Friday, September 18, 2009

[redacted] Is Going to Asia

biking in Hanoi

In case you didn't know (and why would you, you're not my mom – or are you?) today I'm leaving for Vietnam.

While many years ago, that sentence may have meant a big going away party where I get laid a thousand times and people hug me saying things like, "Good luck in The Shit, boy," now in 2009 all it means is that I'm taking a vacation. A long, much-needed vacation.

What's that? You say I just got back from a vacation? Something about a road trip? Jesus, detective Blog Reader, you really pieced together that puzzle. Fine, Colombo, you caught me. Brooke and I (and Puppy) just went away two weeks ago. But our Labor Day road trip to Apalachicola was more of a warm-up. A dry run, if you will. Even though Brooke and I have taken some business trips to New York this year (and Brooke even went to Cabo for the weekend to raise a lion king without me), this trip to Southeast Asia would have been the first proper vacation we've taken since Costa Rica. And since we almost drove into Nicaragua by accident and nearly died while playing indigenous river games, I thought maybe we should brush up on our traveling technique.

It wasn't pretty.

First, Brooke got sick. The day we were supposed to get in the car and drive the nine hours to a small coastal town on the Florida panhandle, Brooke woke up complaining of a stuffy nose and sore throat. We immediately got into a small fight because I still haven't realized that when women complain about feeling sick they don't want you to say things like, "I'll get you some Sudafed," or "It's not too late to back out of the hotel reservation with no cancellation fee." What they want to hear is, "WHY, GOD?! WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO BROOKE? SHE IS TOO GOOD FOR THIS. Stay alive, sweet woman. I will love you no matter what." I'm working on it.

The entire drive would be too ambitious to tackle after work, so we planned to stop somewhere for the night. I voted for rolling the dice on Priceline for a three-star hotel along the Florida Turnpike. (I’m a gambling man.) Brooke vetoed that idea, insisting that we stay at a seedy motel to add a sense of danger to the trip. She was all excited about sex in a Motel 6 off the highway, like we were having an affair in a movie about the Midwest. We compromised on a Ramada Inn, which, it turns out, is approximately 65% less nice than how you picture a Ramada Inn. The room was like where they hide people in the witness protection program, because apparently if the Russian mafia is after you the first place they look is a Marriot or Holiday Inn Express.

We woke up bright and early the next morning, mostly in anticipation of leaving the motel room. Brooke's conditioning was worsening, though I assured her that it was a passing virus, nothing more than a 36-hour bug. Like those famous New York Times travel columns: 36 Hours in Brooke's Immune System. Before hitting the road, we stopped at McDonalds to get coffee, because that's what you do at exit 427 on the Florida turnpike. No amount of reasoning about how a quaint mom-and-pop diner would really suit this neighborhood will change that fact. Especially when it would have to occupy a space next to this:

bad hair salon

Luckily, Brooke was somewhat fortified by our arrival at Apalachicola. And how could you not be? It's the kind of place they write hand clap songs about – turn of the century bed and breakfasts, old fishing boats, and a store run by the retired editor-in-chief of the Apalachicola Times who now sells Tupelo honey. It was all Brooke could do not to knock him unconscious and bring him home with us.

The next morning, though, things took a turn. Apparently, Brooke is allergic to old-world charm. She got worse, not better, and fell into the depths of an Afrin addiction (seriously, I found a bottle hidden under the couch last night). She tried to power through, trooper that she is, but it was futile. The cold was winning.

Apalachicola cold
A typical vacation photo from Apalachicola.

By the third day, shit was hitting multiple fans. I started getting sick, too, and in a tiny town where all there is to do is eat and drink, we were two sad, pathetic people who couldn't taste food or stomach liquor. All that was left to do was hang out in our room. I'm not going to lie – Puppy suffered the most.

Puppy reading
Deciding what to do next.

Puppy wearing shoes
Being silly to pass the time.

In fact, about the only good thing to come out of the trip (besides a new appreciation for Tupelo honey) was learning that Puppy really isn't as dumb as he's pretended to be his whole life. You see, the bed in our so-charming-you'll-shit-your-pants bed and breakfast was about four feet off the ground. This was a problem for Puppy, who is accustomed to sleeping with us. It may have taken him a day and a half to learn, but apparently with the proper motivation (snuggles) he too can achieve greatness.

All in all, not the most reassuring practice vacation. But the way I see it, now that the colds are over with, our immune systems are stronger than ever. Plus I learned a valuable lesson about how to properly order an egg cream in a traditional soda shop. How this will help me in the jungles of Cambodia has yet to be determined, but Brooke and I remain confident that we're good to go.

So I'll be gone for the next sixteen days. I won't be blogging from there because one of my life rules is "Never use sarcasm in a communist country," but I'm sure that upon my return there will be a story or two, probably one about how some Thai masseuse asks me if I am "happy at the ending of my massage" and there's some big (zing) misunderstanding.

And please, if you don't hear from me soon upon my return, assume that I have been captured and sold into the seedy underworld of human trafficking. Band together and stop at nothing to find me. Or at least make a Facebook group in my honor. Thanks, you guys are the best.


Blogger Jillian said...

Watch out for the menthol during that happy Thai massage. They do enjoy rubbing that stuff in places that seem interesting......but in's just mindnumbingly painful.

Be warned. Be wise.

September 18, 2009 at 1:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger KH9107 said...

I saw that lion/tiger stand in Cabo. I wasn't about to pay $30 to hold one though!

Have fun in Vietnam! I can't wait to read about it.

September 18, 2009 at 4:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Weims319 said...

Have fun!! I'm sure puppy will miss you!

September 18, 2009 at 7:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger miss. chief said...

vietnam??!!! awww please please please write about it whenever you can! i want to live vicariously through you.

September 18, 2009 at 7:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rosie Posie said...

If you're really going to Cambodia and Thailand too, let me give you some good advice.

In Cambodia hit up Angkor Wat then get the hello out of there. Head straight to Thailand and enjoy Krabi, the Phi Phi Islands (pronounced Pee Pee!) and enjoy drinking out of coconuts and feeding bananas to the monkeys.

True story- we were looking for a beach to kayak to and then camp at and we considered monkey beach. We didn't know the name was an indicator of the most common thing on the beach besides sand. The guy who rented out the kayak told us "don't sleep there, the monkeys will take your woman!"

September 18, 2009 at 9:05:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A. Technically you're going to Indochina

B. Be careful not to piss anyone off. As much as we all love you, I don't think they'll be sending Bill Clinton in if anything goes wrong.

September 18, 2009 at 9:47:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if you're going to Thailand, get a massage every day... maybe twice a day. They cost about $10 for an hour, no joke. Nick's biggest regret was that he didn't find this out until the last day. Have fun!

September 19, 2009 at 8:38:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Sophie said...

Dear Dan and Brooke,

Please stop by Singapore as well!!!!!

I will be your humble host if you pop by. Love your blog xx

September 19, 2009 at 1:36:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Poodle said...

is that a sex toy on the bed?

September 19, 2009 at 2:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger C said...

we went to Apalachicola....great wildlife refuge with wild boar and well, gators, though since you're from FL, you probably have your fill of gators...we saw wood storks and armadillos too... Boyfriend did get a huge scary nose bleed in a fast food restaurant though ...thought he might die and having driven west from Tallahassee, I thought the "nearest" hospital might be....well, that there might not be a near hospital anywhere. Fortunately Boyfriend's nose stopped bleeding and it was not a big deal.

September 20, 2009 at 8:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Erica said...

at least you offer sudafed! my boyfriend says "youll be fine, you know that." yes i am aware that i have a cold and am not dying but a lil empathy never hurt. the only time he offers sudafed is when we're tired and want to go out and party, lol

have the best time!! def get lots of massages (the intination there makes it sound like maaassaaaaaaaagggggggeeeee)

September 23, 2009 at 4:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Trooper Thorn said...

Thankfull the weather in Vietnam is always temperate and mild and they have nothing to make you feel ill. Good choice.

September 23, 2009 at 4:19:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

um, did you pack an inflatabile raft and some rain slickers? Because despite Trooper Thorn's weather forecast. There is a major hurricane headed your way.

Sending y'all safe dry thoughts!


September 27, 2009 at 9:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Mrs Strombo said...

Hope you're ok Dan!

September 29, 2009 at 1:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger LiLu said...

This has Brokedown Palace written alllll over it.

Except for the lesbian stuff.

Well, I guess technically *you're* a lesbian.

I mean, have fun!

September 29, 2009 at 1:04:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day!

September 29, 2009 at 8:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jessica said...

You are hilarious! I'll be back to

September 30, 2009 at 9:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Who is this Writer? said...

So many mixed emotions about seeing someone like you go off into a foreign land. On the one hand you hope for the best, but if something weird/disastrous happens, it will be so much funnier later online. I hereby dub these feelings "blogenfreude."

October 2, 2009 at 1:11:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... are you back? Should we send out a search party?

October 7, 2009 at 10:48:00 AM EDT  

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