Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eastbound and Up (On The Road to NYC)

      Ana and I awoke late in DC as usual, like I said in the previous blogs the Brazilian Sleeping Sickness is a bitch. After drinking free coffee, brushing teeth and frantically shoving clothing into bags, making sure we hadn't forgotten anything we drug our overloaded Steamer Trunk downstairs in time to wait in line to check out. Unfortunately for us a boatload of Europeans had landed in the lobby, all wanting to stay at the Days Inn, Washington DC. All twenty were jabbering and frothing to get their rooms at 8 in the morning and we were trying to get the the hell out of the place. Our bus to New York City wouldn't wait forever and the tickets were non-refundable.
     You see Ana found this bus service called MEGABUS that has trips between DC and NYC for $1 if you book enough in advance. Of course I didn't book enough in advance so our tickets combined cost a whopping $26 but still we didn't want to miss our cheap bus. So after waiting for the Euro to get out of the way, I handed in our flimsy plastic hotel cards, signed a few forms and off we hustled to the Metro Station with no working escalator, thump, thump went the 600lb bags. The Metro doesn't run as often on weekends and I cannot complain about that because walk into any state Capital or City Hall on a Sunday and you might see two people farting around and both of those people are probably hungover trying to find their car.
     We made it a few letters from our street which was H and we ran two blocks to get to the bus in time. I remember dragging those heavy bags toward the parking lot where the bus was to be waiting for us. We rounded a corner and saw two or three buses loading passengers but only one had the HUGE Megabus sign. I handed our IDs and Tickets to a man with a clipboard who checked our names off, placed a tag on our bags and tossed them to Isaac Hayes who placed them in the back of the bus. Ana and I clambered upstairs to the top of the double decker bus and got situated, Ana wondered if she had time to go and get something to eat or a coke but it wasn't five minutes after she said this that the bus lumbered to life and started moving out of Washington DC and toward The Big Apple.

      After calming down from our mad sprint which I would find out later would become a theme throughout our DC-NYC-Boston trip, we sat back and enjoyed the A/C. There really wasn't anything else to do for the 4 1/2 hours other than to gawk out the windows. To tell you the truth, I was like a kid in a candy store because I had never been this far into the northeast before in my life. Luckily this was a double decker bus so instead of looking out the window and seeing the side of an 18 wheeler I could see over trucks for the most part. I took this time to clean my camera lens and rubberneck and Ana tried to sleep off her sleeping sickness that and she did take an allergy pill and those make her drowsy. I wish I had her ability to sleep in a moving vehicle of that I am envious except when she is driving.
    A few times the bus stopped to pick up more passengers, the only stop that I remember clearly is Baltimore in a Mall parking lot.. The bus got to the stop and a few people loaded on with their baggage and tickets ready. After sitting there for at least 15 minutes this silver VW Station Wagon pulled up and just as a boy with a NY University tshirt and his father got out of the car the bus started moving. The look on the fathers face was priceless to say the least, with his hands raising over his head and what I can only assume were the words "What the hell" as he watched the bus slowly crawl away, stranding him with his son for a few more hours until the next bus. If there is one thing I have learned with these trips with Ana is that you shouldn't be ashamed to run after your transportation, unless of course it is a NYC Subway then you should just give up.
    We reached New Jersey and I think it can best be summed up by a George Carling quote "You can't back out of your driveway without some prick in a vest wants fifty cents" and "You can't get good gas mileage in New Jersey cause you are a constant state of slowing down". It is hard to judge a state while you are on the road though and most of what I know about the state comes in the form of Springsteen and The Soprano's. Still, it looked nice out the window.

      The Megabus pulled into a Gas Station/Rest Stop in New Jersey about 2 hours from NYC and I thought we were picking up more people. I was halfway right, we were making a personal stop for the bus driver, I will explain. The best way I could and will describe our bus driver is imagine if Barry White and Isaac Hayes had a LOVE CHILD. Unfortunately he didn't take on much of either parents award winning personality. In fairness, I imagine his attitude was brought on with dealing with the public and bad drivers all day plus a bad case of hemorrhoids. That combination would make anyone a little bit grouchy. So Barry Hayes walks up to the second floor of the bus counting as he is walking along the aisle telling people to stay in their seats and if you have ever been in a plane you probably know how many times he had to say that to get that point across. (This being Isaac White though it took about 3 times, if he had been a little white female stewardess it would have taken 150). Mr. Whitehayes starts telling us that this isn't a scheduled stop but a personal stop, he is going to park the bus here for 15 minutes and when those 15 minutes are up the bus is going to be leaving with or without all the passengers. Everyone busts ass to take a piss and buy a coke from the gas station getting back in time for Mr Whitehayes to smoke a cigarette, make his count, straighten his Kangol. The Megabus slouches toward NYC.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Beer Garden???

    I went to the International BBQ Festival 2010 last night in Owensboro after watching Iron Man 2 for shits and giggles. All I can say is I don't remember it sucking this bad 6 years ago. I don't know, maybe it was the missing Big E Hotel or the fact that they are still working on extending the Riverwalk an extra 100 feet but it just wasn't the same. Also I don't think I have seen so many Cops in one place in all my life, even Mardi Gras didn't have this many cops walking around the French Quarter in 2000. I think it was at least 10-20 policemen walking around at the BBQ Fest ready at a moments notice to walk around even more. I guess if a riot broke out or the terrorist struck then we'd have lots of armed cops around us frantically trying to get that one bullet out of their front pocket. I saw a few firemen as well but you know, I'm down with Firemen for that whole EMT training that they all have. Let's face it, you have a bunch of fat fucks, add unhealthy food and lots of walking and you have the recipe for that stomach ache that starts in your left arm and moves to your chest filling like an elephant is standing on it.  I have to say the worst part of the entire ordeal was the sham of a beer garden.
     So you go to the Beer Garden, give the guy your ID, then you walk past and give the girl a $1 and she wraps a bracelet on you certifying that you are indeed over 21. Then you walk all the way to the other side to buy beer tickets, the will insure you that you can get a beer, they cost $3. Then you walk back from which you came to the beer tent to trade your ticket in for a beer. If you leave the area you have to pay another $1 to get back into the Garden. I had one, then after I left I went to J's Liquor and bought a sixer of Dos Equis for $8 or 2 trips to the Beer Garden. Screw your Lameness Beer Garden. You see, sometimes the Private Market does work a lot better than something that is ran by the Government. Now that I look back on the night, I wish I had gone down 2nd and grabbed the little twerp Tea Party Protester with his tri-cornered hat and stupid placard and carried him down to the Beer Garden to really protest Government Inadequacy. I'm sure he wouldn't have grasped the concepts I would have laid on him but still, maybe I could convince him of how communist the beer garden concept really was, employing 4 people to do the job of one really good bartender. Then again, anyone standing in the middle of the street with a hat that hasn't been in fashion for over 200 years who isn't selling Captain Morgans Rum probably should be given a wide berth. 
    I understand that we must protect our kids from the evils of alcohol at every step but having to go through 4 people for one beverage is just plain ridiculous. Compounded by the fact that the Beer Garden was also part of the enclosed area that houses a band stand with a nice local band on stage with all their amps set to 11 made it even more unbearable. What happened to the days of just sitting on a picnic table drinking a beer with just the sun shining on you while kids looked at you funny for sitting in a roped off area. Now you have to be forced to go deaf just cause you want a beer. Besides, I'm 34 years old, I've been to New Orleans and Brazil, the novelty of drinking a beer outside in public wore off a long time ago. Not to mention the fact that a short drive up the Ohio River you can go to a number of bars in Evansville all with outside patios and one person to bring you the beer. 
     Maybe I'm just complaining cause I was alone and didn't have my GF with me to make things more entertaining, I don't know. 

Round and Round

Barter Town