Annoying traveller smackdown

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Okay, maybe I’m being a bitch. But, WTF is wrong with these people?

You’re on a plane for two hours. The flight crew gives you the Mexican travel documents at least an hour before the plane lands. The documents are in English. You’ve got plenty of time to fill them out before you get to the customs hall at your destination.

But no. You don’t bother.

Because, what’s better than being the centre of attention at the airport by holding up the other passengers from your flight at the customs lineup while, cluelessly standing there, you dig out your passport and boarding pass, ask around to borrow a pen and then set about filling in the travel documents who should have attended to on the plane.

Inconveniencing people means having power over them. Don’t it feel good?

These are the photos I snapped in the customs hall. Before the police officer instructed me to stop.

I had my documents ready and pushed past these folks. People can mess about all they like. Just don’t be a nuisance to the rest of us.

 

 

Tourist tantrums: pls stay home

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Being in the jungle on your parents’ tab is SO boring.

So there I am, in the Malaysian jungle. Getting to see orangutans, monkeys, crocs, pygmy elephants and more.

It’s spectacular.

Not everyone agrees apparently.

Case in point, this guy. Big yawn.

“I’ve seen enough of the jungle,” I overheard him moan to his parents, who I imagine were footing the bill for the creep’s trip here. This about two hours after he arrived.

Glad he only had to endure one night of pain and suffering in this horrid setting.

Poor phone reception made this guy pout.

Poor phone reception made this guy pout.

The blonde guy (right)  put his rudeness on display for even more people to witness in the resort’s dining area. His tantrum went something like this, “FUUUUUUUCK, I can’t hear you. Can’t get decent fucking reception here,” he bellowed into his mobile phone while stomping back and forth.

Who brings a mobile phone to the jungle and expects it to work the same way it would in London, Hong Kong or New York?

Tank hates to observe such first world suffering in this, still developing, country where people in the service industry work long days for a pittance, and get only a couple of days off a month to see their family members, who often live elsewhere. Hardworking people who have to endure rude, entitled tourists day after day after day.

So here’s some humanitarian advice: STAY HOME with your mobile phone and good reception, with your telly and crisps. Do NOT pollute your beautiful spirit with boring experiences in faraway lands.

Two more contestants for Tank’s Travels boorish traveller of the year.

Plummeting Canadian dollar = less #travel for this #scuba diver

This is the life.

This is the life. But, I still have to live and eat. Rising cost of living means less travel.

Met a Fort McMurray-based couple on a dive boat in Vancouver recently. Childless. In their 40s. They’d come to Vancouver to scuba dive (top-of-the-line scuba gear) and take in a concert (front row seats and backstage passes to meet the band). An extravagance that was quite a common occurrence for them. They worked hard in Alberta. They bought toys and travelled. When the conversation turned to the plummeting Canadian dollar against the USD, he said, “you can’t stop living just because it’s expensive.”

Okay. But, some of us have to cut back and prioritize when costs rise. Some thoughts on travel, my priorities and how I pay to play:

  • I rarely travel for work. When I do, it’s generally limited to B.C. Any blog postings you see refer to personal travel. To be clear, neither of my employers sends me on scuba diving trips and never will.
  • I work two union jobs. For parts of the year, that means working six days a week.
  • I choose to spend money on travelling instead of things. I’ve come to value experiences more than stuff. With a closet full of quality, well made clothes, boots and handbags, I don’t need any more. Once a committed Holt Renfrew shopper, I now buy the odd thing at Costco.
  • I limit restaurant meals. I bring lunch to work. I rarely buy booze.
  • When I don’t have to drive I walk, run or cycle places. I once ran to a medical appointment at a hospital to avoid paying for parking. The doctor insisted I walk home, though. I ride my bike to Spanish class each Monday night. Even in the pouring rain.
  • I rarely see movies or concerts and I’d never pay to meet the band. Unlike the fellow from Fort McMurray, I have no desire to take a selfie with Ace Frehley. I do free things, like ride my bike.
  • I get the difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’. I do, occasionally, mix them up. Can you say, “Venti non-fat latte”?
  • People I’m close with have suffered health problems in recent years. A good reminder we never know how much ‘good health’ time we have left.
  • Taxis? Almost never and only when a flight gets in very late at night. I usually take transit to and from Vancouver International Airport.
  • I have a credit card that gives me Aeroplan points and I charge just about everything. From Starbucks to car insurance. For Costco purchases, I use a card that gives me WestJet miles. Points add up quickly.
Going forward:
  • Until the Canadian dollar rises, I’ll be limiting the amount of travel I do in US dollars. That means cutting back on Mexico and Central America after completing the trips I’ve already booked for later this year. Was considering a month in Costa Rica in 2016 to study Spanish and scuba dive. Probably not going to happen.
  • Flying on points to Asia is looking more appealing. Fairly cheap once you get there. The trick with points is to book the flight when you see it. Don’t wait or it will be gone. This is the reason I had to pay for my flight this summer to Kuala Lumpur. And, the reason I’m diving in La Paz, Mexico instead of Roatan, Honduras in October.
  • I’ll be doing more local scuba diving and less foreign.
  • No more upgrading to business class. An extravagance I can no longer afford. I’m small and don’t need the leg room.

Packing sucks

I’ve written about keeping costs down during trips, with visits to supermarkets instead of restaurants, sleeping in airports and buying airline tickets many months in advance. I scored pretty inexpensive airplane seats to Cozumel for my annual trip in December. Booked them in February.

I’ll continue to take trips but not at the rate possible when the Canadian and US dollars were at par or close to par. This is not a hardship. I’m fortunate and grateful for what I have.

Don’t be this guy on #vacation

I’m very naughty. But, we must draw attention to these affronts to humanity.

I expect Santa will deliver a lump of coal to me at the Cozumel dive resort where I’ll be staying on Christmas morning. Or, Krampus will swoop down and carry me away in his sack…to another dive resort, I hope.

Here’s my holiday message. Please, don’t be this guy. Or, don’t let your man be this guy.

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This made my eyes bleed. The ugly side of travel.

 

 

Quick story about a travelling jerk, a bus + hot coffee

Where I first encountered jerk and company. Airport shuttle area, Bush airport in Houston, Texas

Where I first encountered jerk and company. Airport shuttle area at airport in Houston, Texas

My stats tell me Tank’s Travels readers LOVE a good story about the jerks I meet on the road.

Here’s one for which I have no photos. I’m sure the jerk would have punched my lights out if I’d attempted to capture him on camera.

No matter. You already know the type. Loud, overfed, red faced, entitlement complex, wearing a cheap straw hat purchased at his all-inclusive resort, quick to bitch and belittle others.

The New Jersey-bound jerk and his three companions (wife and two adults children, I think) had a layover in Houston, Texas, as I did.

We shared an airport shuttle to our separate hotels and back to the airport the next morning.

The bus was the typical airporter. A few seats and space for bags. Already seething over the amount of time I’d waited for the bus, I was in NO mood for idiots. But the ear-drum piercing volume of their voices made them unavoidable. That and the fact they spread themselves out, taking over most of the seating. That’s why they needed to bellow. That’s why I needed an extra strength Tylenol when I got to the hotel.

Justice was served up the next morning. We had an early start at 0600. When the bus pulled up to their hotel, they made us wait, while they loaded up on free food to bring on the bus.

Only the bus driver wouldn’t let them on with their food plates. Unable to pass up free grub, we waited some more while they stuffed their faces with food. Finally, they got on the bus with just their coffee cups.

Can you say “fucking incensed?”  Yup, they were pretty pissed at the driver and made a lot of noise about it.

Trying to make up time and possibly punish these horrible people, the driver hit the gas. This caused the jerk to spill his hot coffee into his crotch.

The end. The perfect ending.

 

@United Airlines DIDN’T fail me

United Airlines did good. I'm stunned.

United Airlines did good. I wasn’t dreaming.

Colour me STUNNED beyond belief.

A stupendously positive experience on United Airlines. On four flights. Could United have turned over a new leaf?

Tank’s Travels readers will know of my horrific past experiences with this airline. The only airline that has ever made me cry. (And, I am NOT an emotional girl).

Tank versus United Airlines

In August, I flew to Roatan, Honduras on United with short layovers in Houston, Texas. I can’t point to one thing in the four flights that irritated me. The planes were old but clean. The staff great. The flights left on time and arrived early. I did fly business class, having paid to upgrade. This definitely made some things easier and smoother.

Funny thing. I met and scuba dived during my trip with two United employees, a mechanic and a pilot. Both former Continental employees who were absorbed into United when Continental was bought out a few years ago.

One was highly critical of United, lambasting the airline for abysmal customer service. Ashamed to be working for an airline that caused so much misery among flyers, especially since Continental had such a terrific reputation for service.

My last eight flights with United have been screw up free. Has United Airlines turned a page? I hope so. I’ve got another four flights booked for later this year.

Best of Tank’s Travels – the 100th blog posting

Two milestones to observe.  One hundred blog postings and one year of travel blogging.

Thanks for reading Tank's Travels.

Thanks for reading Tank’s Travels.

Who knew I’d encounter enough batshit crazy people over 12 months to fill a minuscule nano-portion of cyberspace with travel stories and photos.

A special thanks to all the nutcases and genuinely great people I’ve met in the last year for supplying me with content.

Here are some stats:

  • My site has had more than 5,000 views.
  • My best ever days for views was December 16th, when I had 94 views.
  • Most of my views come from Canada and the U.S.
  • People find me through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Pinterest.
  • May 2014 was my best month ever for views. I had 394 visitors who looked at the site 823 times.
  • My most popular posting ever is This is what a jerk looks like, the story of an asshole on a Westjet flight between Vancouver and Edmonton in December 2013.

Other popular posts include:

Diving with Pandas, the story of a nutter who brought stuffed pandas on a scuba dive boat in Cozumel, Mexico.

Lost-ish at sea, how I got separated from my dive boat in Cozumel and lived to tell the tale.

Postings about cats have also been popular. Here are a few: Who can resist a mooching cat and The cats of Thailand.

What I’ve learned from travelling:

  • people are spectacularly annoying and others wonderful everywhere in the world.
  • there are a lot of adult babies on airplanes who make everyone’s life miserable.
  • being nice to flight attendants will often get you a free drink.
  • there’s no point getting pissed off about flight delays, your luggage not appearing fast enough at the carousel or bad weather.
  • airlines are going to trash your luggage.
  • United Airlines is the worst airline I continue to patronize. Air Canada is much improved. Its international and Rouge services are outstanding.
  • people in most other parts of the world speak more than one language. Some are fluent in several. Makes me feel inadequate.

Thanks for following Tank’s Travels and for the comments. Lots more adventures on the way.