Brenda’s Unfortunate Record #42


How Not To Travel

Back home you’re a high roller. You operate on the fringes of the law and judging by your business, one would assume you know a thing or two. You’ve done some travelling, in fact you’ve visited more continents than me, so a few weeks back when you and a pal made an impulsive, drunken decision to book one-way tickets to Dublin, who coulda guessed it would go so terribly wrong?

The flight from Stumpville was cheap but you’ll soon realise getting home won’t be as easy. This is the way our paths eventually cross, but I’ll get to that later. Right now you’ve just informed your wife of the imminent departure and are saying good-bye to her, your young daughter and all the unopened boxes which scrape the ceiling of the small flat you’ve just moved into, two days before. She’s less than impressed but boys will be boys and off you go. 

Fast forward to the Emerald Isle. It’s boozy, it’s fun but your pal has family in Poland and a few days in, Krakow beckons. Another last minute flight. This one’s expensive and you’re diverted via Amsterdam. Six hours sat on the tarmac before the flight gets cancelled. The airline offers limited options and meagre compensation so you look elsewhere, shipping yourselves to Zurich where you spend the night in the airport. When you finally touchdown at Jana Pawla II, your wallet’s considerably lighter and you’ve been travelling 36 hours. At least you’re with the Slavs. 

The two of you book yourselves in to a hotel on the main square. It’s nice. You go have some food and a few drinks, before a couple ladies beckon you off the beaten track. They draw you into a bar and offer you a shot. The next thing you know it’s morning. You’re convinced you’ve been spiked. The head is spinning and between you and your mate, your credit cards are down $7000. A quick consultation of google proves you landed at the worst spot in town, renowned for duping tourists out of copious amount of cash. The comments say not to bother contacting the authorities as they’re in on it too. In fact you’ve come out luckier than most, notably an English guy who had his eye taken out. You still call MasterCard and whilst they evaluate your case you decide, ‘fuck Poland, I’m coming to the UK’. 

This is where we meet. You leave your friend and link up with my brother, who’s also visiting from the Pacific Northwest. The rendezvous was planned, but your arrival’s premature. That return flight dilemma left no option but to travel home low-cost from Gatwick. The two of you get busy on pub crawls whilst the Continental Straggler makes his way to Zurich. He’s with a multi-millionaire client who takes him to some fancy joint and presents him with a selection of beautiful women. Your friend apparently chooses well. A single night with the dame and he’s head over heels in love. She’ll be coming back to Canada with him (and you). In a few months time they will marry in Lithuania. 

When we eventually hang out proper, you’ve been here a few days and are beginning to show signs of wear. Work’s been on the phone and this extended break is causing problems back home. Nonetheless we have a good day, which includes bloody marys in Greenwich, a funfair ride in Mile End and numerous vodka sodas down Well Street. I’m determined to make you a fan of my turf and leave thinking I’ve got you swayed, but the next night you realise you’ve lost your passport and we’re back to square one. The day leading up to your much anticipated departure is spent contacting lawyers and scrambling documents together in Trafalgar Square. You tell my brother you hate it here too, but in the end we deliver. Out of the twenty odd people awaiting emergency paperwork, you’re one of only four to be processed. The following morning you make your flight, which is another stroke of luck. 

Now listen – I ain’t here to judge but I can’t help wonder about the missus back home, ditched for a fortnight, unpacking boxes and minding the five year old whilst you’ve been gallivanting about Euroland, spunking cash and more. Maybe just maybe all this misfortune stems from the fact she's been vexing, ‘du bist nicht gut’. 

Never underestimate our power, soldier.


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