Saturday, February 25, 2012

Travel Tips: Blighty! Part 1

Happy New Year, y'all!

What's damp, grey and perpetually drunk? No, not my gran - it's England!


The Manimal and I were fortunate enough to celebrate the nuevo ano across the pond and found it to be delightful. We laid waste to this fine land (attached to a finer land) and, of course, are back with a bevvy of travel tips for all of you Anglophiles.

First up: a quick tangent.
To get to England I had the pleasure of traveling with what some people bafflingly consider to be the scourge of the skies: Delta "airlines". What I imagined to be a quick hop, skip and jump from NYC to Detroit (?) to Paris ended up being somewhat of a Kafkaesque adventure filled with rage, anarchy, and a Best Western.


It all began as I was ensconced in the plane's cabin. Thank goodness I had requested to be seated behind a drunk lady and across from a man clad in triple stripes who had stripped down to bare feet already. "Good for you, sir!" I thought to myself, "Why not treat this sealed metal flying machine as your own personal rumpus room?" Just because I have strict rules about what is acceptable in the air doesn't mean that everyone else should hold themselves to the same rigid standards. I mean, if you want to put your hands down your sweat pants and rummage around like the guy in seat 4G, by all means go ahead. And, actually, I had never thought of putting my feet all the way on top of the seat in front of me, annoying "leggings 'n Uggs girl" in 5C - brava! You've made me rethink my ideas on comfort on a few different levels. And why not watch a movie on your laptop without headphones, guy behind me? I hadn't yet seen the latest Michael Bay offering, so thank you for being the one to make that happen. Do you mind turning it up a little?

*Arrghhhghhh!! I'm getting there!

The captain announced that we were simply "changing a wheel" and would be on our merry way in approximately ten minutes. Three hours, 2 wheels and a passenger rebellion later, we were on our way to Detroit. Of course, because of the delay, we had all missed our connections and would be fortunate enough to spend the whole night there! Yessss!

*Yay! Motor City!

At the airport, the delightful lady at the counter gave me two meal vouchers valued at the princely sum of 6 dollars for breakfast and dinner and directions to a bus terminal where I could board conveyance to the evening's lodgings. I made friends with the other Delta refugees in that quick and intense way that one does when in an uncertain, potentially dangerous situation like those hostages of Somalian pirates, or shoppers at the Brooklyn Target.

To this day (and for eternity) I would probably kill for Ginny, the she-mulleted midwestern lady who was carrying a large loaf of homemade bread and a "genuine New York cheesecake" in the seat next to me. I won't go into detail, but that night Ginny taught me about life, love, true elegance, and myself, dammit. She also managed to categorically disprove BBD's assertion that one should "never trust a big butt and a smile."

*They clearly haven't been to the Midwest

Anyway,  Ginny, I and the others piled into the bus and after a few short minutes on a ring road, pulled in to the Detroit Best Western.


* It looked just like the Sun Motel from Trains, Planes and Automobiles...

Now, many people know about my fascination with staying at murder motels. I just love them. I love the way the doors are on the outside, a mere credit card jimmy separating you and your would be rapist. I love the neon, beckoning like some sort of white trash Star of Bethlehem. I love making up stories about the miscellaneous holes in the walls and breathing in the lingering stale cigarette smells. But, readers, this was an actual scary, murder motel on an isolated strip of highway in freaking Romulus, Michigan. No charm, all menace. I started fervently hoping that I would not be forced to suckle from a she-wolf in order to survive like the town's namesake.

Everyone on the bus started tittering nervously when we pulled in.
Upon check in, some lady took the piece of crumpled paper I thrust at her and gave me a room key without asking for any identification or making eye contact. "Huzzah!" I thought to myself,  "Maybe this will be the day I get to kill a man just to watch him die in my seedy motel room!" It is one of the things on my bucket list after all. However, it seemed all of the available drifters had already checked in, so I proceeded directly to my room. On the way I was pleased to note that in lieu of sanitary accommodations, the Romulus Best Western had at least shelled out for a partially carpeted indoor swimming pool:


And a free tanning salon. Great! Maybe I could work on my cancer as a diversion. 


As Delta had helpfully transported my luggage to unknown parts, I fashioned a makeshift barricade with the only thing available to me, and settled in.


As I lay shivering in bed in all of my clothes and holding my purse, I entertained myself by reading the reviews of the Best Western on tripadvisor.com. Some highlights:

"Hands down, this is the worst American hotel I've ever stayed at. Last night, as we were going to bed in room 1053, we noticed several insects crawling around the sheets. Several were already gorged with blood" 
[At least they got something to eat. My $6 meal vouchers were not enough to get anything at the restaurant.]


"The floor (although carpeted) was so sticky that my socks made a noise when I walked."
[An accurate description. Unfortunately, I did not have socks.]

"The most awful thing about this motel is that they broadcast adult programs to every room. My kids were trying to find Cartoon network on the TV but saw a lady doing a BJ for a guy."
[I rarely say this but LOL!]

My night's repose was intermittently disturbed by the sounds of what appeared to be a rape and murder in an adjacent room. It's not often that one gets to hear two felonies at once! As dawn broke over the car rental lot, I stared out the cracked window and realized that it was a white christmas, and that I had made it out alive.



* It was a Christmas miracle!

So I boarded the shuttle bus, spent my vouchers on one large "coffee" at the airport and vowed never to fly on Delta again. 

On to England!