in which i lost my rag
Houston Travel Blog› entry 1 of 4 › view all entries
January 18th, 2008 – by: nemitode
that journey was.. less fun than having my leg gnawed off by beavers?
the first part went well, on a transatlantic flight with no one on it, i constructed a three seat palace from cushions and blankets, and was peaceful and zen for 9 hours. even the in-flight meal resembled actual food, and apart from temporarily losing my passport and freaking out, everything was good.
but on arrival in Houston things began to go Terribly Wrong.
with only 1 hour to make my connection, i bounded through to immigration, and picked the shortest queue (with only four people ahead of me i thought my chances were good). but after twenty minutes of watching a frightened looking spanish family being interrogated by men in hats, i became despondent.
forty minutes later i started wondering if they'd still let me into the country if i did a wee on the floor in the immigration queue.
for an hour i sat right beneath a loudspeaker that loudly and relentlessly welcomed me to Houston, while in front of me, a 5 minute looped video of perfect looking people with perfect teeth, perfect hair, and feral grins, attempted for the twentieth time to convince me that i was Having a Great Time Really.
so by the time i reached the immigration warlord, i knew my chances of catching my flight were slim, but this didn't make it any easier not to want to grab his pen and draw a penis on his forehead, as he asked me a range of totally retarded questions including - 'are you planning on having any children during your stay?' (in three weeks? that would be a challenge), and my personal favourite 'does your father have any children?'
finally through though, i collected my luggage, and limped through customs, where i was promptly hauled into a back room by an ex marine in latex gloves, who took clearly his job of lingerie inspection very seriously.
as he went through every single item i had packed, i maintained conversation by asking him what the strangest thing he'd ever found in anyone's bag was.
'ah, that'd be the couple who made their own sex toys and had a whole suitcase just full of them'
made out of what?
the mind boggles.
finally freed from customs and his incessant rambling about his time in the marines, i trudged on through to baggage recheck, to put myself on the next flight to albuquerque.
being told the flight was full was made only slightly more annoying by the surprising realisation that i somehow had one less bag now than i'd started with.
as jetlag fuelled rage gripped me, i was handed a standby ticket and sent to a gate, manned by Bastards who told me they couldn't guarantee i'd be out of texas until the next day, and no they couldn't offer me a hotel room because their Heads were wedged firmly up their Arses.
so i found a bar, like any reasonable person would do in such a situation, and ordered meat, beer and tequila, which i consumed while fending off personal questions from some Actual Cowboys - who looked like they'd been living in the bar and drinking heavily for at least a decade..
maybe they too had once been normal, but forced to survive on beer and chilli, dressing themselves from the tourist shops, and sleeping beneath cowboy hats had rendered their souls texan, stripping them of their previous memories forever..
so i curled up to sleep beneath some chairs, in line of sight of the aeroplane i was so determined to be on, cursing Houston and the ground it Sullied, and awoke suddenly to find a random child pulling my dreads, while a car sized women waved a ticket at me and gingerly poked me with her foot (the way one might poke a dog that might or might not be dead).
'we've squeezed you on this one' she said, with obvious disapproval, and as i collected my things and ran, a gaggle of toothy children gathered behind me shouting about the christmas haired lady, and i finally found myself on a strange smelling aircraft, next to a man chained to a briefcase.
finally on the last stretch of the journey, but houston still got the last laugh, as my stomach considered and then violently rejected the meat as unfit for further digestion. aeroplane toilets are not fun places for sickness. i don't like those weirdly lit, cubical toilets. there are always bum imprints on the mirror from people's mile high club excursions.
and i'm always afraid that the vacuum flush will malfunction and suck me to a terrible end in which sub zero temperatures, lack of oxygen, or a face full of someone else's poo will jostle for the right to be the cause of death.
so.. to say that i don't recommend Houston as an Internation Hub would be a gross understatement. i would almost rather have walked. except that sharks would have got me. but i think that might have been more fun.
and to those who might think my experience was an unlucky one off - the last time i flew through houston i was 17, and that time i got put in room full of mexican six year olds who tried to eat me, and ignored by staff for 24 hours while they closed the airport for Fun. happy times yes.
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