Archive for the ‘America’ Category

Strangers On A Train

I was travelling back from DC yesterday, taking the Greenbelt to catch up with Ray. It’s the start of rush hour and the seats are getting filled. An African-American lady sits next to me and she wears a really nice hat.

We start-up a conversation, initially about her hat then she tells me about her 15-year-old daughter and how she is looking for colleges for her.  We have a great chat between the train stops, I learn about her life  through her wonderful high voice.  She tells me she was 35 when she had her daughter.

So I ask her how can she be 50? Firstly she is amazed I was able to do the maths. So I tell her, genuinely, that she looks in her late 30s. I swear to God I truly believed this.

She looks at me then bursts into tears. She then hugs me over and over, thanking me for the compliment and telling me that I was the most wonderful person in the world and that I had made her day and I was wonderful…..

She kept crying and hugging me; fortunately we reached her stop almost immediately after the outburst of joy. She thanks me and tells me I have made her week.

I am a bit rattled. I am used to spontaneous expressions of emotion at work however never had such an encounter on a train.  And I am secretly pleased.

I will never meet her again yet some fat, balding australian tourist was able to make her cry with joy. All by being honest.

The wonderful thing of travel is though tiny, silly unexpected moments that you will never forget till you die. That was really sweet.


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Return of the Kill Shot

Following last year’s visit to the shooting range, I wanted to return again this year with Ray to see if I still had my skillz.

Yep. Still do.

Despite my arm being completely annoying due to the tennis elbow, I still managed to get serious aiming in.  In fact, I could see really well.  Ray and I were discussing this target. See the absolute dead centre kill shot…

Well Ray was arguing that I was off centre and I could see I had a total bullseye. I pulled up the target and yep, deader than a dead thing.

The spooky thing is how good I am it. Also how I get off on the smell and taste of the gunpowder, the thrill of the shooting. Only one other event excited me last week.

I was much better with the Magnum than the Ruger, which has a kick (the larger holes on the target.) I’ve decided in honour of that to grow a huge great Tom Selleck moustache. It will go with my gun.

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Following last year’s successful merging of our blogs (more successful for me than him really – I got way more hits), The Brad and I had a further team up last night. (And apologies to the regular readers that I am jumping around chronologically in the blog, I have loads more about to Charlotte and getting here to Maryland to post.) The Brad is so up to date though and has already posted his write-up here.

So The Brad and I headed to Outback Steakhouse for, he said giggling behind his hand, a genuine Australian meal. Now while the decor was not as evil as I was expecting (for indeed I have been here where my eyes bled)

(Can I just mention in my efforts to keep up with The Brad I  am writing this in Ray’s car heading towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  I am rocking all over the place cos Ray likes his speed. )

The menu at Outback, of course, was delightfully inane. Their speciality is a ‘Bloomin’ Onion” which is carved fried onion that you peel off the petals of the onion and place it in some sauce.  It was pretty but I’ve never seen one in Australia. Nor have I seen cheesy chips (fries with cheese on top…bleh) anywhere other than England.  We didn’t have either of these though.  In fact we had kookaburra wings (chicken wings) and The Brad had some Mahi  Mahi (a type of fish) and I had a Melbourne Steak which allegedly is a “really tasty porterhouse”. But, in actual fact, was a really sinewy T-bone that was impossible to eat. I had to get Brad to look away each time I took a mouthful of sinew and had to spit it out.

The Brad is fun company. We discussed the world’s problems and then some. We had our requisite Doctor Who discussion and, now that I’ve seen it, the Curse of the Black Spot was complete plop, Brad.

Then we got kind of deep. We had this fascinating discussion on evil in the world and how sin is responsible for this. As a Anglican with a low to moderate knowledge of the Bible versus the Religious Education Teacher  who knows his stuff backwards, it was Daniel versus goliath all over again.  I considered it a tie (well I thought it was a tie and Brad would be too polite to disagree with me.). I was impressed.  With the quality of the conversation and the fact that we could agree to disagree on some topics without killing each other.

I  left him with homework which I hope he does. I was worried I was overwhelming him with my religious questions, I didn’t want to seem like I was one of his student nor that meeting me was a continuation of work, which is always a pain. Again he was polite and said that my questions were far more… cant remember the word but let’s say intense… hehe.. than his students.  Yay me, dinner with intensity. Poor bastard.

Fortunately the meal and the waitress were far more impressive than our last visit.  We had pictures taken together in front of this scary ass three-dimensional map of Australia.  If you believe the map, where I live has a giant wheat sheaf cutter standing on top of my capital city.

I was appalled at how fat I looked in my picture (silk purse and sows ear… my personal trainer is going to have a fit) so asked this very kind lady to take a picture of us in front of the outback sign. She was a bit challenged, shall we say, as to taking pictures. We were in the frame but, God love her, so was half of Maryland.

The night was incredibly pleasant. I had fun. Brad had fun (I think.) We get together again next year to discuss which of us was right with our Doctor Who theories. The genius thing about meeting new people is what they teach you. And finally, The Brad gave me a nugget of wisdom I will take to my grave.  I was complaining that everywhere I went I took the sun with me, despite my desperate need to be rained upon.  Brad asked if I had read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and was referring to this quote:

“And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and water him.”
Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide)

Now, through the power of The Brad, I realise I am a Sun God and the bloody sun is worshipping me by keeping me away from the rain and snow and cold and all the things I would much rather.  I am sure this could be marketable….

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I attended the AIDS Walk Charlotte 2011 run by RAIN (Regional AIDS Interfaith Network) this morning. I’ve attended a few AIDS and HIV awareness walks and benefits over far too many years, including RAIN’s own Gay Bingo last year.

We started early meeting a the Gateway Village Atrium which is a lovely open space in (I’m guessing) downtown Charlotte. It was here that the first of a few concerns started to hit me. The first being that hardly anyone was there.  Dont get me  wrong, there were loads of very enthusiastic volunteers, including Wesley, who had been there since the crack of dawn to make sure the event went well.  However, in terms of walkers, there was maybe (and, again, I guess as I don’t have the complete numbers yet) 1500 people. In a town as big as Charlotte (pop roughly a million plus) with an extremely large gay population (way more than similarly sized Adelaide) this was a pitiful number. The weather was beautiful. No excuses there.

The next thing that I noticed was the speaker system was inadequate for the venue. Perhaps people closer to the front heard what people were saying but the speakers where I stood allowed only white noise. I had no idea, from what people were saying, about the event. A minor complaint but a fair one.

The walk started, described as a 2 mile walk “through historic Fourth Ward in memory of those who have finished their journey.” (Quote taken from the official website).  And the walk was when I got really, really, really mad.  I am not sure what historic Fourth Ward is however the walk I took encouragingly started off heading towards the city proper then took a sharp left turn away from the city centre and walked past some neighbourhood houses (no one there), some closed shops (no one there), a factory (no one there), a cemetery (no one alive there), a bridge and some trees.  Then we were back at Gateway. By which time I was furious.

In the entire two-mile walk, with the exception of the police who had blocked the roads and the very few cars (three cars I counted – that’s three drivers!) impeded by the walk, no one saw us.  NO-ONE!!!! We rose awareness to some trees and a bridge. I was embarrassed and angry at this route. When I suggested to my friends walking that this was infuriating I was told we  need to “take small steps to awareness.” “This is Charlotte.” “It takes time.” You know what though.


Charlotte, as far as I can tell (and Wesley who devotes his life to the treatment of HIV and AIDS clients, will confirm for me) is a beautiful city with a population of roughly a million, 8000 of whom are infected with HIV.  6600 know they are infected.  The infection rates continues to rise. Risk of infection and awareness of decreasing this does not occur by having a walk which literally screams we are embarrassed for our existence. Even assuming the walk was diverted to the back streets of Charlotte for the sake of traffic remains a pitiful excuse. I have not been in a city that needs more education and awareness of decreasing risk of HIV than Charlotte.  To then have the major network of support (presumably) acquiesce to whatever pressures are imposed on them to not allow them to walk proudly through the streets of Charlotte and actually RAISE AWARENESS of the disease and prevention is so, so, so sad.

I have never been in a walk that was so depressing. Not because of the illness we were supporting but the embarrassment with which it seemed to be held.

Another final thing, if anyone from RAIN actually reads this. AIDS and HIV awareness has moved forward all over the world in acknowledgement of the fact that the disease is no longer a death sentence, that people with HIV lead wonderful, fulfilling LONG lives with the benefit of adherence to treatment and todays improved medication regimes.  As such HIV and AIDS benefits I have attended over the world now focus on the positives of the disease rather than focussing on the (truly tragic) deaths that preceded the increased medical support.  To this end they have changed their names from AIDS to HIV, emphasising the hope of the disease and the positive lives people now lead with the illness. Some names other cities are now using are: Walk for Life – Finding the Cure, Hike for Hope, Hike for HIV, etc. I found this event still looking backwards, if I am honest.

If by chance you read this, please consider moving forward with your focus. There is still time to honour the dead however today should be about celebrating the lives and continued health of people living with HIV.  AIDS no longer equals death. It means life with illness, like diabetes, or epilepsy… I humbly suggest your message should emphasise that now.

And you should walk proudly. No more in the shadows. Next time I do the walk for you I want people to see me.

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First year on. Apologies for not doing this yesterday. That’s impressive really, mark the first year of the blog by missing a day. Life got extremely in the way yesterday. Then I stupidly deleted all the work I had done for this blog anyway. No more time for excuses. Onward.

So first anniversary retrospective introspection navel gazing, as promised.

I am in a particularly introspective mood so apologies for what follows (I’m not sure what it will be, to be honest.) 

I suppose I measure how popular a particular post is by the hits it gets on any given day (roughly between 30 -50 on average), the number of comments it generates (take a bow my three regular mad, much-loved commentors) or the number of emails I get privately telling me how much someone enjoyed a particular post. As I have said I have been flabbergasted by some posts that I put out in pure desperation and then take on a life of its own. eg:

 The Surprises


This went mental at the time. I wrote it in a hurry as I had nothing better to say. People loved it. I got so many emails (not the most, mind you. The most I ever got was about my toilet habits) telling me how funny they thought it was. It generated a couple of sequels, such was its popularity. It also has me eavesdropping everywhere for funny things to write in the blog.


Another throwaway idea that struck gold. People loved the idea of superstitions. I had loads of mails telling me of all the odd superstitions people believed. Fortunately, without even that help, my Gran had millions that I will be able to milk for the blog.

Doctor Who

I probably should have known this would have been big. Doctor Who is a huge success and it was reflected in the spike in interest the blog experienced as a result. it was tempting to milk that as well however other things came up that were far more interesting to other people. And you know where I’m going there. I am going to the Doctor Who Experience in London though, so expect a return to the delights of Doctor Who exhibitions before June.

The Sad


This makes me cry whenever I read it. I doubt you would have the same response as it is one of those “had to be there” moments. Still, included as it makes me weepy and it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. heh

Come Out

Whereas I had more mail about this post, where people told me they were genuinely moved to tears by my words, than … well… ever. I am not sure if it was recounting my crappy coming out experience or people responding to my understanding of some people’s need to stay in the closet for the moment but this touched people. Lots of lovely emails thanking me for this one. The response to this post was genuinely lovely.

The Funny


Who would have thought that Cadbury,over whom I have dedicated much of my life in orgasmic rapture , would treat me so badly when I needed them most. That trip has gone into legend in the family and I am now not allowed to pick anywhere to go for field trips. As such I am going to Manchester United Football Club (who cares) and the Battleship museum (who cares) due to Cadbury being such a dog box.

Sad Person

This was the first post I had written which I genuinely found funny. I can still read it and chuckle to myself. I am tempted to return to Cardiff this time armed with flowers to lay at the shrine. I will ensure my visit is video taped and my wailing heard for miles around. On the other hand, maybe not, cos the Doctor Who Exhibition has closed there. Seems only half a trip this time.


I   don’t think this is necessarily funny per se. Though I must confess meeting Sandy the snack food Goddess was one  of the highlights of the last trip. What I find funny, still to the point of tears, was Wesley’s comment here, in relation to the Twinkies.  He remains on my list and will pay. Oh how he will pay.

The Intriguing


The notion of eating kangaroo generated a load of interest from outside my usual readers. Clearly the idea of eating Australian cuisine is something I  should explore more often as it struck a chord. Having said that I can’t think of  Australian cuisine other than damper  that I have eaten recently. I guess I could pretend I have eaten crocodile in the last week but, as I am living on optifast, that seems cruel to everyone, especially my tummy. Consider the idea on the back burner….


I had forgotten this occurred, which is a shame as it remains a remarkably sweet moment in my life. It’s lovely when young people think you’re amazing and aren’t quite grown up enough yet to know you’re full of something less amazing. This was one of those moments. I hope to see Saul again when I return in a few weeks. Hopefully  he hasn’t grown up too much to see through me.


This was the moment the blog took off, riding purely on Mr Royuk’s coattails. I still remain irritated by the server that night which is an indication to me that I need to move on. Meeting the Bradster was quite delightful even if the night was amazingly loud. Next time we ARE going to the Outback Steakhouse. I even have the address. Keep May free Brad. On the strength of that one post, my stats went from a measly ten people a day to a much more respectable number. For a hit whore such as myself, this was incredibly helpful as I was starting to despair at how few people were reading. That, it would appear, people have continued to read this gives me great joy.

Queer Eye

Ahhhhhh my makeover. The last time I got  a haircut too, so doubly important. (Evidently I am sooooooooooooo close to 10 kgs…)  I still remain in shock when I see myself in something other than a blue shirt. Four months later and I still do a double take in the mirror. As a result of that experience my laundry bill has skyrocketed, I have layers which I look at fondly and pray for colder weather so I can wear them again (though I should be well layered in Europe); I am fastidious about attacking my nose and ear hair. I remain patiently waiting for Wesley to come decorate my house. This is, after all, only fair. He owes me for the Twinkie remark.


Simply put. Best morning ever. One of those remember all your days moments.

The Top Three

The most popular blog posts; in terms of emails and hits and comments, last year. And if you had asked me at the beginning of the year, I could have predicated none of them.  Completely out of the left field, the lot of them. I do not know what it says about my readership or my writing or what… all I know is that these three were PHENOMENAL. So in reverse order then…


I know! I don’t get it either. Who knew. The debate about the pronunciation of a word became my first genuine steamroller. People went mental. I got abusive emails telling me the American (Wesley’s) pronunciation was correct, I got email telling me the English (my) pronunciation was correct ( which obviously I believed).  Ultimately it was never really resolved, though equally obviously it is pronounced MahCrahMay.  That people became so obsessive over it was really fascinating. I had loads of hits over that blog. And Wesley still mispronounces it, which saddens me. (Twinkies……)


This was a runaway train. I still get people writing to me telling me it’s the funniest thing they have read. I love the fact people laughed so much at it. It makes the incident of urinating in front of the Queen slightly more bearable. Slightly. I still have to face her again at some point. What I didn’t mention in that blog, as at the time I was mortified by the whole experience, was that in the process of failing at urination I got myself literally soaked with urine. Literally the front of my pants were sodden. Thank God it is the style to wear your shirt outside of our pants as this made the wet patch less notable though I remained appalled that everyone could smell it. Then the Queen takes me to her study to show me her books all the while my pants are wet and I am desperately trying to leave and yet show a respectable amount of politeness. I was beside myself with embarrassment.

I seem to have many days that live in family infamy.

And finally, no one predicted this one.


There is a throwaway line in this blog , about my eye cancer (by the way, do you know when I have an appointment to get that checked. June 6th!!! and this is with private cover!!! JW better be wrong. Back to the story), that mentions Wesley’s desire to circumcise me. This was taken  further in the comments of this blog and mentioned occasionally over the next week. Well more than occasionally. The thing is, there was method is my madness. Whenever I mentioned it, or it got mentioned in the comments, my stats would skyrocket. Literally quintuple. It got so I would mention it off the cuff to see if the same phenomena occurred (which it did.)

Personally I have found the whole experience really funny. The comments about my being circumcised are some of the funniest ever (and if you do not read the comments you miss out on so much wonderful stuff) and there is clearly an audience that I have inadvertently tapped into. It is completely fascinating. I have spookily moved from my mindset of ‘no way re circumcision’ to ‘maybe I should let Wesley doit ‘ which makes me laugh and laugh at the things I would do to amuse my audience. Thank god they are not into immolation.

Circumcision week is coming. Bring popcorn.

I may make t shirts with that as a motto.

So that was long-winded wasn’t it. Thank you, as ever, for coming here and reading this silly little thing. Hopefully you will continue to do so over the next year. I am off to Europe in five weeks so things will pick up in terms of amusing, non circumcision, content.

Look forward to seeing you here.

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Remember this. This was massive, a completely unexpected hit. I eavesdropped on conversations of random people as they went about their business at the Adelaide Royal Show. Up until  my adventures in American Bathrooms, I never received so much fan mail.

I did the same thing as I hobbled through Disney. It was as equally an eye opener. Honestly, in some ways, being there on your own was superb.

Presenting snippets of conversations from the great American Public at the centre of kitschness, Disneyland and Disneyland California.

“OHMIGOD it’s Goofy!!!!!!!!!!!”  Said by a 47-year-old lady who should know better. However she was topped by:

“OHMIGODDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!! It’s Mickey Mouse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Said by mid forties woman who then begins to cry! “I’ve always wanted to meet him. Do you think he saw me???” (!!!!)

Actually the number of Ohmigods its….. got embarrassing after a while. (Children saying it do not count. I am talking the adults.) I mean, seriously people, these are men in costumes….

While waiting in line for the Peter Pan ride: Husband “Do you think the kids will be tired enough after today that we can… you know?!” Wife (looking at husband incredulously) “Look at my face, Steven. Is this the face of someone who is in the mood for that sh**?”  To be fair, she did look tired. And yay, Steven. Go, stamina boy!

“Mother, you are always neurotic. This is why no-one likes you” Said by 13-year-old daughter whom I wanted to slap.

“Daddy, when is Mommy coming? It’s better with Mommy.” Through clenched teeth, Daddy replies: “Mommy is still asleep in the motel, Michael. Today was Mommy’s day to be sensible.”

Actually its funny as I reflect on this the number of parents I saw who looked like they were about to go postal.

To me: “Can you take a picture of us?” (A dad, and his family, in front of a Disney Christmas tableau.) “It’s going to be our Christmas card if you do a good job. If you don’t well Christmas is going to suck this year.”  (SERIOUSLY, he said this to me. Seriously!!! I mean, no pressure – I took multiple pictures of him and his family and tiny Tim and hoped for the best. My strategy with taking pictures is to take fifty, knowing only one will be good. 1-50 ratio. Good odds.

“This is gonna totally suck” – Teenage meltdown outside of the Disney parade. To be fair, it did.

“Mother, if you don’t buy me this hat I am going to kill myself right here in this store. Do you want that, Mother? Do you? Do you?” Another child in need of slapping.

“I cannot BELIEVE It’s A Small World is closed?!!!” (It was, for Christmas refurbishment) “My life is just ruined now” – 9 year old, future drama queen in the making and your go-to man  when  a natural disaster occurs.

“I’ve never trusted Winnie the Pooh.” – 56-year-old woman, needing a life.

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The crowds were magnificently manageable. With a few exceptions, most rides were walk on and off-able.  Any you had to wait for, there was the Single rider pass so every ride that I wanted to do I finished within the first day.

It was unseasonably hot while I was there. 100 plus which was mad, even for California. I didn’t bring shorts. I got blood blisters within the first day and spent the rest of the time literally hobbling everywhere. I was a pathetic sight. Had they been legally allowed to do it I am sure Disney would have swept me up with the rest of the rubbish as my wincing as I walked was putting off the little kiddies.

As it was so hot, rides where you got wet (Grizzly River Run; Splash Mountain) or were allowed to sit down in the aircon (Soarin’ Over California) were major draws.

Soarin’ Over California is a ride where you, ostensibly,sit in a hang glider and are taken up into the air in front of a huge IMAX screen and scenes of California’s beauty are shown to you as you ‘fly’ past. I am sure I was the only one who appreciated the irony of this; no one else seemed to think it was mad to go to a theme park about California in California. All Soarin’ did was make me wish I was at the places they were showing me, ie where the mountains were real not polystyrene.

The park is in two sections; the Disneyland Park itself and Disneyland California which super appeals to my kitschness by having mini representations of the Golden Gate Bridge etc. California is becoming the Home of Pixar, with rides featuring A Bug’s Life; Toy Story; Cars… No one cares about Ratatouille.

The Bugs Life theatre (It’s Tough To Be A Bug) is very cutely themed with  posters of previous “shows” on display prior to entering the 3D Film.  At the same time, music from the shows plays while you wait, as sung by insects. Thus you hear “Hello Dung Lovers” from ‘The Sting and I’; “Beauty and the Bees”, “Tomorrow” from ‘Antie’; “One” from ‘A Cockroach Line’.  It’s actually cuter than the show. Had my laptop worked I’d show you some of the posters which were equally cute.

After five o’clock, there was no one in the park at some points. I was walking straight onto rides. This, in Disney terms, is Mecca.

Food and drink are notoriously overpriced at the park. I ate a hamburger in Tomorrowland while I watched a Star Wars Jedi Training live exhibition. As I am not a Star Wars fan I thought this was an odd blend of Disney and Lucas (plus the show was lame but perhaps not if you are ten). It made me more bemused that Harry Potter went to Universal as it is a much better fit into Disney. (This is the type of crap you ponder when you are sitting down watching rubbish and your feet are killing you.)

The best thrill ride in California is California Screamin’ I didn’t feel the need to ride it twice. It was only average. As I was riding it I was thanking my mad parents for their lust for thrill rides, the more thrills the better. I’d been spoilt. Unless you drop me 10000 feet then do seven inversions, don’t bother. There are no thrill rides in Disneyland itself though the Matterhorn was probably one when it started. The Matterhorn was so sweet I filmed the entire ride as I rode it (Curse you broken laptop)

As I have mentioned before, the Haunted Mansion (which is always cool) was rethemed to be Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion, raising its coolness factor by a million. I rode it three times, all the time taking blurry pictures. Pirates of the Caribbean had also been rethemed to include Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow (less good but Pirates is always gold.)

Disney Princesses have taken over the park. There is a shop called the Bibbity-Bobbity-Boutique where little girls can be made up by professional hairdressers and make up artists to look like their favourite princess. This has the unfortunate habit of making the kids look like they are about to enter kiddie beauty pageants (ie 4 going on 40)  but the kids themselves were loving it.

There is also a Disneyland Princess Fantasy Faire where you can line up and meet your favourite Disney Princess. This was mental. The only place that had a significant line up (90 minutes!!!). I had intended to get some Princess pics for my team leader’s sister, a lady with Downs who LOVES the princesses. However, firstly, 90 minutes to wait to take a picture was not my idea of fun. Secondly being a single man with no children in sight and going up to these cast members and saying ‘Can I take your picture please” seemed kind of creepy.

I did get a fabulous picture of Snow White which I will share down the track. It  is hysterical.

Speaking of long waits, the one ride that also had a significant line was the Autopia ride ( a ride left over from the 50s where you drive a car along a track.) This seemed to have a huge lineup, not just of kids wanting to ‘drive’ but adults reliving their childhood. It was a nostalgia blast.

Had I not been crippled I would have enjoyed the parks more. I love me my kitsch as you know. I also bought my nieces two princess dresses which FILLED my suitcase and made me curse Disney princesses for the rest of the trip.

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The Happiest Place on Earth

There’s a reason for that.

The cast member had no idea why I thought this was hysterical nor why I would want to take a picture of this. If you’re not familiar, look here to see why this tickled me.

(And no criticism of the blurry pic. Best I could do….)

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OK time to catch up. Sorry for the eclectic and chronologically challenged series of posts that you are about to endure. I wanted to finish off the holiday posts ( I have about fifteen) of events I did while I was away. Forgive the scattiness; it’s time to play catch up.

After a brief sojourn in  Disney I caught the Red Eye to Charlotte. The trip is 4 and half hours there (5 and a half going back) and I foolishly figured no one would be on the plane. Wrong. The flight was full, full, full.  I couldn’t work out why anyone would want to catch such a late flight until I returned. Sleeping through it is the only way to make it tolerable ( unless you’re not in cattle class).  Having said that I scored some major wins. Firstly, I was sat at the front of the plane on the bulkhead so more leg room and, secondly, I was sat next to the smallest lady in the world. She was so small it was as though there was no-one sitting next to me. Brilliant.

US airlines make you pay to carry luggage so, as a consequence, everyone brings on (very full) carry-on luggage (which does not incur a fee.). I have not been on a flight in the US yet that hasn’t had delays caused by there not being enough room for the overhead luggage. Seriously. It is insanely annoying. The idea being that, if there is not enough room for your carry-on luggage, they will store it underneath for you without charge. As such,  everyone does this. Consequently flights never leave on time as they are always sorting out the fricking luggage. It seems a false economy to me. And US flights are always full. Always. And cramped.

What is fascinating is that you are allowed to bring your pets on board (ie in the cabin) as long as they are small enough to fit under the seat. A person had brought their dog on board (and seriously, the dog was fine. I didn’t even realise he was there) and the lady who would sit next to it was having a major hissy fit that she was allergic and couldn’t sit there. (Now bear in mind I had no idea dogs were allowed on board and thought she was referring to the passenger. I was amazed at her brassiness.) She was dressed in a poncho and had bling galore and (bless her) was a Give me a P, Give me a D of epic proportions. It was her drama and she was going to star in it. People around her offered to swap seats with her however, no, she was having this seat and nothing else. It was brilliant. She was screaming her head off and the entire plane had stopped talking and were holding their breath so as not to miss the next moment of the drama. Bloody genius!

In the end, they kicked her off the plane. I was expecting complete drama but, sadly for the blog, she went as meek as a lamb. The plane took off  late and arrived on time, thanks to some lucky wind. When I got to Charlotte I nipped into the toilet prior to meeting Wesley and Trey and got dressed into my suit. Thus, after a 4 and half hour red-eye with everyone looking like they had been dragged through the bush backwards, I arrived to the boys looking like a million dollars.You should have seen their faces.  Criticise my dress sense, you bastards…. That’ll learn ya.

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Nobody’s Business

If you have been following my posts then you know that, in a first for me, yesterday’s blog ended on cliff hanger and I had been upgraded to Business Class on a Qantas flight from LAX to Sydney. This trip is 14 and half hours long and one of the longest non stop flights you can take. Thus, in terms of time spent in business class, it doesn’t get better (or longer) than this.

In terms of my flying history, the best I have flown is Premium Economy when I flew to the UK earlier in the year. I have no idea if I was upgraded as compensation for the botched job USAirways had done with processing my bags and charging me unnecessarily however I am sure that wasn’t a coincidence. Either way, nice job, Qantas. Cheered me up no end.

So thoughts on Business Class.

Essentially you sit in a chair not unlike a cocoon. This chair has the capacity to recline completely so that you can lie horizontally and, very cleverly, your feet lie under the hollow of the chair in front of you. What I did find annoying was that noone explained how to use the chair (or an instruction manual) and it was hit and miss for me as I mashed the buttons on the console, eventually reclining the chair  and expecting at any moment to hit the ejector button.

My singular complaint ( and, in a case of beggars cannot be choosers, I am not complaining at all) was that I was sat in the middle of the cabin, between two people I did not know. I prefer to sit on the aisle if at all possible as you then do not have to wake people if you need to get up etc. As such, when the people are in sleep mode you either wake them up to get over them or do acrobatics. A minor complaint. Another annoyance was the person I was sat next to whom, as far as I could tell, was a New York skank but perhaps had some type of celebrity about her as the stewards were all falling over themselves to attend to her. I honestly could not work out why unless she is some renowned fag hag. As far as I could tell, her uniqueness lay in the fact she wore a neckerchief, had a New Yawk Accent (that grated as she went on and on and on about herself to her friend across the aisle – things I discovered: Doesn’t like to go on blind dates as people are boring to her; her friends “just don’t know her well enough”; she flies often and finds people boring; most people don’t “get her” and they are boring – I was desperately trying to find where you plug-in the headset so I could not get her either) and was quite self obsessed. Bless her.

In Business you have the option of when you want to be fed. Had I chose so, I could have gone to sleep immediately on the plane and have them wake me during the night with my meal. Equally you fill in a card for breakfast, indicating what you want (there were six options for a hot meal and, had you wanted, could have had all six. I also suspect the food is cooked at the time of serving (breakfast for example had scrambled eggs that appeared freshly made) however I’m not sure. In terms of the food, for dinner I had a salad (which was lack lustre), a fillet of beef, potato escalopes and broccolini which was pleasant and a chocolate marscapone cheesecake (also nice). The quantity of food was slightly more than premium economy and served on better crockery. For breakfast I had the BEST muesli in the world (and this is from someone who doesn’t care particularly for muesli – I think it was this.) There was a hot meal of scrambled eggs, tomato casserole (not its name but they take the card away from you so I am guessing) , potato mash (again had a fancier name) and sausages (got the name right there). I suspect some of it may have been freshly prepared; if not, it was reheated very well.

To sleep, everyone was given a pair of pyjamas with 90 Qantas written on them. Lots of people took advantage of this. There was a travel bag as well that I collected intending to keep however think I left it on the plane. Evidently it has the usual suspects of eye masks and ear plugs plus some skin care products and toothpaste. Don’t know cos I have no idea where it is. I am sure it is lovely.

So, thus far, the chairs are superb (albeit need a bit more padding – why are they so skimpy on the padding?), how were the toilets, I hear you ask? I am sure I was the only one but I wanted to get into the toilets early on so as to take a picture of its sparkling Business Class loveliness before it became less sparkling. Well, sad to say, it was a MASSIVE disappointment. That may be my fault, not it’s, as I had visions of fountains and wash basins of gold and a vast expanse between the fountain and the toilet. Sadly no. It was another why-are-you-so-small closet. Absolutely no difference between that and economy. Small, cramped and nasty. (An aside: how the HELL do people join the mile high club???? I guessed the only way they could do it was that Business and First Class had superb toilets that allowed two people to be in the same room. Business certainly doesn’t and I’ve yet to try First Class (hint, Qantas, hint). Unless someone perches on the toilet I can not see how they could all fit in there let alone have sex. I am happy to be shown but I insist you buy me a drink first. End, aside.)

So all in all it was a very pleasant journey. I did actually sleep a substantial portion (maybe 6 hours) and was awake for more. Interestingly the entertainment options in business class were less than in Economy and Premium Economy (perhaps they feel they don’t need to have as much as people are more able to sleep?) As such, I watched the first episode of the eleventh Doctor three times (man, Amy annoys me.) They only had one episode of Glee. (shame!)

Good fun. Great experience. Even better cos it was received at the end of a really crappy day. Cheers for that, Qantas.

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