A nervous fever had taken ahold of me, creeping up from the depths of my abdomen, with each second of the clock ticking past, the closer I was to approaching my home country. It was the first time I’d be stepping foot on U.S. soil in nearly eight months. I could hear the wheels shuttering to ascend beneath me, as the nose of the plane began to gradually point forward toward the ground. The uneasy feeling of my short layover was reaching frantic paramount. I nervously tapped my feet on the ground, fumbling one hand around the other, while stopping briefly to obsessively check my phone for the time. My heart sank when the time seemed to start passing faster than I even thought possible – before I knew it, the plane was 25-minutes late. Eventually, we landed, taxying to the designated stop, and the flight attendant unlocked the doors, waving me through before the others, since she knew of my situation.
I feel that it’s important to start by saying now that I’m not the biggest lover of hostels, for as I age, the more I value comfort and quiet time, which most of the time you will be well short of when staying in a hostel. Typically the beds are small and cramped, and the rooms are crammed with beds and strewn with backpacker’s belongings, and most of the integrity of the buildings are managed weakly, and walls and floors are cleaned less than ideally often. With that said, perhaps I should refer to my hostel reviews as more like that of a ‘Cynic’s rant on the lesser things in travel’.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m just being silly or if I’m an uncultured swine... Because after traveling for a while, I tend to steer far away from the ever-present museum and educational-attractions. I think that visiting a few here and there are great – they can be quite eye opening and of course, educational. I will still stop by the most important and influential museums, and do my best to give a benefit of a doubt. But after the first few museums of each trip, be it the arts or historic, my eyes automatically glaze over upon entrance, and I see and take in nothing of importance. I become bored and ready to fall asleep. It’s not that the art and the work are mediocre, usually – typically, the work is amazing and full of history and flavor. Right now though, I’m currently in my fourth week of my travels through Europe and I’ve found myself cringing at the very thought of having to see another museum. I’m always in search of the real and the tangible – I guess I’m seeking adventure and non-comfort. I’ve always learned by doing, and seeing, and experiencing, and not by being told.
Does this happen to you too?
(Photo by Trey Ratcliff)
UPDATE: It took two weeks, but they finally provided an appropriate voucher as recompense.
In this day in age, those who are at fault are expected to repay for their transgressions – this goes for criminals and those who do business, in this way, they are alike.
Today, I had set out to fly from Columbus to Chicago, then Chicago to London. I had a two day layover planned, where I had setup accommodations and attractions. But my airline, American (Eagle) Airlines had a massive grounding of all flights around the USA. The effect was pure mayhem of unhappy people who were been stranded and left without answers. It took me five hours to get a semi-acceptable flight rescheduled. Customer service was completely unprepared, which was understandable, but they provided no updates to travelers, and lines of hundreds of people took hours to process. News cameras came and went, preying for ‘juicy’ interviews with angry and irritable travelers.
Masked and costumed kids are running a muck. Superheroes and fantasy anime characters alike, as far as the eye can see. I met a girl Harry Potter, a latino Captain America and a plump Yoko Littner, among countless other peculiar sights. It was quite a thrilling experience really - other worldly. But it became evident once turning the corner onto Bremner Boulevard that I wasn’t part of a freakish parallel world, it was only the Toronto Fan Expo.
Imagine the scariest place on earth to stay a night at - spooky, decrepit and disheveled, with narrow passages and flickering hallway lights. Picture pitch darkness, accompanied by creaky wood floors and a creepy supernatural auras. A hostel where the inhabitants are not just humans; where men, women and children are outnumbered 10,000 to 1. You know, an establishment offering lavished trash-free rooms with a maximum capacity of only 4-6 double bunk beds that are never soiled, stained or reprieved from bodily fluids.
OK - again, I’m sarcastic... It’s not THAT bad.
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