Wishing the Mile High Club was an actual bat!

A week or so ago my wife and I took a trip to Venice.  In lieu of our upcoming move to Las Vegas we felt it wise to visit some places in Europe while they were still pretty close by (and a lot cheaper!)

Plus, as we are moving to sin city, I thought it was a good idea she see what Venice REALLY looks like, rather than basing her ideas on The Venetian hotel on the strip.  We’d already visited Paris the year before and she’s already been to New York, so the only one left – that the Las Vegas strip had ripped off – was Venice.

And before you mention The Luxor, friends of mine have been to Cairo and apparently it’s a shithole; so fuck that.

Anyway, I want to tell you about our trip.

But, Headinablender isn’t a travel blog, nor will it ever be unless something weird, wonderful or funny happens.  I’m not about to go on and on about the beautiful canals, the crippling expensive food and drink, the amazing architecture or the overpriced gondolas driven (driven? Is that right?) by uninterested Italians with an oar in one hand and their phone in the other.

No, i’m talking about our actual experience of getting there and back; literally ‘the trip’.

There are certain moments in life when you realise you’re now ‘a proper grown up’  These include hosting a dinner party, paying rent/mortgage, choosing curtains and, in the case of our trip, checking in at an airport.

I remember going to the airport when I was a kid and just following my parents around while they organised tickets, passports and luggage.  It was just a thing they did until it was time for all of us to sit on the plane.  I never considered the effort that had been put in before we’d even got to the airport.

The thing is, no-one pulls you aside at school and shows you how to book a holiday, you just ‘wing it’.  Nowadays it’s pretty much all done online.  There seem to be two types of holiday companies; those you’ve heard of, and those who are cheaper. Either way, you select your holiday, type in some stuff, pay some money and it’s done.  Apparently.

No tickets, no paperwork.  That’s it.

Then you find out you have to go to the airline’s website and enter your passport information and pay extra if you want to take a suitcase.

Still no tickets or paperwork.  Just faith that all will be OK when you get to the airport.

So, when we arrived at the check in desk and the clerk took our passports, checked us in, took our luggage and handed us our boarding passes, I felt like a proper grown up.

I felt like turning to an imaginary 5 year old me and winking, but I decided against it as I didn’t want to appear twitchy or weird and I wanted to actually be allowed on the flight.

franco wink

Anyway, fast forward to the departure gate.

We were walking down the tunnel to the plane and there were a lot of people in front of us, and more coming in behind us, including one couple who had a little boy that kept running up and down the tunnel.

“Elliott!  Elliot!  Come back here darling.  Elliott!  Elliott!”

His name was Elliott.

After we (and a lot of our fellow passengers) had enduring Elliott’s delightful stomping and kicking of our hand luggage, shins and patience, we finally boarded the plane.

Then, after waiting an eternity for people to put their hand luggage in the overhead lockers and actually sit their fucking arses down, we took our seats and relaxed.

This relaxation was short lived as, sat noisily behind us, was Elliott and his fucking family, comprising of mummy, daddy and younger sister Imogen.  How did we know their names? It was all…..we fucking heard…..for the duration…..of the fucking……flight.

Mostly from ‘Daddy’

“Elliott, try not to kick the seat in front”

(my wife’s seat; Elliott was playing a very dangerous game)

“Elliot, please sit down”

“Elliott, please let Imogen look out the window”

“Elliott, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, let Elliott have a go with the colouring book”

“Elliott, please don’t throw the pens on the floor”

“Elliot, please try not to kick the seat in front”

(this was a popular one.  Notice the word ‘try’)

“No Elliott, you can’t sit by the window now, we’re about to land.  No, please stop crying”

And then, once we’d landed and taxi’d to the gate, we were treated to this moment of absolute fucking lunacy…..

“We’re here!  I’m going to get you an ice cream for being such a good boy”

You had to be shitting me!

Once the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ sign had been switched off we stood up and joined the rest of the plane, who had already stood up a long time ago, to retrieve our bag from the overhead locker.

baseball riot

This was my opportunity to turn around and get a proper look at these people who had made our two hour flight feel like ten.

The parents looked like death.  Gaunt, tired and dead behind the eyes.  They almost looked grey; drained of all the colour in their lives by the little prick jumping up and down on their laps.

So that made me feel better.

To be honest, the best part of the flight was shortly after the wheels had hit the tarmac.

We were sat over the wing, so as the plane was still hurtling down the runway we were able to see part of the wing lift up; creating more drag and slowing the plane.

I smiled, turned to my wife and said “Flaps”.

Ryan Reynolds grin

We both laughed.

It was all we could do not to strangle (H)Elliott with his seatbelt.

Speaking of seatbelts, have you noticed the crew walk up and down the plane to ensure you’ve fastened it, and THEN show the demonstration of how to fasten your seatbelt?  It seems as redundant as showing a pregnant woman how to lose her virginity.

Anyway, we left our woes at baggage claim and went on the have a great time in Venice. What a beautiful city.  If you ever get the chance to go, go. Photos don’t do it any justice, it truly is stunning.

Venice

By the end of our stay we were looking forward to our flight home.  We had chosen a late night flight to ensure we got as much time in Venice as possible and we could also enjoy a nice sleep on the plane.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

We had the ONLY drunk person on the plane sat behind us, sprawled out across three seats kicking us both in the back for the entire flight whilst he snored like a baboon being sawn in half.  We lost count the number of times the cabin crew had to show him how to use the seatbelt.

If anyone needed to pay attention to the safety brief and seltbelt demonstration, it was this guy.  Mind you, he was having problems blinking both eyes together so it’s unlikely he’ll be able to successfully operate a life jacket.

Silver lining.

Also, we were lucky enough to have three incredibly noisy Italian kids on the row behind him who were the ONLY people on the plane making a noise; everyone else was sleeping.

This is the reason they don’t allow guns on planes.

Still, two amusing things happened during our stay in Venice that i’d like to share with you.

My wife really wanted a new purse/bag, so I said I’d buy her one.  Big mistake.

I was dragged into almost every bag store in Venice, and when you consider that shops in Venice only sell either Bags, Gloves or Masks (yes, masks)…..that’s a lot of fucking shops.

I noticed a lot of the bags had ‘Vera Pelle’ written on them.  Never heard of her.  This designer was everywhere!

vera pelle

My wife pointed out that ‘Vera Pelle’ means ‘Real Leather’ in Italian.  I could be forgiven for my mistake, but i’m half Italian!

Twat.

And the second funny thing was this:

ARS Liquid

Nuff said.

The cinema ‘experience’ (Part 2)

Following on from Part 1, here is the second category in why the cinema experience isn’t that great.

 2. The People

I can tolerate the extortionate prices of the food and over-iced drinks. I can even tolerate the uncomfortably stained and sticky seats.  It’s the people I have issues with. I could write shitloads about the people, but there’s only a finite amount of storage on the internet so I’ll break it down into categories.

Talkers

Why are you talking through the film? You’ve chosen and paid money to watch this film, so sit down, shut up and fucking watch it.  Are you so incapable of not spewing utter bollocks for 2 measly hours of the day?  If you can’t shut up, get out.

cinema talking

I have to go out on a limb here and include children and babies in this section. I realise it’s not their fault as they have yet to adopt social cinema etiquette, but come on!  If your baby is screaming and crying, take them outside.

They’re clearly not happy being in a dark noisy room surrounded by strangers.  After all, I’m not.

Take them outside. What are you doing in the cinema with a baby anyway? Either leave them with a sitter/friend/stranger or catch the film in a few months on Netflix.  It’s not fair on the baby and it’s not fair on me, er, I mean us.

As far as kids are concerned, have a word with them beforehand about not talking or at the very least gag your little treasures.

I’m joking of course, but there is a degree of responsibility here on the parents. When the child is asking “Daddy, what’s Shrek doing?  Daddy?  Daddy?   Why is Shrek shouting at Donkey, Daddy?  Daddy?  DADDY?  DADDY!?”, maybe consider quietly answering them, followed by a discreet “Shh, watch the film” rather than just ignoring them.

cinema shouting child

You might be able to tolerate their incessant babbling and running up and down the rows, but we can’t.

Kick my chair again you little bastard, I dare you.

Texters/Facebook fiends

I hate this above everything. Get off your phone!  If you’re doing it behind me, that’s ok (unless you haven’t muted the beeping/clicking sounds when you type), but anywhere else means I get a bright light in my face which can be as distracting as a punch in yours.

punch face

What is so important that you absolutely MUST send a message to someone or check your news feed RIGHT NOW? Then, when they’ve missed massive chunks of the film, they become a ‘talker’ and have to ask their friend what they’ve missed.

If I were the friend I would lie about it.

And punch them in the dick.

Or the vagina.

(I don’t want to appear sexist).

Loud eaters

Admittedly the cinema is somewhat responsible for a majority of this, but not entirely.

Firstly it seems ALL food packaging in the cinema is required to exceed the decibel level of a jet engine. It’s like bubble wrap being driven over slowly with a steamroller that launches fireworks and ball bearings out of its exhaust pipe, in a room with a lot of echo, during an earthquake.

loud noises

Secondly it seems that most people wait for a really quiet moment in the film to rummage shoulder deep into their popcorn, taking ages to grab a fistful to stuff in their stupid fat mouths.

RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE!!!!

CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!

SLUUUUURRRRP!!!

RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE!!!!

CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!

Can someone get this prick a nosebag?

Or me a gun?

twitchy eye

Seat etiquette

Don’t kick the back of my chair, or any chair in my row that’s bolted to mine.

Even if you’re gently tapping the back of the seat without realising it, don’t think I won’t gently tap your face with my fist without you realising it too.

Also, if you choose to sit with a space either side of you, don’t act like the victim and get all reluctant and huffy when my wife and I ask you to move over.  Do you seriously expect us to share popcorn across you?

We’re still going to hold hands.

And kiss.

That’s happening.

awkward

Last In, First Out

What are you doing turning up 20 minutes into the film?

Considering there’s usually half an hour of adverts and trailers/previews, that’s pretty fucking late to be strolling in. Did you forget what time the film was on? Was it a last minute decision?

And now that you’re here, please feel free to take a further 20 minutes to decide where you want to sit, preferably half way up the aisle so you can block the view of those who WERE on time.

Sit.

The fuck.

Down.

Oh, you need me to get up so you can get past my legs?  Of course mate, no problem; I wasn’t doing anything anyway.  No, no, it didn’t hurt when you trod on my foot.  It’s fine; adds to the whole experience.

late cinema

Then, when the film ends and the director’s name appears on the screen, most people are up out of their seats and already halfway to the exit.

This makes sense if the film was truly over, but with some films there are extra scenes during the credits.  However, the people who have already started leaving still continue to leave!

Fine with me.

It means I can finally let out that fart I’ve been holding in.

Aaaaah…..

fart cinema

To be concluded…

This Conversation Literally Moved Me

This morning my wife and I attempted to sleep off a weekend hangover on the train.

We’d just managed to start snoozing when a loud mature American couple boarded at Gatwick Airport.  Not only were they talking loudly to each other, it seems they’d also struck up a loud conversation with a loud Canadian student who had boarded with them and they had all taken a seat (loudly) on our quiet carriage.

This will go down well.

Not only was their conversation loud, it was boring…..its way into my skull.  They were talking about how old the student looked compared to her actual age.

“Oh my Gaad, you do NOT look 31 years old does she Bob!?”

“No Fran, she does not!”, turns to student, “You do NOT look 31 years old!”

They asked her what she was studying (Accountancy), where she was from (Calgary) and even drew comparisons between her and their children.  If I’m honest, comparing this 31 year old Asian girl from Canada to Bob and Fran’s 25 year old Caucasian daughter felt a little shoehorned into the conversation because, god forbid, Americans don’t talk about themselves.

In fact, an American’s favourite word is ‘I’…..oh, and “fries”.

It was at this moment my American wife became a full bonefide Brit.

She turned to me, rolled her eyes and said “let’s move carriages; I can’t deal with this shit, especially first thing on a Monday morning”.

It worked for me….just like the ‘fanny packs’ and socks/sandals combo didn’t.

USA tourist

Buddha, broken legs and bell-ends

There are some mornings, like yesterday’s, that really highlight all the things I love* about sharing my train journey with people.**

It started with the loud group of lads who boarded the train at Gatwick Airport; five young, loud examples of British testosterone…in shorts.

Fortunately I’d chosen not to sleep on the train that morning, apparently. It seemed I was only closing my eyes for effect; of which it had none.

As much as I’m not a fan of loud people on the train having loud conversations with each other, I was willing to forgive them as it was clear they were at the end of their time together and were still buzzing.

We’ve all done it.

We’ve all been there.

What I was not willing to forgive was three of them sat at one table (randomly leaving a blank fourth seat) with their suitcases piled high like a massive game of duty-free Jenga, one sat across the aisle from them at the other table next to a man reading his book (with two remaining empty seats) and the last one sat three rows back behind my wife and I.

Where’s the sense and logic in that?

The train was practically empty, so why didn’t they just sit together?

Maybe a couple of them wanted to sleep?

Maybe they’d fallen out and argued on their holiday resulting in that awkward silence the rest of us were so desperately hoping for.

Nope.

They just continued to have their loud conversation across the entire carriage about ‘Natalie’ and ‘Gabriela’ and ‘Sam’, and who had added who on Facebook.

It’s OK guys, feel free to be as loud as fuck because I’m clearly not sleeping and that bloke at the table you’ve sat next to is clearly not reading his book. I think he’s more than happy to just sit there and admire the pretty words.

As expected, their conversation was the usual inane recounting about specific events of their holiday, whilst being extremely vague.

“What about that bloke at that place with the thing who seemed to be in every bar; the one that thought he was black but wasn’t!?””

“Oh yeah!” (said the other four, in unison)

Yeah? What about him?

Nothing. That’s what…nothing.

Soon enough the train started to get busier and the seats and aisles started filling with other commuters also discovering they didn’t wanting to sleep or read either, especially those who had chosen to sit in the empty seats confusingly left vacant by these flip-flop’d fools.

And speaking of vacant; these socially challenged pretty boys*** continued to buck the rules of public transport etiquette by communicating at top volume until their poorly chosen seating arrangements finally got the better of them and they (for want of a better phrase) shut the fuck up.

Ah, bliss.

This meant I could sleep.

But wait, no it didn’t.

You see, the woman in the seat in front of me had this weird habit of banging her head on the headrest of her seat as she spoke to her colleague. It was like she’d rest her head after every sentence, thus continuously bumping the seat.

I’d never seen someone with the utter inability to keep her head still while she talked.

It wasn’t a weird tick or anything, as I would never mock the disabled, but she just gestured a lot and then kept bumping her head against the headrest at the end of every sentence.

“That’s a really good point”
*bump*
“But maybe we should evaluate the business model further?”
*bonk*
“I feel we should raise the matter in the meeting this afternoon”
*donk*
“Don’t you?”
*thud*

It was non stop.

So why was this an issue for me? Well, being 6ft tall my knees were pressed up against the back of her seat, so every 2 or 3 seconds I would get a wake up nudge from this bobble headed bint.

I thought about breaking off my legs and beating her to death with them…

*thwack!*

…but instead I somehow managed to fold my legs under me like a contorted Buddhist and closed my eyes again.

As I placed my head back onto my own headrest I felt a weird, bumpy texture.  My brain registered that it was actually the back of someone’s hand. The man stood in the aisle next to me had strangely placed his hand on my seat’s headrest, right behind my head.

Of course, with a whole network of handrails and handles to hold onto, it makes sense to steady your balance on someone’s seat; right behind their head!

Anyway, I jerked forward (as anyone would), turned to look up at him and, being very British, apologised.

In fact, we both did.

His was sincere.

just shut up

* loathe

** idiots

*** the sort of guys with a more comprehensive beauty regime than most women.  I swear one of them had shaved arms.

 

Dubai Dickhead

On this nice quiet train carriage, a plum voiced prick starts talking unnecessarily loudly into his phone for all of us to hear.

“Oh, Chris, hi” “Yah” “Yah, M-hah hah hah” (known as the ‘posh twat’ laugh)

“No, I’m just on my way up from Gatwick now, yah”

“Uh huh, yah, I flew in, had the meeting, then went to Dubai, spent one night there and flew home; you know, the standard. M-hah hah hah”.

We all think he’s a complete cock.

You know, the standard.

image

Oh do shut up

Oh fuck.

I’m sat at a table on the train surrounded by seven horse-teethed 40 somethings (probably with names like Tarquin, Jeremy, Marjory, Cynthia etc.) drinking wine, gin & tonic and grazing on hand made crisps, guffawing at tedious jokes and japes at a volume fitting of a jet engine.

I’m so glad I’m trying to watch Doctor Who on my phone.

The volume just won’t go any higher (on my phone, not on these plum voiced pricks whose volume has no ceiling)

Exterminate!
Exterminate!

image