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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Embarrassing Travel Bloopers

Travel disasters, mishaps and duh moments. Yup, even though I had a great time on my recent trip to Canada and Minnesota of course there was plenty that went wrong. I thought it would be more fun to combine all of my gaffes (small and large) into one blog post and hopefully give you a good laugh and show you what not to do the next time you travel.

Incident: Chubby Fingers

When we went on the EdgeWalk at the CN Tower we were supposed to remove all of our jewelry including our wedding rings. Well, neither of us were able to remove our rings because we've both gained weight since our wedding almost four years ago. Not a lot but enough so that on a really hot and humid day our fingers were just too swollen and chubby to accomplish this simple task.

Our Base Camp Guide said not to worry, he could "tape" our rings down. Oh well, at least it was both of us and not just one of us. That would have been more embarrassing.

Click to hear the screaming child on our plane.

Incident: Screaming Baby on Plane

On one leg of our flight to Minnesota we encountered not the classic "crying baby on a plane," no, we were treated to the screaming and crying child in a full blow tantrum meltdown from the gateway, down the ramp, onto the plane, during boarding all the way up until the moment the plane took off. And he was LOUD.

I felt really bad for his mom because he was young enough that there was no reasoning with him. It had to be so embarrassing and traumatic for her but she kept her cool.

I thought hubby was going to lose it but he was more in awe of the fact that this kid could sustain screaming for so long that it became more amusing than annoying. Well, almost. The video audio track is just 20 seconds of what we listened to for over 30 minutes.

Moments before take off we almost had to turn back to the gate to unload him because his mom wasn't able to keep him seat belted in because he was thrashing around so much. Fortunately it didn't come to that and literally the moment the plane started taking off down the runway and the engine got really loud he stopped crying and didn't make another peep for the rest of the flight.

Incident: Car Rentals

When we arrived in St. Paul we discovered that the land of 10,000 lakes didn't have a single rental car available in the entire city. Seriously.

I think we were more in awe that a city could run out of rental cars than annoyed at ourselves for not thinking to book one ahead.

In any case the most annoying thing was that the St. Paul airport splits their rental car companies onto two floors and each makes you stand in line and reach the counter to be told they are sold out of cars, citywide. Why they all can't just pop up a sign on their counter that says they are sold out is kind of beyond me. I mean, it could have taken us less than 5 minutes to realize we were basically out of luck instead of the 20+ minutes it took us to stand in each line to find out.

We ended up taking a cab and arrived at our hotel for the low, low price of $28 + tip. I think renting a car for three days would have cost us around $140 per day from what I could tell online so we saved a lot of money on rental, gas and parking fees. There's always a silver lining if you look hard enough.

The worst part about not having a rental car meant that I would not get to go to Stillwater, MN as planned to visit my friend Michelle's store Rosemille :( I'll have to be sure to reserve my car ahead of time on my next visit to Minnesota.

At least I did remember to book our hotel room.

It was that maroon stripe that confused me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Incident: Hotel Key Card Confusion

Which leads me to a totally "Duh" moment. One day I returned to the room and inserted my key card. The lock made a clicking noise as it read it but the light remained red letting me know the key was not inserted properly. I turned it around and tried again. Still the red light. I flipped it over and tried it both ways. Still no entry. Hubby was in the room and heard the lock clicking each time it rejected my key. He asked how I was inserting it and when I went to show him we both realized I was holding my Panera Bread frequent diner restaurant card and not the Crowne Plaza Hotel key card. Doh! So stupid.

To add insult to injury my mistake caused the lock to then reject both of our key cards when we returned from dinner that night so we had to go back downstairs, explain what had happened and receive new cards after they re-keyed our lock for us.

So embarrassing.

Incident: The Mysterious Blob of Bread

That same evening I had a weird sandwich bread incident. We'd gone to a really cute sub shop near our hotel called Erbert and Gerbert's. When I opened my sandwich I found an odd blob of bread wrapped up with it.

I seriously couldn't figure out why there was a bread blob in my bag.

A quick trip to their website and the mystery was solved. It was Mr. Guts! When they make your sandwich at Erbert and Gerbert's they cut out the middle of the roll of bread to fill it with your toppings. Not wanting to waste, they then include the guts of your roll with your order. Which is great if you've ordered soup so you can dip it, and probably handy if you have kids who like to play with their food or if you're going to a park you can feed it to the ducks but I honestly didn't know what to do with Mr. Guts.

"I'm too sexy for my crust."

Since we were in a hotel room and he was lying on my bed I decided to have not a boudoir photo session with him, I had what may be the first "breadoir" photo session in the history of photography. If you beat me to it in the past with a baguette, loaf or roll be sure to let me know because I'm claiming the title of "The Original Breadoir Photographer" unless you let me know. LOL

Can you believe they even taped down the little yellow hazard lines?

Incident: I Broke My Shoe

The next day as I walked around The Creative Connection's Marketplace set up in the hotel I tripped on what had to be the most securely taped down and most well marked extension cord in the history of taped down extension cords. It was totally my own fault because I was dragging my feet as I walked and caught my heel on the wrong side of the cord.

This is what happened next. Seriously. I broke my shoe. It was the only pair of heels I'd brought with me on the trip so I wore them the rest of the day while I was at the conference making sure to carefully lift my foot as I walked. I took this picture for the blog post then threw them away after I returned home :)

Incident: No Cabs Available

Continuing our original problem of no transportation we were unable to get a cab the morning we were leaving. The front desk called for one but after twenty minutes we kind of gave up.

Hubby had planned on being at the airport really early (too early imo) so we went back in the hotel and had a nice hotel buffet breakfast for $12 each. This is what I had. It was really delicious but I didn't take very much food (for $12) so I didn't feel too bad when I decided to take a banana with me to eat on the plane later.

Discount Taxi came to our rescue.

The second time around we had a cab within minutes so it worked out just fine. And our fare was even lower than the first time at $24 + tip back to the airport.

We made it in time for our flight, went through security dumping our shoes and computers into plastic bins as we went through the scanning line. I put my laptop back in my rolling backpack carry on and we headed to our gate.

Once on the plane I went to take out my laptop and immediately realized something was wrong. One side of it felt wet and sticky. Whaaaaat??????

Yup, that's dried and baked mashed banana stuck in my MacBook Pro ports.

Incident: Sticky Mashed Banana in MacBook Pro Side Ports

Yeah. When I put the computer back in after going through airport security the banana had slipped to the bottom of my backpack and the computer smashed into it when I slid it back in after going though the checkpoint. This caused the banana to basically explode because as it turned out, even though it was bright yellow and looked like it would be firm, it was in fact as mushy as an over ripe banana on the inside.

The sticky, mucky wet banana mash then proceeded to squish well up into some of the ports on the side of my computer filling them up. Gah! It looked worse than the picture above at the time because drying helped to contract the mucky mess.

Hubby just seemed rather shocked and kind of in awe. He asked "What are you going to do?"

Jewelers tweezers and a flash light were the essential tools I needed.

Since I didn't have the proper tools to remove the banana with me I quickly decided the best course of action was to simply let the banana dry and hope it would contract and come out in one clump when we got home.

It was a great theory and there was probably a moment in time when the banana was malleable enough to do just that. However, I missed that window of opportunity and instead had to remove it once it was hard baked into the ports.

To be honest it was pretty gross. I felt like I was picking banana boogers out of my computer's nostrils. It took about thirty minutes to complete. LOL. So here's my DIY tutorial about how to remove banana from your computer side ports:
  1. Let the banana dry before removing
  2. Get a pair of very fine tipped jewelry tweezers
  3. Get a small flashlight
  4. Use tweezers to loosen and pull out the banana
  5. Constantly tip the computer on its side and gently whack it a few times to get the tiny crumbs and dust to fall out on their own
  6. Vacuum out ports with vacuum nozzle
Clean ports but there's still some dried banana on the bottom of my laptop.

A final hose out with my Dyson vacuum nozzle and I was good to go. So far I've been able to test both the camera flash card port and my speaker port and confirm that both are in working order. I don't have a microphone so I'm still waiting to test that port. I hope it's ok because it would be really handy to get a better mic and use it when doing the voice overs for my new "vlog" video posts.

There were actually more incidents but as you can see, there were plenty of things that went wrong. We tried to laugh at as much of it as possible. I mean really, what else can you do? I just didn't want you to think we had a perfect vacation because perfection doesn't (usually) exist and I like to keep things real. Plus I had the photos so it seemed like a fun idea to share them with you.

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