Monday, March 28, 2005

Tourist Suckage

Being a tourist can totally suck ass. Our last two days in Scotland, based in Glasgow, are an example of how.

The hotel was overpriced, overheated and the bed was so soft I had to cling to the edge not to roll over onto Rich's side. It was decorated in a "Scandinavian minimalist chic" style that ended up being totally impractical and not very comfortable. It was cold and rainy the whole time we were in Glasgow. It is possible for it to rain up and sideways. Believe me.

On Sunday we took a bus tour, this time to Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond. I knew things were not going to be good when I got up that morning after a bad night's sleep with an upset stomach. (Oh and PMS? Yeah, oh happy happy joy joy. Tolerance levels were at zero.) After a cold and wet early morning trot across Glasgow, we found our tour bus. We got onto the bus to tour guide. Apparently this EIGHT HOUR TOUR OF SCOTLAND was going to be completely automated, with a recorded voice telling us what to look for. It was guided by GPS, but frequently was ahead of or behind the location it talked about, and sometimes the cd(?) skipped. I was vastly annoyed by this, as the brochure specifically said that it was a guided tour. Who would we ask questions of? But no, this completely full bus was guided by a phantom voice and one harrassed bus driver. Let's call this example one in "tourist suckage".

So, as I said, the bus was completely packed. Now, excuse me for the stereotypes that I am about to perpetuate, but as a tourist, you realize that stereotypes exist for a reason. They are, in many cases, true. So on our bus, we had the following stereotypes:
Seated directly in front of us, the Eastern Europeans with the Stinky Assed Food. They brought bags of food with them to eat on the bus, this couple, and everything they opened smelled to high heaven. Stinky sausage, stinky cheese, stinky bread (!!), stinky something else vegetable-y that I could not identify, and something herbal that smelled so bad i had to cover my nose. Yet another level in tourist suckage.
Behind us was the Asian Technology Obsessed Couple. Everything they had beeped, clacked, clicked or whirred. They were so freaking noisy I could have killed them.
In front and to the right, the Other Asian Technology Obsessed Couple. This time the guy used his video camera the whole time, which was not really annoying so much as funny. I mean, how many videos out of a wet bus window can you possibly do? "Oh, here's the one where it was raining in Scotland." "And here's the one where it was raining out the bus window in Scotland. I think there is a castle out there, but it's raining. And there's fog too!" "Oh, and here's one, out the bus window, in Scotland. See how it's raining? And foggy? That time I got the curtains, too, see?" That guy was the WORST videographer I have ever seen.
Next to us, were the People Who Ate Alot Of Curry and Did Not Bathe. Arg. My particular favorites. They always sit next to me on any flight or bus ride I take, so I should not be offended that they followed me yet again. They're practically my best friends.
Subgroups on the tour later were identified as: The Loud Americans, The Couple Who Were Always Ten Minutes Late and Held the Tour Up, The Guy Who Smacked His Food and Popped His Gum (he must die), The Phone Guy, and the Couple With the Small Child Who Let Their Child Run Amok.
Sometimes I really hate being a tourist. Me? I was The One With The Scowl On Her Face. Next to me sat Resigned Husband.

Anyhow, the tour got started. The computerized yet pleasant voice did its best to entertain. The smelly curry guy snored through the comments. Techno Asians beeped and clicked.

First stop, Linlithgow Palace. This place has a torrid, fascinating and varied history. Mary Queen of Scots was born there. It was recreated in the 16th century to remind Mary of Guise of the French Rennaissance Chateaux she grew up with. The place is multi-roomed and many storied.

We had 13 minutes to see it. 13 fucking minutes.

Problem: I had to pee. Bad. The bathrooms were a block and a half away. The toilets on the bus were broken. It was a choice between: see Linlithgow, a place I had always wanted to visit, or pee. I could not do both. (Well, theoretically I could, but I would either have to change pants or get arrested.) First, I burst into tears when I realized the choice I had to make. The bus driver must have thought I was insane. (See reference to PMS above?) Then, I went to pee. So, I totally missed Linlithgow, and had a damned hissy fit in the parking lot on top of it because I was SO DAMNED PISSED OFF. Why even bother stopping? What the fuck?

But at least I got to pee, though it did cost me 20 pence and the turnstile thingy at the bathroom entry whacked me in the ass as I went throught it. I peed alot though, and flushed twice, so I like to think I got my damned money's worth.

After the Linlithgow Fiasco, as I will now call it, we got back on the bus and headed off down the road. The stale air was rife with smelly food, unwashed bodies and beeping electronics.

Then I noticed something was amiss with me. Oh no. Crapping crappy crapness. Hellfire and damnation. In addition to my pms and dodgy stomach, (with no toilet to repair to in case of emergency) I was getting the distinctive and unmistakeable signs of a migraine coming on. Blurred vision, lights and wiggles. This. Was. Not. Good.

Tune in later for Tourist Suckage Two, Electric Boogaloo.

(by the way, blogger totally fucked up this post, and it's taken me three tries to get it to post. the evilness lives on....)

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