I couldn't bring myself to put an exclamation on that greeting, as I'm just not feeling as such.
I'm writing from my friend Eggy's house in Chula Vista, outside San Diego.
Why am I not in Southeast Asia? Well I'd like to blame the airline, or Expedia, or even Gypsies, but the clear culprit is a miserable unemployed idiot who goes by the name "Myself". And not just one idiotic mistake but many that leave me sitting in a very nice house in sunny California but still annoyed, as when I first summoned the heroism to quit my job, my only thought was retreating to a very cheap destination with a beach, whether Thailand, Costa Rica, Panama, you name it, my demands were simple.
I have not hit that destination yet, over 3 months into my extended leave, save for a family vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, and a weekend on the Jersey Shore.
But honestly, I'm not TOO bothered by this, just very angry at myself for the incredibly inept sequence of events that had to occur to get myself in this situation.
But first, let me bore you with what I've been DOING since my 2 sentence update on Spain.
I flew from Madrid to London, Gatwick Airport, and since I had to leave the next day (sept 25th), I booked a hotel right near Gatwick and planned to have a decent meal (tough in London...sorry Marion) and a decent night's sleep and nothing more.
The hotel was pretty crappy and their courtesy vehicle at the airport didn't even have their hotel name on it but another hotel and then a tiny piece of paper with the actual name, so either I missed it 3 times and waited over an hour or they simply didn't send it in the first place. I think the correct answer is somewhere in between but oh well, I made it there at 9pm.
Annoyed with this hotel and the shady staff, they pointed me down a dark rural road and told me to walk for 10 minutes to find the nearest cluster of restaurants.
I find the restaurants and was pleased to see one of them was a Thai and Vietnamese restaurant and walked in and sat down.
I immediately notice a large table of people boozing nearby and from the looks of the crowd, 8 fairly cute Asian gals ranging in age from 20ish to 40ish and 2 shady looking fellows in their fifties, one American and one British. The American was making totally crude and creepy jokes to the gals, like when he took a picture of the group he said "smile...and take off your shirts".
Not to sound racist or anything, but I could only surmise that these two dudes had invited the entire staff of the nearest massage parlor out to dinner. Seriously, they didn't match.
From the moment I sat down, a few of the gals kept turning around and checking me out, and when the waitress came by to take my order, she told me "the girls are being naughty and want you to join them".
Still puzzled by the dynamic of the table, I politely declined and noted that there wasn't any room at the table for me. (This is reason #865 why I never get laid)
But a few moments later, the couple next to this table gets up to leave and then the American, feeling PITY on me, insists I come join them and pulls the extra table in with theirs.
Normally, my pride overrides any pity another might feel for me, but when a fifty-year-old perverted ugly guy feels pity on me, I know enough to reevaluate things.
So of course I joined them!
I learned that they are not from a massage parlor but gals that work at this restaurant and have the night off. They were celebrating the birthday of one of the girls, and the 2 guys happened to be dating 2 of the gals.
The American was a pilot who works for some airline I'd never heard of and the British guy, well I forget.
To stray from my normal self-deprecating ways, it would not be conceited of me to say I was considerably younger and possibly even better looking than these 2 fellows, and since I wasn't making perverted comments every other second, I very likely came off as a bald Brad Pitt to the girls. (okay maybe a white Brad Daugherty)
Once I unleashed the information that I was traveling the world and technically living in Manhattan, they were swooning.
Actually they were just hammered, but let me stick with swooning and stone-cold sober.
The restaurant closed about 10pm and then the party started. By this point, I'd caught up pretty nicely on the boozing front, and I must say I was sporting a charm and confidence I've never quite had.
I think even the pilot wanted me. Well maybe not, but his girlfriend sure as hell did.
And while the rest of the evening was fun, it did not quite head in the direction I would have liked. How could this lead anywhere but a legendary night of lust? Well, remember the "reasons I never get laid"? Well, I think I broke rule # 1, 2 AND 3 this evening.
Rule #1 is "never, under any circumstances, break out your dance skills. You are 6'5" and uncoordinated, and the only dance moves you have were picked up from gangster rap videos." Well these girls all picked me up out of my chair and started hopping up and dancing around me like I was the lead in the "Safety Dance" video and they were the giddy midgets. After exhausting my dancing repertoire of a wooden Flavor Flav and then a mix of the lawn-mower and the dance Terence Howard does in "Hustle and Flow" while singing "Whup that Trick", I knew I was only losing points and decided to sit down.
Rule #2 is "do not drop your drink or break a glass", and while I didn't break my glass, the birthday girl herself came over to drag me back out on the dance floor and knocked over my glass of wine, which shattered into a Chirazzy mess on the floor.
I could have mooned the birthday girl while flatulating and it wouldn't have halted the celebration as much as this development. She spent the next 10 minutes cleaning it up and the owner of the restaurant (who was also hot by the way) started to check her watch like perhaps the party should end soon.
Rule #3 is "do not waste your time on a gal with a boyfriend when there are other available gals just as attractive". Yes, I am a self-destructive prick, as I did exactly this.
And how could I forget rule #4. "Do not eat ANY garlic under any circumstances. While most people can pop a mint to deaden the effect, your Irish roots will quarrel with the herb so viciously, you will smell like a homeless guy in 30 minutes or less and it will last 3 days." Well, I probably smelled like a dead homeless guy after mistakenly ordering a dish with garlic AND curry.
It wasn't a total failure however. Not to give any details (as that would please my guy friends who ONLY want to hear such stories too much) let me say that the hotel bell-hops think I quite literally went to the Thai and Vietnamese restaurant for take-out. But on the whole, I really have no game.
So anyway, that was my last night in London.
I flew to New York the next day without a problem, picked up 2 bags I had left at my old place and brought them to Guy's to clog up his apartment, and then hopped on a flight to Phoenix the next day.
The weekend of the 28th, I headed with buddies to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a bachelor party. Man Law prohibits me from discussing much of the weekend (which was really quite innocent but it is still a rule not to discuss it), but I will say I was VERY psyched for this weekend, since it was at a beach, it was a bachelor party for my good buddy Matt, and this happened to be an excellent group of friends that are drunken, immature thirty-somethings like myself.
We had a blast Friday, up until the end of the night when the monumentally corrupt policia in Cabo planted drugs on one of the guys and hauled him off the jail for what would be 20 hours! And yes, he was actually PLANTED with drugs! I will not disclose what it cost to get him out, but lets just say it was much higher then the 500 bucks most people guess.
We got him out though, and while that is a good story, it really killed our momentum and we never could quite recover. Oh well. Was good to see the guys.
Also, the rip-tides in Cabo are so strong you are pretty much prohibited from entering the water, and since Saturday was spent waiting on a sleazy couch in the jail entrance, and Sunday was rainy, I ONCE AGAIN failed to hit a beach properly.
Oh well, I knew in my heart I would soon make it to Thailand.
Wednesday the 3rd I made it to the airport nice and early to start my long journey.
But there was a problem. I forgot it wasn't an e-ticket and that I had received tickets 2 months ago and I had stashed them in one of the 2 bags I left at Guy's place in NYC. Argh!!!!!
The guy at the ticket counter tried to help me but it was my own stinking fault. I called the airline and they said to buy another ticket and that the airline would reimburse me on the ticket I didn't use.
I decided to stay another night in Phoenix and fly out the next day to LA on southwest rather than Delta, and then buy my ticket in LA to Bangkok.
Made it to LA fine and then the ticket-counter guy tells me the ticket will be $3,400!!! I stormed out, nearly weeping at this point, and eventually after calming down, decided I would postpone the arrival to my hotel by a few days, spend the weekend with friends in San Diego, and then fly out Sunday or Monday. This would also give Guy time to overnight me my tickets, as get this, you need to have your return tickets as well to even enter Thailand (so they know I'll leave) so I would have had to buy another round trip ticket otherwise.
I had a pretty great weekend, and I got the tickets fine from Guy, but honestly every day I'm not in Asia pisses me off, as this was what I planned to do a full 3 months in the first place! And since I leave Oct 31st to come back for a wedding, my time is dwindling!
So on Saturday I booked a flight for Monday morning out of LA to Bangkok. Yesterday (Sunday) I logged in to check my confirmation number and flight details. I was more than a little horrified to see I had booked the flight for a friend of mine and not myself! How did this happen? Well, not long ago I had booked a flight for a friend as a gift and she was on my list of travelers and somehow it defaulted to her.
SOOOOOO, I had to call expedia, and they told me to simply cancel the ticket and buy another, and I canceled the ticket fine (cost me like 5 bucks) and then when I tried to rebook, flight was full amazingly! Yep, I am a fucking idiot.
So, I write you rather angry and yet somehow not too angry that I'm still in the states. Good news is I'm saving some money I suppose. (though probably annoying Eggy & his wife, as well as Lance, another buddy who's place I stayed at Thurs through Sat)
I'm willing to bet I never get reimbursed, which frankly I'm fine with, and honestly? I still don't even believe at this point I'll EVER set foot in Asia before Oct 31st. I've made so many idiotic mistakes, I firmly believe I will not be on the flight I booked tomorrow.
And if I am? Well, please God let me get an exit row or bulk-head seat as it involves 19 hours of flying!
Okay I'll stop bitching now. But be warned, my Asia trip is going to involve a lot less trips to Buddhist temples and cultural tours up the river and a LOT of sitting on my ass at a beach. Hell, if I like the first beach I hit, I'm staying there! After all, as Jack Wager says, it is "ALL I NEEEEED"!