Tag Archives: disasters

disasters on disasters

Honestly, I’ve had the best week ever this week but given that this is us, I feel like nobody will be surprised to learn that the week has not been without its disasters. Here are just a sampling of the many tales we have, including the highlights and the lowlights:

– We went to this hilarious restaurant called 50s Prime Time Diner where the idea is you’re at your aunt’s house for dinner and your server is your aunt/cousin/uncle – we had Cousin Katie. We were told off for putting our elbows on our table, slurping our drinks, beginning to eat our dessert before anyone else, piling up the plates wrongly, not setting the table quick enough, laughing too much, amongst many other things. My favourite bit though was when my brother put his elbows on the table one too many times and had to stand in the doorway pressing a sugar packet to the wall with his nose while we all pointed at him and yelled SHAME SHAME SHAME and another waiter tormented him. Sounds bizarre but seriously it was HILARIOUS.

– I also want to elaborate on the Peter Pan encounter. Aside from our breakfast with the Winnie the Pooh characters, he was the first character we met and he was possibly one of my favourites I’ve ever met – we were literally talking to him like he was our friend and he was majorly taking the piss and in the end shoved us both away going “go away girls” – possibly out of character for Disney but hilarious anyway? After claiming that there was no quintessential Peter Pan pose he made us do some sort of yoga/flying pose and then after he did the Peter Pan pose with my brother or someone he pulled us in to get a second picture – I think he liked us (although he was definitely also flirting with my brother and he was wearing green tights so)

– Also on the first day was another of my highlights where we were the stars of the parade – basically in one of the parades you go and like dance with the characters. This is mainly for little kids obviously but for whatever reason it was basically just us lot and Woody getting down in front of Cinderella’s castle which was BRILLIANT. We even ended up with our own personal photographer in the form of a Disney photo man who just stuck with us the whole time taking pictures. Later on in the trip we went back to do this parade again with Mr Incredible but unfortunately there were too many little kids for us to get any attention and so we just had to dance with ourselves.

– We stayed at the Hard Rock in Universal cause you get unlimited front of line access to all the rides with a hotel room key. There were 11 of us and 3 hotel rooms which works out fairly well but for some reason it was declared that the most logical way to organise the group would be to put all 6 girls in one room. This meant that Sophie and I ended up having to make nests on the floor out of spare bedding which was not the most comfortable. Ivan called us at 1am for some reason and then, despite the fact that we had to be up at some ungodly hour to get early access into Harry Potter land, I decided to stay up till 2:30 reminiscing about school with Georgie

– We ate at Margaritaville where, as I have mentioned, there was a live band and a British waiter and we requested Chicken Fried. We were really very lairy but not as sloppy as the very very drunk middle aged woman who was flailing about on the dance floor giving sultry glances to the unsuspecting band. There was also a hilarious man with the hips of a snake doing samba dancing with random girls which entertained me for quite a while.

– We also made a friend in Universal in the line for one of the water rides – he was about sixteen and still had braces but we chatted away and it even transpired that he was staying in the same hotel as us…sadly we did not see him again that night

– On Thursday evening we introduced everybody to Beer Pong and Flip Cup which went down brilliantly. At first us girls won but as soon as the boys got the hang of it they basically thrashed us…given that there were probably 6 girls to their 3 boys this is pretty shameful, BUT Sophie and I have definitely improved a lot and even made some actual shots! Everyone got VERY into it and we have literally never seen anyone be so excited as the boys when they kept winning. For the real authentic experience we’d even forced my parents to buy us a case of Natty which went down with varying degrees of success…

– IT RAINED. And rained and rained and rained. After 2 days of typically sunny weather it then proceeded to rain ALL THE TIME for basically three days solid which warranted the purchase of Disney ponchos. I am not even joking. We wandered about wearing what is essentially a glorified bin bag for three days and we loved it. We’d all bought animal themed Mickey ears and not to be deterred, we wore them over our ponchos in a show of great British spirit.

– We ate dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Wicked Stepmother and the Ugly Stepsisters who were hilarious and witnessed them all waltzing with guests which made my life

– Although we had been due to leave on Saturday morning, given the weather and the fact that we love Disney, we decided to extend our stay by a night; we weren’t trying to spend a day in Miami in the rain. In theory this was a brilliant plan but in fact it only led to to more disasters. That comes later though. As it was supposed to be our last night we ate at a place called Whispering Canyon Cafe which is one of my favourites, it’s in one of my favourite hotels and you get a skillet of all our favourite barbeque food and my brother got put in ‘canyon jail’ and so on and we all had a great time. UNTIL we went to leave. The others had all gone on ahead to the fun bus so it was just Sophie, Lindsay, my mum and I and as mum went up the kerb her knee dislocated and popped back in but then started to swell up crazily. None of us were really sure what to do but Lindsay (the 15 year old in this situation) took charge and ordered Sophie and I to go tell a Disney man. The first man we saw asked us if we were okay and how we were or whatever and we were like FINE and then proceeded to tell his friend about the incident, and so they all came like running down and then went off to get a wheelchair. There was some discussion about whether to call an ambulance (or as Lindsay called it an ambu-LANCE) but eventually they did and so while we were waiting for it basically my mum was sitting in this wheelchair in the pouring rain with an umbrella, just outside the hotel lobby, while Sophie and I chatted away with the manager guy who had come out to look after us. He was very sarcastic and funny and we were all making largely inappropriate jokes given the situation…anyway in the end it was decided that hospital was unnecessary so we said goodbye to our new friend and jumped into the fun bus and returned home.

– We got a private audience with Mickey & Minnie and we are pretty sure that Minnie was a Theta in another life cause while Mickey was completely baffled when we asked to kite him, Minnie knew exactly what was going on! They were too tall to actually kite so we made individual kites with them…we had such banter with the two of them and their photographer that he told us we were all awesome as we left which was sweet. Did I mention I LOVE MEETING CHARACTERS?

– Georgie and I spent a very long time finding out the etymology behind both of our last names and looking up our coats of arms…

– At one point, everything we went on immediately broke down on us. We spent twenty minutes sitting in the loading bit of Pirates of the Caribbean, broken down, waving at the woman supposed to be sending off. We spent ten minutes sitting in Nemo listening to the same song over and over again. We broke down briefly on Haunted Mansion. We broke down on Buzz, which actually ended up being very good for our scores as our guns still worked, especially for Georgie.

– And finally, the epic disaster that was today/leaving Orlando. After we decided to stay in Orlando an extra day, we decided it was probably about time to book our transport to Miami. This was directly after the knee incident so I wasn’t really thinking properly and accidentally booked the shuttle for the 11th. We needed it for the 10th. We emailed immediately after but got no reply, so the next day when we were at Typhoon Lagoon, Sophie spent a considerable amount of time on the phone trying to get them to change it. Various people were telling us different things and in the end she shouted at them a bit and they agreed to change it and told us they’d give us a confirmation, which we never got. We were becoming increasingly worried and so this morning, still confirmation less, called them and we were told that it was fine and the reservation had been changed. So, we all piled into the fun bus and set off for the glamorous pick up location of the Holiday Inn parking lot.

The people in the hotel claimed to have no idea where this shuttle company picked up from and so we waited there for LITERALLY TWO HOURS, during which time my parents took Faryl & Georgie to the airport for their flight and returned, before eventually giving up. We went to the airport and went through various options – a flight to Miami, changing our flight to London to come out of Orlando tonight – before eventually discovering a bus company that ran from Orlando for $60 each, at 7pm. By this point it was about 3 so we had some time to kill but so did my parents and everyone so that was gonna be fine. THEN we discovered that Faryl & Georgie’s flight was delayed so much that they were going to miss their connection (sound familiar?) so everyone went to kick off at the US Airways people. After initially being told they would have to go home via Paris, they have ended up doing this route home: Orlando –> Philadelphia –> Manchester –> London/home.

Anyway eventually we composed an email to the initial shuttle company and have been told we are getting a refund – yay – and the bus we ended up on was VERY luxurious with enough leg room for like a giraffe and wifi and so on. We arrived in Miami fine and arrived at our hotel, which is hilarious and run/populated entirely by guidos, but even though Miami looks SUPER fun we figured we were too tired/underage to bother going out so following the trend of this month we basically just went to bed.

In summary, I LOVE DISNEY WORLD (and thanks mum and dad for taking us and everyone on the trip with us/the J team!!) and I cannot believe that this is our last day ever ever of our year abroad. We are literally leaving TONIGHT. Expect a reflective post some time very soon!

B

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fried green bananas are like a southern thing, right?

GUYS WE ARE ALIVE AND WE’RE IN CHARLESTON!!! Yes we have left the Burg for good and our road trip has officially begun. Due to my love of Pitbull, which I share with Sophie’s mother, we had originally titled this trip ‘Mr Worldwide: The Hotel Motel Holiday Inn Tour 2012.” However as we are comedic geniuses the hilarious titles would not stop flowing and Sophie’s purchase of the awful awful published Twilight fan fiction/middle aged erotica Fifty Shades of Grey has inspired us to rename it “Fifty Shades of Greyhound.” Look out for this title on the NYTimes Bestseller list very soon. And so, without further ado, we bring you: Day 1.

The day began at 6:45 when we both simultaneously woke up (as we have since discovered), to find a lovely sentimental message written by our favourite creepy uncle J Flo. Obviously this was a sensible time to begin the day. At like 8 I got up, took the mountains of trash I had to the bin (over the course of the last two days I have filled three ENORMOUS trash bags), gave my key back and so on, and then began the mammoth task of trying to wheel all my stuff to Theta. This was a mission as I have to carry/wheel/somehow transport:

– One huge duffel thing

– One mini roll along suitcase

– One backpack (stuffed obviously)

– One Theta tote thing (with another bag inside it, Russian doll style)

– One paper bag full of British chocolate that I have acquired over the year

Not having the D of E expertise of Sophie, I had inefficiently packed my bag so that it doesn’t balance at all and it overturned no less than fifteen times on my way to Theta. At this point I was seriously considering just refusing to even leave as it was way too much effort.

Luckily eventually I managed to sort my life out at least enough to dump everything on the front steps of Theta and burst in to get rid of the chocolate bag. THEN we were actually on our way!!! Trying to carry all these bags was way too stressful so I don’t feel like I really got to appreciate the fact that it was my last time on campus and we didn’t really give the house a proper goodbye which is sad!

Eventually we successfully managed to get to the station with plenty of time to spare and after some help from some very friendly strangers we managed to manouvre our way through the doors, get our tickets and go out to the platform. Sophie had literally just started musing about how weird it would be to see someone we know on our travels when who turns up but Zante Boy/AviatorLAD himself, Jamie. He was sporting some lovely tie-dye (LAD) and was a little worse for wear but clearly overjoyed to see us.

This turned out to be very good luck for us because if it hadn’t been for Jamie and his friend (also now our friend) Tony we wouldn’t even have been able to get the cases on the train on the first place and probably wouldn’t have managed to leave. Anyway we had a lovely time on this journey chatting away about LADS, Exeter, Wimbledon and so on and the journey went very fast and the boys were very very helpful when we decided to get ready to get off the train at least fifteen minutes before we needed to and proceeded to anger everybody in the carriage – truly our knights in shining tie-dye (as Sophie put it) so THANKS BOYS…we know you’re reading!

We had a little wait at Richmond before our next train (yes, we did have to head in the wrong direction for an hour before we could even start our journey south) so we sat in the sun and reminisced about last night, the year in general and all the chicken we have eaten in the last three weeks of our lives. (Also a brief interlude to announce that Sophie lost her Chipotle virginity last night, courtesy of Ivan, naturally).

I kind of felt very blasé about this whole travelling thing up until the moment when the train pulled up and the PA guy listed off the stations and when he said “Charleston, South Carolina” I suddenly got INSANELY excited about the whole thing. Then the train arrived and that is where we are now, in our window-less seat. Although we are not fans of US trains in general – why are they so hard to get on, why do they not open all the doors, why are they always late – we are enjoying the ridiculous amounts of leg room and the amount of reclinability and so on.

Okay so, fast forward seven or something hours and $147 dollars later and we have survived three characteristic disasters. Naturally.

The train journey itself was very pleasant. We didn’t have a window but we had a lovely romantic lunch down the buffet cart with a turkey and brie baguette and some hummus and it didn’t really seem to take that long. They are also v efficient and like label you so they know where you’re going and make sure you know when you are getting off – this is not First Great Western after all. However as we were gathering our belongings to leave the train we attracted the attentions of an interesting gentlemen who had earlier quite politely asked us for a lighter. Because of this I didn’t think it was that weird when he started trying to get our attention again, however this time he had apparently decided our relationship had progressed to the point where we would join him in the train’s bathroom for a brief and intimate encounter before departing. Naturally we declined and fled.

As we got off the train and nearly knocked out several children with our bags we noticed some other British girls who we overheard talking about how they were going to a hostel. We figured they were probably going to ours but as our British reserve is still at least a little bit intact we decided against asking them where they were going and instead got into a taxi which would cost us $30. Obviously as we got out of the taxi at the other end, we saw the two British girls, also getting out of a taxi right in front of us. Considering we have a budget of $40 a day maximum on food, activities and whatever else we may require, this was our first disaster. However the taxi driver lady had a pink fluffy steering wheel so really it was worth it.

Our next disaster could have been so much worse as when we approached the check-in desk they looked at us very concerned and told us the reservation was for one. As we have not quite managed to actually attach ourselves at the hip yet this was an issue. Also I should add that the reservation email definitely says 2 adults so this was not our fault!!! Anyway, luckily there were beds available for us – HOWEVER they had only charged us for 1 adult, so we had to pay another $80, thus ruining our carefully created spreadsheet and our entire budget. Oooops. However, luckily again the room and hostel in general is very nice and we even have a sort of luxurious apartment with its own kitchen, a nice marble shower, nobody in our room, and, we think, some French girls in the room opposite.

Disaster number 3 didn’t end up to be that much of a disaster – Sophie briefly lost her ipod but luckily the pink steering wheel lady had not robbed it as we had suspected and in fact she had dropped it down the sofa in the lobby where it had been rescued by these same French girls.

After all this stress it was only natural to go and a) spend more money and b) eat some food. Signs we have been spending too much time with Ivan. We stumbled across this really cool place called Fuel which used to be a garage and which was filled with frat boys (we can detect them from three miles away now) so we decided it was obviously to our tastes. We were right, we decided to go for a Caribbean themed meal and even indulged in some fried plantains (basically massive bananas). These Southern delicacies.

As of now we have returned to the hostel and are sitting in a more public kitchen thing where we just had a lovely chat with some Australian men who are midway through a very impressive road trip. One of them offered me the use of his ID but unfortunately he has blonde hair where I have brown and I feel this would be pushing the boundaries of credibility.

Sorry this is so long – seeing as we spent 7 hours of today sitting motionless on a train you can only expect these updates to get longer. Sorry not sorry.

B&S

Miles Travelled Today: 465 (according to Google Maps)

Total Disaster Count: 3

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trains, planes, more planes and no luggage

Don’t you just love it when you finally arrive home, after a long and hellish journey on which disasters occurred at every turn, to have your parents blithely announce “Oh, we flew home business class”?

CAUSE I DON’T.

Anyway, the fun I was having at Richmond airport did not end at Richmond airport when they finally called us to board the errant plane that had, it transpired, been sitting on a runway in Detroit for the last four hours. Oh no. My epic (and I’m not exaggerating, this is gonna be as long as an epic and I don’t apologise) only continued. They ushered us on board super quickly, didn’t even check passports or anything when getting on the plane – I suppose you’d have to be pretty desperate to sneak yourself onto a tiny plane if you were willing to wait that long for it – and at one point it looked like there may be a chance that we’d even make it in time to NY for the LHR flight, since Delta inexplicably allow an hour and 45 minutes for what is, they told us as we boarded, a 48 minute flight. So things were looking up, slightly, with that glimmer of hope.

Then we proceeded to sit at the gate for half an hour. “Sorry about this,” the pilot said. “We’re having some problems with politics.”

Now is not the time to discuss political differences I thought. Anyway turned out they were having issues to do with staff resting times and stuff, and by the time we took off it was past ten o clock. I watched Richmond sparkle below me as we took off and knew I would be spending a long and lonely night in New York City. (lololololol srry felt this situation called for some more sentimental drama). Incidentally all the lights looked funny cause there were a lot of Christmas lights in there so the whole city literally did sparkle like little light-y waves.

Okay so we eventually arrived at JFK at just past 11 so I made my way to the missed connection desk and they helpfully gave me a night in the Doubletree nearby, a voucher for the taxi, a voucher to get food at the airport (which turned out to be useless but what else could I expect by this point) and, most importantly, A NEW FLIGHT. Not only that, but a flight on a real, competent airline such as British Airways, leaving the next day at 8:30. She gave me what she called my ‘itinerary’, essentially a bit of paper that had the flight details on it, and told me to check in with that the next morning. Then this conversation ensued. Pay attention because it is very important.

LADY: Now, you can either collect your bag and take it with you or you can leave it with us and we’ll send it on.

ME: Oh, I’ll take it. It has stuff I need in it.

LADY: Are you sure? It’ll be much easier to leave it.

ME: Well it has like all my liquids and stuff in it like toothpaste and stuff…

LADY: Here, I’ll give you an amenity pack that has all that stuff in it. Then you can leave it with us, it’ll be much easier and all you have to do is check in tomorrow without worrying about it.

I conceded obviously as frankly I didn’t wanna start an argument at the desk. So I continued on my merry way with the two other stranded passengers on my flight to the Doubletree , which was quite nice actually, thinking that all my troubles were over and tomorrow I’d be able to fly home, stress-free.

WRONGGGGG.

I got up at 5am, nice, and headed to the airport on the shuttle with a nice lady who reminded me of Angie from Sadler and called everyone baby. I’d got this shuttle a half hour earlier than I really needed to cause I just had a feeling that something would maybe go wrong, and sure enough when I headed up to BA desks to attempt to check in and explained the situ, all I got were incredulous faces. Apparently I needed an actual ticket, or at least a ticket number. The lady told me to go over to BA ticketing and “find out what’s going on.” The lady there told me she’d been up all night and didn’t really seem all that with it, to be honest. She bitched about Delta a bit – it seemed they had expected BA to just put me on a flight no questions asked and she said “I just don’t like the way they do things.” Then she spent a considerable amount of time on the phone to Delta, during which time I was having visions of being stuck in JFK for the rest of my life. She also – here is another important detail – had the foresight to check with BA baggage that they had Delta bags and even gave them my name to check. I had had very little confidence that my bag would arrive but she seemed happy with their response and eventually even got what she needed from Delta and printed off my boarding pass. I headed over to security, just waiting for the next disaster to occur.

Luckily for me I didn’t have to wait long. In fact, I didn’t even get past security. The lady took one look at my boarding pass and screwed up her nose and called over two other security people. I was fairly sure my boarding pass didn’t say “ERRANT DELTA PASSENGER MASQUERADING AS BA PERSON” so I didn’t know what was so weird about it until she announced that it couldn’t just have my initial on it, it needed my full name, and they sent me back to the BA desk.

The lady who had served me earlier and another one, who had enjoyed my boots, called me over to them and I explained the ‘problem.’ They were outraged. It seemed basically to be part of some sort of act of spite or ongoing rivalry between check in and security because the lady said she “hates it when they do this.” Anyway they were fairly outraged and told me it was because my name was too long and “sometimes it just prints like that.” Eventually she just stuck my name in another random spot on the boarding pass, printed it out and gave it to me with instructions to try and get a different security lady. Unfortunately the first lady also recognised me and waved me over. I imagined spending a good few hours going back and forth between security and check in but luckily – probably my one bit of luck this entire two days – she just smirked, like she knew my name was in totally the wrong place, and let me through. Then I set the sensor off and had to have my hands swabbed for drugs. Excellent.

Despite all this kerfuffle (lol) I still had quite a bit of time so I wandered about Duty Free, surreptitiously using testers to make myself look slightly more presentable. Sorry not sorry. Then I headed to the gate, and FINALLY boarded an actual plane that would take me actually home.

Other than the fact that the lady in front of me reclined directly onto my lap the instant we took off and did not proceed to move until we were over London, and the lady behind me continuously prodded at my back, the flight was okay. I watched the Glee Concert movie which was PERFECT plane viewing and Bridesmaids which was not so perfect as it meant I was laughing away at my screen like a loon. I did have a spare seat next to me though which was nice as I could put my boots on it and use its table as the lady in front rendered mine unusable. When the sky map showed that we were over Newquay/Portsmouth and then finally Exeter I just about combusted with joy, AND as we came in over London we could see all the lights of the city and I was pretty much bouncing up and down in my seat with excitement.

I had fully expected the plane to burst into flames as we descended, but we landed fine and as we pulled up to the gate at Heathrow I finally allowed myself to think that FINALLY all my troubles were over and I was actually HOME.

Then I had to fight my way through the imbecile-ridden hell that is passport control. I will never know what it is about airports that makes otherwise-sane people turn into blank, incompetent, and most of all SLOW idiots but I employed my best British passive aggressiveness and tutted and gave dirty looks and elbowed my way through until eventually I got to the ePassport kiosk, successfully navigated through it (NOT. THAT. HARD.) and was FREEEE.

It had taken so long to work my way through the crowd of idiots that the bags were already out and going around on the carousel. As I approached, I somehow knew that mine would not be there, and sure enough, it wasn’t. I waited for a little bit in the hope that maybe it would come out – it should have gone on pretty much first after all so maybe it would be last to come out – but nope, no sign of that little pink bag that Emily so kindly lent me and that the Delta lady practically forced me to leave in her company. By this point I was not surprised by this disaster and so I went over to see the man at baggage enquiries. He was very nice and gave me another amenity pack – he felt sorry for me cause I didn’t even know what day or date it was and probably looked quite pitiful by this point – and we reported the bag missing and he told me that there is a chance it could come by this afternoon, which I am not holding out any hope for. Especially as nobody will be in the house this afternoon as we are going to Hull.

Luckily the only good thing about this day, other than the fact that I am now back in the merry old green land of Engerland, is that it only took just over an hour to get back from Heathrow. At which point we come full circle as my parents informed me they’d flown back club class. And thus concludes my epic tale of epic disaster. To be honest, I feel that the whole thing was some sort of divine punishment for having mocked Home Alone 2 so much the other week. I’M SORRY MACAULAY.

B

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