mannered travellers in 2014. Plus, a few great animal stories. I’m grateful for the content.

Because we live on a planet full of fools, idiots and irritating people who travel, there are many more adventures in my future. Can’t wait.

Here are a few memorable postings from 2014.

Best experience: Had a ‘moment’ with a Nassau Grouper in Roatan, Honduras. Going back in March 2015 in the hope of reconnecting with this special friend.

My boyfriend. The Nassau Grouper.

Runner up: Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see a whale shark in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Maybe it took a wrong turn. An amazing surprise.

Best travel deal: Roatan, Honduras. Great diving and inexpensive.

Best food: Cosmo in Montreal, Quebec. The signature dish, the Mish Mash, is to die for. And, with thousands of calories per serving, it will kill you. Going back for more in May 2015.

My mini Mishmash. YUMMY.

My mini Mishmash. YUMMY.

Biggest jerk: When coffee meets crotch. Karma at work.

Honourable mention: Think the airline lounges attract quality people? Thank again. These folks in the United Airlines lounge were barbarians.

Rudeness in the United Airlines lounge.

Most popular posting of the year: The rude, loud-mouth I really wanted to punch.

Most fun writing: Mr. Caracas visits Mexico.

Poster boy for Fruit of the Loom?

Weirdest thing: Watching a parasailor almost die. Dumb way to kill yourself.

Runner up: Really Fidel? Cuba’s crabs follow me to the can.

Honourable mention: The weird racist t-shirt guy introduces himself to Tank. Hilarious.

Click on the link in the story to see what the shirt said.

Click on the link in the story to see what the shirt said.

Can’t a girl even go to the can in peace?

Thanks for reading. Happy New Year.

Have dementia will travel – kudos to @aircanada

Nice old guy in the wheelchair well taken care of by Air Canada. (at Varadero Airport, Cuba)

Nice old guy in the wheelchair well taken care of by Air Canada. (at Varadero Airport, Cuba)

Whatever you think about Air Canada, airline staff went above and beyond the call of duty with this guy.

Departing Varadero, I noticed a man waiting in a wheelchair to be taken aboard our flight to Toronto.

Turns out he was seated on the plane next to friends of mine, one a geriatric nurse, who later told me his story.

Seems the man, a northern B.C. resident in his mid-80s and with memory problems, had been staying alone at an all-inclusive resort in Cuba for the entire winter. The cost was something in the $25k Canadian range.

Hotel staff made sure he got his meals, found his way back to his room and ensured he got to the airport on departure day.

A family member would be picking him up at this final destination. That meant three flights and two connections through busy airports, Toronto and Vancouver.

How, we all wondered, would this man find his way to his departure gates? Our overnight Toronto layover required us to claim our luggage, leave the secured area and check back in five hours later. Surely, we thought, he couldn’t handle this amount of airport navigation on his own, since it was a challenge to us. What would happen to him? Would he make or miss the Vancouver flight?

Well, Air Canada to the rescue. At several points, we noticed staff pushing him in his wheelchair and whisking him to where he needed to be through special-access doors. In the end, he made it to the departure gate before we did.

Nice one Air Canada.

 

 

Learning Spanish: you’ve been warned Latin America

Just wait til I get to modulo 10.

Just wait til I get to modulo 10.

Not sure what’s worse.

My speaking English in a Spanish-speaking country or my butchering Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country.

The good folks of Honduras and Mexico will soon find out.

Prepare Latin America. Your amiga is now an estudiante de Espanol.

Been preparing for in-class instruction by doing daily courses on my IPad on Duolingo (free app) and Babbel ($20 or so for three months).

Consequently, I’m not the dumbest person – for once – in my language course at UBC.

Why am I trying to learn Spanish at my advanced age? Especially when I failed to master even basic French although I was born in Quebec, had extensive french education in school, attended French immersion school and lived in French Canada until I was early 15.

Because this time will be different. I really, really want to learn Spanish (I think).

Thing is, I travel to Spanish-speaking countries frequently to scuba dive. I’m embarrassed I can’t converse in Spanish. Spanish-speakers are forced to speak to me in English in their country. Kinda disrespectful of me, don’t ya think?

Although the Spanish words ‘margarita’ and ‘por favor’ have served me well, it’s time to learn a few more.

 

Who can resist a mooching #cat?

My dinner companion. We/she enjoyed the prawns.

My other dinner companion. We/she enjoyed the prawns.

Not me, apparently.

This very sweet – and very finicky cat – joined me for dinner in Varadero, Cuba.

She began her patrol of the occupied tables the nanosecond we sat down in the restaurant.

Smart kitty.

Can’t remember what the appetizer was. Some kind of non-fishy protein.

She refused it. What nerve.

Entree or nothing for this fussy, young feline.

She ate well that night. Prawns from me and Beef Wellington from the folks at the next table.

But with a face like that, who could refuse her?

This cat has got life figured out.