Tag Archives: vacation

The time I took a fun-filled cruise to Haiti

Okay so this particular event has not occurred yet.

But it’s about to. Next week.

I know.

I KNOW.

I KNOW.

I swear to you this is true because I wouldn’t even make up something this perverse if it wasn’t. We’re going on a cruise to Jamaica and Haiti next week.  Haiti. Yeah, let it sink in —  Haiti.

But in my defense, I thought we were going to a luxurious “private island”, which is what they call it in the itinerary.  So the cruise line was trying to trick me and they totally did and then I bought the tickets and then my husband decided get all Christopher Columbus and wanted to know exactly where the “private island” was that we are sailing to. Yeah.  It’s Haiti.

But just so we’re all clear and I’m not throwing the esteemed cruise line under the bus, it isn’t the part of Haiti that is totally devastated.  It’s another part. The part where you’re apparently not supposed to think about death and destruction and destitution.  It’s the part where you can order lots of mai-tais and take pictures with parrots on your shoulder and have TONS o’ fun and fantasize about building a cute little compound right on the beach one day. And recommend it to all your family members. And the Internet.

Right.

Oh, I have so many jokes about how ridiculous this is, but I also have a heart and if I told them all I would feel bad about myself as a human being, perhaps even more than I do now for paying to go to Haiti next week on my one single romantic vacation with my man that we take away from our children every year.  And probably the last one we’ll ever taken given that three kids may get us officially kicked out of the grandparents babysitting club.

But anyway,  I wonder what excursions we’ll have to choose from? — STOP, Love. You promised.

Okay,  I said I wasn’t going to tell jokes. So I’m not. But you’re allowed to. But I mean, really?

Okay, so I’ll be gone for a while.  But I’ll write again when I get back from fucking Haiti.

Have a banner week!

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The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters – The Finale.

In this final episode, I eventually get to the part about my almost-murder by the drunk Australian wild boar hunters. Let’s recap:

I am too drunk to know to say “no” to participating in the “Outback Rainforest Adventure” during my visit to the Great Barrier Reef in Part I, then the tour guide rips off his clothes and goes swimming in a rainforest waterfall pool in an Australian flag Speedo and I get all hot and bothered by it in Part II, and that was just the first day of this whole unfortunate trip.

I really want to remember every last activity we did the whole three days because they all sucked in their own way and because I revel in complaining, and it would be fun to tell you all about them in detail. But I only remember the very worst moments.  So I’ll just have to stick to those for the finale of my Outback adventure tale.

Okay, so the second day starts and Dundee herds all of our hungover asses into the Outbackmobile (this is the new name for our vehicle – since I can’t really describe what it was) and he tells us that we’ll be leaving the rainforest and entering the Outback. I was delighted to be leaving the rainforest behind, because I thought my chances of survival were significantly greater the further we got from all of the poisonous small things that wanted to kill me in the rainforest. But I wasn’t sure about the whole Outback thing. The closest I had been to the Outback prior to this was the Steakhouse, which, let me tell you is as beautiful to me as Oprah herself. I mean, you can order thick, fat steaks and pick them up in a drive thru after 20 minutes? Fucking genius.

So I had high hopes for this thing they called the Outback. Perhaps there would be cute kangaroos throwing colorful boomerangs around that happy Aboriginals dot-painted especially for them. Oh, and an old Aboriginal dude playing the didgeridoo while the koalas sat in a tree unobtrusively eating leaves or sleeping. That would captivate me for about 5 minutes, which is a very long time for me, so it looked like a ray of sunshine was in my future.

That is not what the Outback is like.  The Outback is possibly the most boring landscape in the entire universe. I’m a Midwestern girl, so I thought soybean fields were about as boring as a landscape could get, but no. The Australian Outback is the worst. Even the desert beats the Outback, because it’s all mystical and stuff and there are cliffs and canyons for you to fall off of, so it packs in some drama too.

Not the Steakhouse

See what I mean?

So anyway, Dundee drives us into a landscape much like this one above and stopped the Outbackmobile in all of this nonsense and we had to go have a “look-see”. This is what Dundee called it when we were about to get out of the vehicle and wander around aimlessly. I hated look-sees. You would just walk around and get sweaty and look at dirt and a bush here and there and be like “wow. a fucking bush. awesome. where the fuck are the koalas I was led to believe Australia was rife with?” Dundee was animated. To him, this was all fucking awesome. Again, he was so like the Croc Hunter. He was jumping around with his machete bouncing up and down on his hip pointing out these huge ant hills and animatedly explaining how exactly the ants make them. He’d get down on his hands and knees and ogle the ants’ handiwork. I mean these things were about a foot or two off the ground, which is hella bigger than the ones you find on suburban sidewalks so I guess they were impressive compared to that, but they weren’t the fucking pyramids or anything. Dundee seemed to think they were the work of the gods.  Really? I mean, it’s a fucking two foot hill in the middle of nowhere. And plus, there aren’t any ants or termites or whatever crawling all over them, which was good, but creates too little drama to make me care.  I never got the five minutes of captivation I was so looking forward to.

So we had a day long look-see in the Outback and all we saw were these ant hills all over the place. And there was a little rocky hill thing we climbed too. And by “we”, I mean everybody else. It looked pointless to me. And maybe like it would cause me to sweat more than I was comfortable with. So I just sat at the bottom rolling my eyes and being annoying and scanning the horizon for killer koalas or at least some boxing kangaroos. No luck.

Okay, so then it starts getting dark and Dundee brings us back to the Outbackmobile and he declares that this is where we’ll camp tonight! Ummm – surely you jest? There aren’t any tents in the back of the mobile! How are we going to camp? Dundee informs me happily that we’re “sleeping under the stars – didn’t you read it in the brochure, Love?” No I didn’t fucking read it in the brochure.  I think we established if I had, I would be at a club chugging a Strongbow instead of in the middle of BFE with a Speedo-clad, machete-carrying, Steve Irwinesque tour guide.

And, even if I had read the brochure, aren’t there supposed to be tents? No. We were going to sleep in “swags”, which are kind of like sleeping bags, except instead of being soft and snuggly, they are made of heavy duty canvas and they are kind of shaped like coffins and you’re supposed to zip up your damn head inside them. And that is where I am supposed to fucking sleep. I mean, he didn’t even put a tarp down under the swag. It was like, unroll the swag and just put it on any dirty dusty spot and get in. Oh, and by the way, they don’t breathe at all, so get naked or you’ll probably sweat to death. The FUCK? Dundee was all about getting naked. And in places where a multitude of insects could claim any of your orifices as their own swag. Um. No thanks.

So this is where I have a little mental breakdown. There is no toilet. No shower. No bed. No alcohol. No McDonalds. Nobody, for miles, except us and Dundee. And I’m completely freaked out because I am sure that something or someone is going to attack me as I sleep. I mean, everybody knows that dingoes eat babies in Australia. So whats to stop them from trying to eat my arm? And how unnatural is it for people to just sleep outside under the stars? Are you kidding me? That’s the whole reason we fucking evolved – so that we could live in cool urban lofts with central air and skylights so we could see the stars in our temperature controlled, insect and psycho-free abodes. Why do so many people have such a huge problem with the great indoors?!  Who was going to keep me safe?!

Dundee’s machete. Thats who.  At least that was what he was telling me while I was on my knees screaming to God and tearing at my greasy hair. His machete was pretty big. And by now I was convinced he wasn’t going to kill me, though I was sure that he wanted to. Many times. He told me that he had some chocolate if I would just come back to the fire he built so we could have dinner and tell stories. It was blantantly clear I wasn’t the first hysterical woman he had talked off the ledge.  I was hungry. And I needed chocolate. So in tears, I returned to my friends and the British couple and we sat around a fire as Dundee cooked our dinner. I was still ruminating about how maybe I should spend more time sober so I wouldn’t agree to these insane “adventures” ever again, when suddenly from very far away, we saw headlights.  In the middle of the Outback. We were nowhere near a road. I thought that perhaps God had heard my prayer and sent Ed McMahon with an oversized check to deliver me from this hell. I started jumping up and down, elated. I was sure that I was being saved. It was the only logical explanation of what could be happening.

Dundee looked very concerned. That bastard wants to see me suffer, I told myself. He’s pissed Ed McMahon found me all the way out here. The tenacity of the Prize Patrol in this case was impressive. Those guys just wouldn’t be deterred once they found their winner, even though she is sitting in the middle of the fucking Outback. It was really very moving.  But, then again… We were kind of far away from civilization. And I didn’t know if satellite would reliably work that far away from civilization and it wasn’t really prime time in the US yet, so if they did it now most Americans would miss my glorious moment.  Plus, it would be really expensive to bring Ed’s makeup person all the way into the Outback. Maybe it wasn’t Ed.

The headlights were making zig zags all over the place, but seemed generally headed in our direction.  Now is a good time to remind you that at that time, cell phones came packed in briefcases and were used by about .8% of the population. We had no communication channels to civilization, so whatever was going to happen was going to happen without the benefit of 911. Dundee got up and started pacing. He told us to be quiet and not to talk to whoever it was and he then turned on the Outbackmobile and shined the headlights in the direction of the speeding vehicle that was barreling toward us, presumably so they wouldn’t run us over.

We started to panic a little. Our normally jovial Dundee broke out in a sweat. Apparently this part wasn’t in the brochure. Who the hell was in that car, and what the hell were they doing driving around in the Outback at night?  The headlights keep coming closer and we kind of all huddle together having no idea what to expect, but my hopes of it being the Prize Patrol were diminishing every second the lights came closer. No way Ed McMahon would drive that fast and erratically. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving.

Let me say it again. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving. Aw fuck. Lindsay Lohan was only 10 then. So who the hell was this?  The truck was upon us and our campfire within two minutes. Probably less. Dundee continued to pace nervously, and he took his machete off his belt in anticipation.  We did not have to wait long to find out who was driving. Two men, who I can only describe as extremely hillbilly-esque (they had no teeth – I swear to God), half rolled, half fell out of their jeep. But their messy dismount from the jeep did not affect their ability to hold their rifles.  At first they appeared to be very happy drunks.  They were laughing and wheezing and wanted to know who we were and what we were doing.  Dundee said we were having a look-see and camping.  He inquired about what they were doing.  I couldn’t understand a damn word they said, but I found out later they were looking for wild boars. They were wild boar hunters. Wild. Boar. Hunters.

Ummm….whaaat? Nobody said anything about the possibility of wild boar, let alone their hunters. They wanted to know if we had beer.  Believe me, fellas – if there were any beer, you would find it all coursing through my veins. Instead, I had more than my share of adrenaline flowing through them at that point.  Drunk hillbillies with guns scare me.

Two of my friends on the trip were from New York and LA, and they are whispering that we’re all going to die.  They were pretty sure that these guys were going to open fire at any moment.  I found it pretty ironic that the whole time we were in Australia, the Aussies would ask my friend from LA whether it was safe to go out on the streets in LA because of all of the drive by shootings. Hollywood makes LA look like the killing fields.  They thought Chicago was probably safe because the mob only killed everybody back during prohibition. We thought it was hysterical. But now the tables were turned and three chicks from LA, NYC and Chicago respectively were never more frightened than when faced with random drunk wild boar hunters.

You know how they say you get a “fight or flight” reflex in a situation like this? Now I know I’m a flight person. My goal was to get shot dead running away because there was no way in hell I was going to get myself raped by those two mother fuckers and then killed. Nope. I decided that I much preferred to get killed right away. I told my friends I’d take the first bullet. You know, for the team.

A heated argument seemed to erupt between Dundee and the hunters. They wanted to sit with us and be friends, but Dundee told them they weren’t really invited. Their initial joviality faded and then they seemed to be telling Dundee something along the lines of “Well see, we have guns and you only have a machete”. A pretty solid argument for how sloshed they were. But Dundee kept them talking and at a semi-safe distance from us.  Then one of my friends declared “They’ll kill Dundee first. And then they’ll rape us all and kill us. We’re so dead.” We looked at the guys we came with and asked them if they were going to stand for this. Like maybe they should back Dundee up or something. You know, act like men. They said the hell if they were going to get into the fray. Those guys were big, dumb, drunk and armed. I think their plan for escape was to run while we were getting raped. Pussies.

As Dundee and the hunters argued I was able to reframe the whole situation and kept thinking about whether it would be worse to be shot dead by these guys or to sleep under the stars in that coffin/swag thing. I was leaning toward the former (I seriously was) when suddenly the guys got back in their truck and peeled off into the night.  Wait. What? I was still alive and unraped? Whoa. That was heavy. Dundee came back and told us who they were and what they wanted. He wound up having to buy them off with some of our food. Good thing for me that Dundee was such a skilled negotiator, because if they had asked for one of the women,  I would’ve been the first one Dundee gave away.

I asked if maybe it would be best for us to drive to a hotel. Dundee said we’d be fine. Those guys weren’t coming back. Yeah, right. With all these naked coeds in swags? They’re totally coming back to rape us. I lobbied for us to forfeit our adventure and hightail it to Cairns. Dundee wouldn’t hear of it. He was back to his old self. Gleeful in my misery.

Eventually I had to get into the swag. But first I had a few questions for Dundee:

What if it rains? It won’t rain.

It doesn’t rain here? What if a pack of wild boar comes? No worries.

What about all those ants that built those big pyramid things? There won’t be many insects. Just get in. And take your clothes off or you’ll die of heat.

The hell if I was going to get naked. I had never had crabs and hell if I was going to get them from a “night under the stars” in a cheap swag in the Australian Outback.  I zipped myself in and the gross BO smell was overwhelming, and as promised, it was hot as hell, so I opened it just a little for some air. And I fell asleep.

Only to be awakened in the early hours of the next day by a very large drop of water which fell on my forehead. The fuck? And then another one.

“DO. NOT. TELL ME IT IS. RAINING. ON MY HEAD.” I said this as loudly as humanly possible, without having it turn into a shriek.  Oh yes. It was raining. My declaration woke the rest of the group.  I quickly unzipped the swag to sit up and start bitching more, when my eyes focused on two, no three, no FOOURRR!!! ant-like things that were bigger than a baby’s arm crawling on top of my swag. “HO-LY-SHIIIIIT!”

“I hate it here! I hate Australia! I hate you, Dundee! This is ridiculous. Get me the fuck out of here! You said it didn’t rain? What the fuck is it doing right now? We almost get shot last night and now there is some sort of fucking flash flood in the Outback and these fucking ants want to eat me. I HATE YOOOOUUUU! I hate this! ALL of this! I have never been more miserable in my entire life!” (If this story ever gets made into a movie, only Meryl could handle this complex character. Only she has the power to accurately convey the powerful rawness and the depth of my soul at that poignant moment.)

Dundee shrugged and smiled and said that we should fold our swags up and get in the Outbackmobile.  He was going to take us to a horse farm, then an Aboriginal village and then we were going to a pub. And then we were going back to Cairns. You know when you are fighting for your life, like you fall into any icy river, and your body conserves all the blood and gives it to your heart and lungs and brain and you have this intense focus to stay alive? Thankfully that is what happened to me in that very moment! My survival instincts finally kicked in and my brain focused on the word “pub” and I lived. Thank God Almighty. I lived.

It rained all morning.

The horse farm? Smelled like shit. Like I suppose most horse farms do.

The aboriginal village? Um, it was like going to the projects. We got to hang out with people who hate white people for ruining everything for them and then making them paint boomerangs and didgeridoos so that they could get some money from us so they could use the money to go back to being drunk again.  Awesome.

The pub? Glorious. And I kicked Dundee’s ass at darts. It felt good to be back in my element.

And then we got on with the rest of our vacation. And I lived to tell the tale.

SO…now you know what not to do in Australia.

You’re welcome.

I totally need more homo friends

I had a totally bitchin’ weekend. It was the 11th annual Women Introxicated from Now On, Sucka (a.k.a. WINOS) weekend.  This year’s conference was in Denver. The WINOS consist of five women who met our junior year of college and permanently damaged our livers studied together in Fremantle, Western Australia. Every year we ditch the husbands and kids and try to relive our past Australian glory.  And we usually have a great time even if the hangovers get worse every year.  But in all of WINO history, we’ve  A) never been mistaken for undercover cops or B) had the pleasure of having a homo (I think I’m allowed to say that since he refers lovingly to himself this way) join us or C) had to blow up a queen size air mattress manually. MANUALLY. It was so delightful.

Lets discuss point A first. We booked a last minute mid-size rental car from Priceline for $81. When we went to pick up the car we passed several respectable, newer looking rental cars and SUVs.  When we got to our assigned stall number we were a little shocked, to say the least, to see a very large, blue Grand fucking Marquis, straight out of Magnum PI.  I have included a picture here, since if you are reading my blog you probably have no idea what that is because you likely weren’t a cop in the 80’s.  Apparently FBI agents and Budget Rental still buys these bad ass mother fuckers and gladly assigns them to women on the one damn weekend all year long we find a way to escape from our “real” lives and live like we’re still childless and single and don’t require Spanx to hold in our muffin tops.  I was really hoping for a Prius or at least a fucking sweet minivan, but no. We got the Grand fucking Marquis – a car longer than two football fields and uglier than Courtney Love after a binge.  We named her Lucille.

The bitchin wheels you imagine for your girls weekend

The bitchin wheels you imagine for your girls weekend

On the bright side, what better way to start off a girls weekend with the most fucking ridiculous car in the world, perhaps the universe?  I laughed so hard at this injustice I peed a little bit in my pants. But it was easy to clean off the Grand Marquis’ pimpin’ leather seats with some of the Kleenex that came complementary in a matching blue box in the backseat window.  To all the ladies planning your own bling girls getaway I highly, highly recommend you roll in this kind of awesomeness.

But now I’ll get to the really good part — lets talk about our new Gay.  Tori Spelling has her gays and Kathy Griffin has hers and now the WINOS have ours. Well, not gays plural. Gay singular for now, but I’m sure that one gay will eventually beget many gays.  The WINOS rented out a corporate apartment for the weekend that came with a concierge. And that concierge was named Thomas. And Thomas is gay. And he is. a. RIOT.

So we all fly into Denver from our respective cities and we pick up Lucille and we get to our place around 1:30 and thats when we meet Thomas.  He introduces himself and its very, very clear by his dress, his mannerisms, his hair, the way he talks, and the fact that tells us he is a homo, that he is gay.  So we ask him where we should go for lunch. He tells us that he was just going down the street to get a sandwich and tells us we should come with him. So we do.  And it isn’t really clear whether he is going to get a sandwich and go back to work or what, but we get there its a sit down type of place, so not to be awkward, we ask him to join us.  And we thought he probably wouldn’t because why would a young gay dude want to sit down and have lunch with some thirty something suburban moms he has met 2 minutes before that haven’t seen each other for a year? But Thomas was all about it.  And it was the best lunch ever.

The WINOS and our Gay covered a variety of topics over sandwiches and $2 mimosas & bloody Marys, including midget porn, southern baptists, Oprah, our kids, my career, Thomas’ ex-boyfriend that cheated on him with two guys and a girl and revealed this to him via Facebook IM and then claimed he was just kidding, Thomas’ twin sister who is a lesbian and likes to tell him the details of her sex life (here is why I believe in the Law of Attraction. Ask and you shall receive), Thomas’ issues regarding the fact he had to ride out 11 more months of his lease with the aforementioned ex-boyfriend who also lost his keys and now they are sharing a single set of keys for their apartment they can’t get out of, democrats, stalkers, college majors, local beers, Texas, and Colorado politics.  Ah, Thomas. Glorious Thomas.  We paid for Thomas’ lunch.  It was the best $12 we split 5 ways ever. Ever.

So then we all go back to our place and Thomas hooks us up with spas and restaurants and fun gay bars we should go to. We did all of those things except for the latter.  I’ve never been to a gay bar, but I didn’t want my first foray to one to occur while I was in mom jeans. Truth be told, I don’t think I want a foray of any kind to occur while in mom jeans, but I packed the wrong ones. What can I say? The next day after we returned from the spa, he told us all about the show down he and his ex had the night before and all the juicy details as if we’re all total BFFs.  I wanted to gather him up and take him home so he could amuse me with tales of his 22 year old gay sex life.  But alas, we had to leave him in Denver.  I miss you already, my dear Thomas, and my first Gay I can call my own.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell the story of the air mattress. Or two. But its kind of long and I’m getting bored, but lets just say that the ass clown who managed the apartments was supposed to furnish an extra bed. He isn’t much of a planner, so at about 11pm he brings over a queen size air mattress and doesn’t spring for the pump. How long do you think it took 5 women to blow up an entire fucking queen air mattress? I don’t know either – we told him to get off his ass and buy us a pump. We’ll see you on Trip Advisor, fuck face.

Anyway, to Denver, Lucille and Thomas, and the queen air mattress that we were supposed to blow up with our own drunk lungs, thanks for the laughs. We shall never forget you.